Grassroots’ President Wes Allen Talks about How Outdoor Specialty Retailers are Driving Their Own Brand Of Innovation in a Community Near You.

Wes Allen is the President of The Grassroots Outdoor Alliance and former owner of two specialty retail stores: Sunlight Sports and SportsHQ in Cody, Wyo. Wes is not only a mountain-town based entrepreneur himself, he also serves as the leader for a group of over 50 successful, independent outdoor specialty store owner/entrepreneurs in the Grassroots Outdoor Alliance. Listen in as he describes how outdoor specialty is evolving its role in the consumer decision journey and why Grassroots launched “Connect.”

Wes Allen is a man truly enamored with and committed to outdoor specialty retail. He’s the former owner of two stores up in Cody, Wyo., and is currently the president of the Grassroots Outdoor Alliance, a 21-year-old group of retailers and vendors committed to supporting specialty retail. For an organization heading into its third decade, the Grassroots’ entrepreneurial vision and commitment is stronger and more evident than ever before. Since Wes took the helm, some highly interesting and visible changes are taking hold within Grassroots. These changes have been in process within Grassroots for some time, but the organization is clearly putting a new stake in the ground at a very opportune time. Listen to this interview and be prepared to change your perception regarding where specialty retail sits in midst of the changes we’re all experiencing in the wholesale component of our industries.

While we’ve all been busy looking at the evolution of retail to consumer direct, many of us have been making assumptions that the wholesale model is stagnant and just chugging along. Wes and his group at Grassroots are dropping the clutch on their own brand of innovation – we’ve seen them as specialty. Now, we need to look at them as “Highly Specialized” in terms of engaging, serving and creating community and an experience around the outdoor customer in their local environment and regions.

In this podcast, Wes shares the vision for the new Grassroots Connect show (which ruffled more than one set of feathers in our industries last week when the story on SNEWS ran, March 3).  More so, Wes shares the expansion vision of the Grassroots Outdoor Alliance. Specialty retailers in this group, and the vendors who partner with them (over 70) are truly in a working group of peers, set on evolving and furthering their model forward during a time of intense change. If you’re interested in the evolution of the wholesale segment of the active outdoor lifestyle markets – and who isn’t these days – the Wes Allen interview on The Intrepid Entrepreneur is NOT to be missed!

Check out Grassroots below:

Habit for Success?

We are only as strong as our community and we are highly committed to working together to evolve and improve the experience of outdoor specialty retail. We always learn from each other and help each other succeed in business in our group.

Pivot Moment?

The last OIA Rendezvous, Wes and Scott McGuire shared an elevator ride that turned into a 35-minute conversation that essentially was the tipping point moment for Grassroots Connect. Read about Scott’s insights on the evolution within specialty on his Intrepid Entrepreneur Podcast, here.

Coolest Expansion Idea:

Doubling the attendees to double the “fun” (read: brainstorming, problem-solving and best-practice sharing) between specialty and vendors comprising the active outdoor lifestyle industry. This expansion? Manifested in  Grassroots Connect – an invite-only event bringing together 100 of the best brands with 100 top-tier specialty retailers, taking place Nov. 11-13, 2015.


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