Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Transforming NOC's Outfitter's Store: Expanding Beyond Paddling

With a storied paddling history, former Olympians on staff and a thriving rafting business, you might make the mistake of thinking NOC’s Outfitter’s Store is just your run-of-the-mill paddling establishment.

Think again.

This spring our Outfitter’s Store is prepped for its own extreme makeover. The store recently underwent new wall construction that increases the strength of the walls, enhancing merchandising capabilities and resulting in a completely redesigned layout. With the expansion of all departments and the introduction of multiple new product lines, the store will confidently dive deeper into markets like backpacking and trail running.

NOC’s new Outfitter’s Store General Manager Doug Wright thinks they’re poised for a season unlike any other in Wesser. “It’s exciting. We’re headed in a new direction that builds on our paddling background, but allows us to service a wider range of customers participating in all kinds of activities available in this area.”

Backpacking / Camping / Hiking

This spring NOC reintroduces a comprehensive camping department, catering to the unique needs of thru-hikers, while also supporting and servicing the many day hikers and casual campers utilizing local trails. With a focus on better service, Wright’s staff has greatly increased the quantity of camping products and consolidated them into one functional area.

Building on the background of his 2006 Appalachian Trail thru-hike, Wright is bringing in a number of new product lines popular with serious backpackers. “With our store being directly on the AT, we need to be able to enhance the experience of thru-hikers and service the many backpackers coming through our store with ultralight backpacks, stoves, water purifying options and apparel.”

NOC is now carrying Ultralight Adventure (ULA) packs, becoming one of seven dealers in the US. These comfortable and durable packs are favorites among long-distance backpackers and weigh in at a mere 17 to 48 oz. In addition to the current insulation options the store carries from Patagonia and The North Face, the store is bringing in the “Light and Fast” Mont-Bell line of synthetic jackets, known for their incredible weight to warmth ratio. Alcohol stoves from Etowah Outfitters, cooking options from Anti-Gravity Gear, hydration options like Aquamira droplets and bladders from Platypus are among other ultralight offerings available at the Outfitter’s Store.

As the store gears up for the 2011 AT thru-hiker season, NOC is positioned as one of the premier backpacking and hiking shops in the Southeast.


NOC is synonymous with paddling, but the retail staff continues to push ahead making the paddling department bigger and better. Wright notes, “We’ve re-vamped paddling, creating a well-defined department showcasing premier brands.”

NOC continues to boast the largest selection of whitewater Werner Paddles in the country. The store’s new spring offerings include a selection of stand-up paddleboards, one of the largest selections of Shred Ready helmets with a rainbow of 2011 colors, and a brand-spanking new fleet of demo boats. NOC is one of the first paddling shops in the country to carry the new Pyranha Varun whitewater boat and the new 2011 Jackson kayaks. The store will be the only dealer in the Southeast to carry the 2011 Prijon Pure kayak as well. “We remain the go-to paddling location in the Southeast, and will always be on the cutting edge when it comes to serving paddlers.”

Apparel and Outerwear

The new layout will also lend itself to a diversified apparel department. A wider selection of casual apparel and travel wear, as well as more technical outerwear perfect for backpacking, hiking and other activities will make a strong appearance. More insulation pieces like those from Mont-Bell and Patagonia will keep visitors warm in cooler seasons, and lightweight and waterproof rain shells from Marmot and Go-Lite will not only keep you dry, but the high breathability factor will keep you comfortable in winter or summer temps. A full line of Go-Lite and The North Face multi-sport apparel and a wider offering of base layers will service active customers, as well as those just looking for casual comfort.

Trail Running

Trail running opportunities in Western North Carolina are endless, and the community of local runners continues to grow by leaps and bounds. To appeal to the growing popularity NOC will carry a wider selection of trail running shoes from Brooks, Salomon and Vasque. Staples like Smartwool and Keen socks will continue to be available, along with new options like handheld hydration bottles for tackling longer miles. Runners can fuel their runs with an all-new employee-approved assortment of gels, chews and Nuun electrolyte replacement tabs.

With over $90,000 of product coming in before March, the store’s makeover will be complete in time for a busy spring filled with backpackers, paddlers and rafting guests. Wright wants to make sure all customers know this is their destination store. “We are a paddling store, but now we’re also a backpacking store, a trail running store, a gear up for bad weather store, and a casual tourist-friendly store.”

And you thought NOC was just a paddling store. Think again.

Store Winter Hours
Sunday – Friday: 11-5
Saturday: 10-6

Glacier Breaker Event Hours
Saturday, February 26: 9-6
Sunday, February 27: 9-5

Spring Hours – Beginning February 28
Monday – Friday: 9-5
Saturday: 9-6
Sunday: 10-5

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