Grassroots Outdoor Alliance reports 2021 growth of 29% at specialty independent outdoor retail

January 19, 2022

Grassroots Outdoor Alliance, the national organization dedicated to the health and growth of independent specialty retail, this week released sales data showing a significant uptick in holiday season sales as well as a record setting two years of sales increases

ASHEVILLE, NC (January 19, 2022) /OUTDOOR SPORTSWIRE/ – Grassroots Outdoor Alliance, the national organization dedicated to the health and growth of independent specialty retail, this week released sales data showing a significant uptick in holiday season sales as well as a record setting two years of sales increases.

In comparison to 2020, Grassroots member retailers were up +29% year-to-date, including an increase of +18% for the fall season (August-December), +22% sales growth for Q4 (October-December), and a +15% bump for December alone. The growth builds on top of a strong upward trend in the second half of 2020, in which Grassroots retailers nationwide were up +10.8%.

“It’s hard to describe anything out there as ‘business as usual’ right now, but the ‘new normal’ has certainly shown that consumers value the indie experience and smiled on independent specialty outdoor retailers,” said Rich Hill, president of Grassroots Outdoor Alliance.

Hill added that despite a wide range of 2022 headwinds just ahead – including ongoing pandemic challenges, supply chain impacts, employee retention, overlapping brand expansion plans, and widespread trade show model instability – the Grassroots retailer community is confident heading into the new year.

“For both Grassroots retailers and vendors, the only constant in the last 12 months has been the revolving door of business challenges. Every week has been a new adventure, but fortunately this is a remarkably resourceful community that clearly thrives when things get tough.”

Grassroots started strong in 2021 Q1, easily dwarfing sales from the shutdown spring of 2020, and well surpassing the same period in 2019 (+34%).  The group pushed through a summer where year-to-year growth lowered to +28% due to supply chain issues blocking the ability of product to get to retail as well as ongoing virus/variant concerns.

But end of year sales resumed their healthy trend as retailers saw holiday traffic increasing 19.1% for October-November, supporting an increase in overall August-December sales (+18.1% over 2020, +27.8% over 2019), as well as boosts in November (+36.2% over 2020, +32.8% over 2019) and December (+15% over 2020, +28.6% over 2019).

“Grassroots vendor partners really came through for specialty outdoor retail in 2021. They kept lines of communication open, and they worked with our retailers to find real solutions,” added Hill.

Grassroots’ list of 2021 accomplishments include November’s successful hosting of their first Grassroots Connect buying show in more than 700 days, going live with their group-owned specialty retail data tool in June, and the recent launch of IndieOutdoor  — www.indieoutdoor.com – a national initiative to strengthen specialty independent outdoor retailers nationwide through data and marketing support.

An additional highlight of 2021 was the welcoming of 14 new retail members, which raised the group tally to 99 independent retailers and 196 retail locations. The new retailers included Active Endeavors (Davenport, Iowa); Bill & Pauls Sporthaus (Ada, Michigan); Cadillac Mountain Sports (Bar Harbor, Maine); Canyon Pass Provisions (Fair Haven, New Jersey); Footsloggers (Boone, North Carolina); Little Forks Outfitters (Midland, Michigan); Nomad Ventures (Temecula, California); Outdoor Experience (Sandpoint, Idaho); Rock and Snow (New Paltz, New York); The Bear Mountain (Waco, Texas); The Outfitter (Harbor Springs, Michigan); SOKO Outfitters (Cedar Rapids, Iowa); Summit Canyon Mountaineering (Grand Junction, Colorado); and Water Stone Outdoors (Fayetteville, West Virginia).

“More than anybody in the outdoor sector, specialty retailers understand the importance of community, and Grassroots will continue to deliver opportunities for indie retailers to connect, learn from each other, and remain the best place for outdoor enthusiasts to shop. ,” added Hill.


Grassroots Outdoor Alliance is an active, independent network of 99 independent retailers, with 196 retail locations, working together for the health and growth of specialty outdoor retail. Through data collection and analysis, direct member support, specialty events and deep vendor partnerships, Grassroots Outdoor Alliance is creating both a vision and roadmap for the long-term success of independent specialty retail. Grassroots Outdoor Alliance is also recognized as a catalyst for the success of its retailers and vendor partners; an advocate for specialty independent retail; a promoter of education and community within the specialty channel; and a key influencer of the national outdoor industry. For more information on Grassroots Outdoor Alliance, please go to www.grassrootsoutdoors.com.

ABOUT GRASSROOTS CONNECT: Grassroots Connect is an ideally timed, invitation-only buying show for the specialty outdoor industry hosted by Grassroots Outdoor Alliance. Scheduled as early as possible in the buying cycle, Connect provides a highly efficient opportunity for retailers, reps and vendors to present, discuss, plan and collect pre-season orders. Cost-effective and simple, Connect is both an incubator and testing ground for the greater outdoor industry. Invited retailers receive a per attendee reimbursement to offset their travel costs. Upcoming Grassroots Connect gatherings include June 6-9, 2022 (Knoxville, Tenn.) and Nov. 7-10, 2022 (Kansas City, Mo.).