Area businesses look to rebound from pandemic as more people take to nature

This summer, more people are being drawn to the outdoors, and outdoor activities than in years prior. Local sporting goods businesses and manufacturers of outdoor products have been trying to keep up with the high demand of their merchandise, such as kayaks, camping supplies and bicycles.

The season for outdoor recreation provides people with the ability to have fun in an open space, full of fresh air after a particularly secluded year. Like the majority of local sporting goods stores, Bonner Sports and RV in Pine Creek, is experiencing a pick up in sales.

“Typically, our busy season starts in March and continues right through summer. We are right in the middle of the season. In March people get cabin fever and start making plans–That’s when we see more traffic coming through,” said Wall.

The location of Bonner Sports, Pine Creek, is a high traffic area for biking, kayaking, hiking, fishing and other outdoor hobbies.

During the pandemic, many people were drawn to the outdoors as a way to occupy time in a healthy way during shutdowns.

“People weren’t comfortable to travel. Camping was something people felt like they could do,” explained Ashley Wall, marketing manager at Bonner Sports and RV.

“We were closed just like everyone else. When we reopened, the demand for our product was more than we could even handle. We have limited inventory, and have since last spring.”

The store offers a variety of outdoor camping supplies, such as RVs, Bicycles, UTVs, ATVs, kayaks and golf carts.

Another store off of Pine Creek that has experienced a similar uptick in Sales is Slate Run Tackle Shop in Pine Creek. The store, newly owned by Tom and Kim Kozlowski, is connected to Wolf’s General Store.

“With COVID-19, people weren’t able to travel to national parks, so locally we saw a huge increase. …There are a lot of people on the trails that you wouldn’t normally see on the trails. Rails to trails have had a significant increase,” shared Kim Kozowski.

The store, located in the heart of Pine Creek, conveniently offers a wide range of goods, such as sandwiches, groceries, wine and beer, hand dipped ice cream, personal hygiene items, gift wear and more.

An online seller and manufacturer of rugged outdoor goods, Equinox Ltd, has also seen a pick-up in demand for their products.

“There’s more of an interest in the outdoors recently. …We enjoy spectacular terrain in this area. …People are getting more interested,” said Robert Cross, owner of Equinox Ltd.

“Getting out in nature is a type of therapy,” he said. ”Most of us feel like it’s better for our health — More than one kind of health to get out there,”

Cross and his family also enjoy getting out in nature. Recently, a park ranger told Cross and his wife, Ardythe, about the increase of hikers,

“They were telling us that they’ve never seen so many people on the trails this early in the season.”

The family owned business devotes effort into helping protect the environment. On the Equinox Ltd. website, they share how they try to prioritize the environment, “We strive to maintain a human-friendly, earth-friendly environment, manufacturing domestically, with a lower carbon footprint.”

Along with trying to keep their packaging products recyclable, they also offer a wide range of reusable bags.

“I encourage people to get out and enjoy this phenomenal landscape we have surrounding us, and to protect it. It needs to be protected,” said Cross.


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