By Karilyn Kempton, Special to the Revelstoke Times Review
When Steve Cross and Carolyn Gibson opened Revy Outdoors earlier this May, they wanted to offer something new. Located at the corner of Mackenzie Ave. and First St., the outdoor apparel store’s “Shop Local” program offers a $10 family membership in exchange for a year of no tax.
“We believe the community you know, work and play with ought to get a bit of a deal,” says Cross. “It’s about loyalty — if people are going to support the store all year long, they should get a deal when the selection is top drawer.”
Like many in Revelstoke, Cross and Gibson have “always been outdoor people,” and met in a kayak training pool. Steve managed Toronto’s Mountain Equipment Co-op outdoors store from 1994 to 2001, and then opened the outdoor store Threads Lifestyle a few years later, which he’s still operating from Revelstoke.
Gibson calls herself a “jobbler,” one who works a variety of odd jobs. She has always been in retail, though she’s moved from the front to the back end over the years, including managing training and development at Staples’ head office.
Both also work for Queens University advising on the MBA program, of which they are graduates.
Living in Toronto, the couple realized they were spending a lot of money travelling to ski and hike. Why not move west?
A friend recommended Revelstoke, and after visiting last Labour Day weekend they fell in love. Ninety days later they had moved and were already working on opening Revy Outdoors. Both hail from small towns and appreciate the sense of community.
Revy Outdoors specializes in travel, lifestyle and family apparel, along with footwear, camping gear and accessories. The store spans two floors — be sure to walk downstairs.
Cross and Gibson feel all outdoors stores in Revelstoke are unique, and that Revy Outdoors adds something new. “As much as possible we want to complement the other outdoors shops in town,” Cross said. “We want to add to the business matrix; we certainly don’t want to take business away from anyone else.”
The store aims to carry brands that offer the highest overall value to people, whether that’s the lowest price, the best price for the quality, or the best quality regardless of price. “It’s also about trying not to overlap with what other retailers are selling,” says Cross.
Turnout and buzz were good for the May 17 grand opening. Though they say spring is not the ideal time to open because of the annual buying cycle, “We didn’t want to see a storefront on a main corner papered up if it didn’t need to be.”
The two also hope to reach crowds drawn to the summer entertainment in Grizzly Plaza; beginning in July, the store will be open until 9:00pm Monday to Friday.
Their nine-year-old Nolan is also an avid hiker. In the store, look for the giant photo of him atop a peak in the Adirondacks last year. Nolan has his priorities in order — he recently told his parents that to him, “reading is like breathing, hiking is like water, and movies are like food.”
He can’t wait to hike Mt. Begbie.