Hot on the heels of opening a second location in Fernie, a local sports store is now planning to crack the online market.
GearHub opened Adventure Rentals at the Fernie Stanford Hotel just before Christmas in response to growing demand for sports rentals.
“We’ve seen an increased demand year on year for rentals and we’ve seen the mix of customers shift,” said co-owner and manager, Mark Hall.
“Five to 10 years ago, everyone who showed up had skis and a bike. We’re known to expert and advanced skiers – steep and deep, we’re known for that. Whereas now we’re seeing a lot more groups, a lot more families, a lot more intermediates. People who just want to experience it but aren’t already into it big time.
“We wanted to grow that rental offering, so decided to buy and rebrand the existing business that was there, which was SnowPro Rentals.”
GearHub Adventure Rentals offers a wide range of winter and summer sports rental equipment for adults and kids. Hall said while there is still some work to be done, the first weeks of operation have exceeded his expectations.
“We’re really excited to see where it goes especially with the long term vision of what we want to see there,” he said.
“Stanford is such a great spot, you’re right on the highway, you’re right in Fernie, you’re right across from all these amenities. In the summer, you’re 50 feet from the river, it’s a pretty prime spot for sure.”
GearHub’s plans for growth don’t stop at the second store. It is currently transitioning to a new point of sale system that is directly linked to an e-commerce site.
Hall hopes to launch the new online store later this month.
“…2019 is going to be big because we’re going to crack the online market, we’re addressing it pretty aggressively,” he said.
“Just with rental opportunities and online, and continuing growing here (the downtown location), we’ve got lots going on.”
GearHub recently won bragging rights when it was voted no.2 in Canada and no.6 in North America in Freeskier Magazine’s inaugural Top Shop contest.
Hall attributed the business’ success to his staff and the high level of customer service they provide.
“We put a lot of work into our customer service and our relationships, and I think that shows right there,” he said.
Hall said GearHub gives back to the community in many ways throughout the year. This month, it is sponsoring three people to take part in the January Streak, a fitness challenge initiated by local magazine, FernieFix.