From biking, camping, and hunting equipment, to skis, boards, and sledding gear, Gear Hub is truly Fernie’s one stop outdoor shop.
Started by brothers-in-law Mark Hall and Jon Levesque in September 2010, Gear Hub has come a long way in a short amount of time. “We just had our two year anniversary and where we’ve come from in two years is amazing,” remarked Hall. “Now, we are essentially the biggest store in town, with the most volume and the most diversity.”
In a resort community that revolves around so many different outdoor sports and activities, Hall recognizes how important it is to offer a little bit of everything.
“People really come here and see us as a full service experience. In a small town I find it’s important to really relate to all the different aspects of the town.”
Levesque added, “We’re trying to bridge that gap between the local, the tourist, the backcountry ski and snowboard person, bikers, and hunters.”
The co-owners’ shared love for the outdoors, along with Hall’s time spent working in ski and bike shops for the majority of his life, led to the initial inspiration for the store. “After you’ve done it for so long, either you’re going to really get along with someone and grow with someone else’s business, or you’re going to do your own thing,” Hall said. “I knew that I could do things differently, and in my mind, better, from getting so much customer feedback from the community working in other stores for years. I really dialled in what I felt was lacking.”
Levesque believes there’s one thing that sets Gear Hub apart from the seven other outdoor shops in town. “What makes us tremendously different from everyone else is our consignment, and the community’s really latched on to that.” The store has given back a whopping $350,000 to customers in the last two years in consignment cheques and product.
At the end of the day, it’s all about keeping the customer happy. “We are the local family store. The Albertans will find us, the tourists will find us, but who we cater to, how we deal with customers, the relationships and the interactions that we foster and grow with our people, is the biggest thing,” Hall expressed. “We really strive here, and we get accolades endlessly, about how amazing our service is, and how when people walk in they feel so welcome.”
Now with winter just around the corner, it’s looking like a busy September for Gear Hub, as Hall and Levesque start rolling in new product, and prepare the store for snow season.