Life is short…what is it that makes your clock tick? What do you enjoy? For us it is the smell of the forest, hearing the rushing creeks and turning the corner on a hard section of trail to see the most amazing view imaginable.
Looking back to the summer of 2010, it was the start of an adventure unlike any other. We quit our jobs, put together a business plan and decided to open an outdoor store that would serve weekend warriors and full-time adventure seekers. Outdoor 76 began in a small shop located on Main Street in Franklin, NC. From day one we were committed to carrying the best clothing, footwear and gear that we could find for all types of outdoor enthusiasts. We have always been focused on helping others get out and enjoy the same things that we have been passionately pursuing for the last 30 plus years. Along the way we picked up some incredible staff that loved the southern Appalachian Mountains as much as we do (sometimes even more)! Each of our staff has areas of expertise that they focus on outside of work. They bring that same knowledge and passion into the work place, drawing from years of experiences recreating outdoors. We never wanted to just be another outdoor store. Instead, we had a vision of providing excellent customer service and producing a one-of-a-kind retail experience!
Over the last eight years Outdoor 76 has grown into more than just a retail shop. We have become a hub for Appalachian Trail hikers who are seeking expertise in helping them accomplish their goal of hiking to Mount Katahdin, ME. As ambassadors for the Nantahala National Forest and surrounding areas we have organized events and partnered with non-profits / civic groups to raise money and awareness for our community. All the while we have operated our business with an attitude devoted to customer service and stewardship.
Over the last couple of years we have had moments of self-reflection and wondered, “What is our next step? Where do we go from here?” We know that our business model could flourish in other towns, but there had not been a clear path on where that would be. Our passion is serving the users and the adventure seekers, the very people that our manufactures’ target: hikers, climbers, paddlers and campers. A few months ago we pulled out a map and started searching for where our next adventure would be. Our eyes were drawn to an area visited by 12 million people each year...the one, the only, the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. We wanted to be close to America’s most-visited National Park, but didn’t know how that could happen. Shortly after our interest was piqued by the GSMNP, we received a phone call about the possibility of partnering with another business in Cherokee, NC. We didn’t know what to expect, but decided it was worth considering. After our initial meeting we decided to do everything within our power to open at this new location. After weeks of researching and exploring we determined that it was the right move for us.
Outdoor 76 is thrilled to announce our plans for expansion in Cherokee, NC, at the entrance of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park beginning mid May! We will be housed under the same roof as Motion Makers Bicycles who currently has locations in Sylva, NC, and Asheville, NC. Motion Makers has been recognized as one of America's Best Bicycle Shops by the National Bicycle Dealers Association the last 5 years running! With our combined areas of expertise and the continued investment by the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians on outdoor recreation we feel like this will be the perfect fit for expansion in serving up something special for outdoor enthusiasts! We hope that you will continue to support us in this new venture as we lay tracks further up 441N! Our committed and loyal customers have fostered this opportunity and we can’t wait to show you what we have in store for Cherokee, NC!
Cory and Rob