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Outdoor Expansion

Prevalence of outdoor-related stores on upward swing in Colorado Springs

It’s no secret Colorado Springs and the Pikes Peak region is a treasure-trove for outdoor enthusiasts.

For decades, residents and visitors have flocked to the area’s parks, mountains, streams and lakes to enjoy nature’s bounty and reconnect with Mother Earth. It may have been long overdue, but Colorado Springs has seen an uptick in activity when it comes to outdoor stores, giving nature lovers more chances to get the equipment they need to head outside and have a great time.

Most recently, Mountain Equipment Recyclers, located on South Tejon Street, began work to double its store space to 5,000 square feet. The popular store, which donates part of its proceeds from the sale of donated items to local nonprofits and charities, opened in 2010 under the guidance of Mike Mazzola and is a great local hub for anyone with outdoor interests.

Jim and Elaine Smith saw so much value in Mountain Chalet, a downtown mountaineering store across from Acacia Park that sells outdoor gear and clothing, that they bought it from Dan and Marilyn Foster. The Fosters opened the store in 1968, and it has become part of the fabric of the city, and it should be in good hands moving forward.

In addition to those “mom and pop” stores, Colorado Springs saw a massive conglomerate come to town in 2013, when Bass Pro Shops opened a 120,000-square-foot store off Interstate 25’s North Gate Boulevard exit across from the Air Force Academy. More than 2,000 people attended the store’s opening on Nov. 20 that included an appearance by “Duck Dynasty’s” Willie Robertson. The store not only has everything under the sun for any outdoor activity, but also offers free outdoor skills workshops for visitors.

This major move followed the opening of not one, but two Cabela’s store openings in the Metro Denver area, so Colorado Springs and its big brother to the North have plenty of options for those who love the outdoors.

And why not? Most believe the Front Range can compete with any locale when it comes to beauty and fun in nature’s playground.