MONTROSE — A new outdoor retailer has opened its doors in downtown Montrose, but what isn’t new is the owners of the The Great Outdoors Company. They have been selling outdoor gear in Montrose for decades.
Owner Steve Omernik and family operated Jeans Westerner for nearly 40 years, before closing it in 2012. Now, their Great Outdoors Company, located at 10 S. Selig Avenue in downtown Montrose, celebrates its grand opening this weekend. The new store features hiking and camping gear with outdoor clothing, tents and sleeping bags along with footware, books and maps to area wilderness areas. Unlike Jeans Westerner, Omernik said The Great Outdoors Company will not sell firearms or fishing gear; its focus is on helping families get outside.
Omernik said the “close-knit” group of outdoor enthusiasts in the area has already taken to social media promoting the store’s opening.
“It has been amazing how much buzz has been generated so far,” he said.
The 6,000 sq.-ft. store once housed High Country Fitness. Omernik said the new retail store will expand from its current 3,500 square-foot space to fill the 6,000-sq.-ft. space while it incorporates more products like paddle-boards and kayaks. The City of Montrose will “break river” on a new whitewater park early next year, and Omernik wants to help customers fall in love with river sports.
The Great Outdoors Company will sell and rent river equipment in time for the park’s opening next summer, and will sell brands including Marmot, Woolrich and Mountain Khaki.
The store features a lot of products made by companies from Colorado, including Osprey backpacks made in Cortez, clothing from manufactures on the Front Range and paddle-boards made in Steamboat Springs.
“It’s really great how much of that is made and offered in state,” Omernik said.
Next fall (in 2015), the store will rent skis and other backpacking gear, something the Omernik family used to do at Jeans Westerner. Since that store closed in 2012, Omernik said he has really missed selling outdoor gear and helping people get the right gear to go out in any condition.
“There is no bad weather, only bad gear,” he said.
He said working with the city to open the new store has been a positive experience, and that new city assets like the upcoming whitewater park will help grow Montrose’s tourism economy.
“It gave me the confidence to reinvest in Montrose,” Omernik said.
Store hours are from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.
The Great Outdoors Company can be reached at 970/615-7021, or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/GreatOutdoorsCompany/.