Local outdoor retailer Mountain Gear to close in January, citing online competition

Mountain Gear has been helping the Inland Northwest gear up for camping, hiking and other outdoor activities for 37 years. In January, the local retailer will close its doors and shut down its online operation.

The store announced the closure Sunday, saying in a release “online competition hit Mountain Gear hard in recent years.”

A clearance sale, with deals from 20 to 50 percent off, will begin Friday, Dec. 27.

Mountain Gear opened at 2002 N. Division in 1983. The company launched its mail-order business in 1993 with a printed catalog. Mountain Gear said its catalog “became known as the encyclopedia of climbing, mountaineering, and backpacking gear and helped build a customer base throughout the U.S. and world.”

But as customers increasingly looked online or elsewhere for their outdoor equipment needs, Mountain Gear stopped printing the catalog.

“It’s easy to find the lowest price and click ‘Buy,'” said Mountain Gear owner Paul Fish. “That’s great for customers in some ways, but they’re missing out on the outdoors knowledge available at local stores like ours. We made the decision to stay smaller and to focus on the value of personal touch while the trend around us was to consolidate and sell to larger entities.”

Between its physical store on Division and its headquarters in Spokane Valley, Mountain Gear employs 36 people. Employees will be able to keep their jobs through January until the last of the retail is sold, according to the release.

“Our home-grown business owes an enormous thank you to our Spokane area friends,” said Fish on Facebook. “Whether you’re a third-generation customer who’s brought in your own kids to shop, or a Mountain Gear newbie, we’re grateful for your support.”