“We want it to be a place that people can come and shop, of course, but also learn about different initiatives around town, whether it’s non-profits or local companies who are doing other things to give back to the community.”
– Ashley Dakan
People are doing a lot of talking about what the “new” retail experience is going to be. Ashley and Jeremy Dakan are building it. As owners of a 43-year old specialty retail institution in my hometown of Durango, Colorado, the Dakans are adding a second store to their portfolio. While I’m thrilled to highlight a local shop and their grand plans for expansion, the ideas in this episode are universal.
When 90-percent of all retail sales are still made in brick and mortar stores, retail is certainly not dead. It’s evolving. And with the launch of their new store, the Dakans are selectively choosing elements of that evolution to create something totally new.
The new store might be labeled a discovery portal for new brands and new products from trusted brands. It will be focused on experience, local connection, cause-oriented brands, artisanal and craft goods, a strong anchor brand in Patagonia, and technology. But this isn’t some sterile, tech-forward space. They’re utilizing technology (see the Bear distribution model) to introduce their audience to artists and craftspeople they wouldn’t have otherwise had the opportunity to know.
One of the keys to success is that the Dakans are approaching this new world order with open eyes and an open mind. They honor that relationships are still central to business. And they’ve spent exactly zero time lamenting or being critical of different business models. Everyone needs to do what is right for themselves, their brands and their customers. It is a breath of fresh air, and that authenticity will certainly be felt by their customers.
ashley and jeremy dakan
Ashley and Jeremy Dakan are the owners of Pine Needle Mountaineering, an outdoor specialty store in Durango, Colo. Ashley and Jeremy both previously worked on the brand side, with Horny Toad and The North Face, respectively. Pine Needle Mountaineering is older than they are…. Think about that for a second.
The new retail equation, small business, Patagonia, shop-in-shop concept, cause-oriented retail, fixturing, merchandising, experiential retail, locally-driven initiatives.
Jeremy: “[Patagonia’s] not twisting our arm to open up other avenues, they’re trying to grow their partnership with their key guys. That’s one key part of it and they’re helping us open up this new door.”
Ashley: “Our sales rep helps us [a lot]. But they trust us to know what our customers want and we build our orders off what we think we can sell and what Durango can support.”
Jeremy: “We appreciate how those guys [at Patagonia] stick to their morals and stick to their principles and run their company.”
Jeremy: “We want to expand on the giving back side of things and supporting our local vendors whoever that may be. It’s a work in progress: We’re scrounging everyday, finding new stuff, and looking outside the box.”
Ashley: “We want it to be a place that people can come and shop, of course, but also learn about different initiatives around town, whether it’s non-profits or local companies who are doing other things to give back to the community.”
Ashley: “We’re all for opening the door for some of these littler brands that are doing the stuff that makes sense for either one, or both of our stores.”