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Scout Shop survivor holding its own

Kim Stewart Dec 12
Scout Shop survivor holding its own
Southern Adventure stocks a carefully hand-picked range of competitively priced products.

A place where customers love to be told to take a hike, Southern Adventure is unique among outdoor equipment retailers in New Zealand. The Invercargill store is a survivor, representing what is believed to be the only Scout Shop still trading in New Zealand.

As a non-profit business, it directly funds scouting youth and adults in the Southland community and is proud to support local community groups and schools with prizes for fundraising.

In the face of strong competition from national retail chains with massive buying power, Southern Adventure is still able to hold its own through stocking a carefully hand-picked range of competitively priced products, manager Craig Burke says.

“We travel to outdoor trade shows in Australia once a year and keep up with all the latest products.”

An advantage of this is that its stock selection is flexible, and not tied to mass-produced store brands, he says.

“We are always looking for quality products and all the latest technology. Consequently, the Tay St store is a hikers and hunters paradise, with everything on hand needed to keep warm, dry, fed, well shod and oriented in the great outdoors.

“We can get most brands we want, so we can offer a greater range of products without being limited to particular brands. We get good feedback about the range we have.”

Southern Adventure’s buying strategy also means its pricing is very competitive, so customers are not paying an inflated premium, even at normal retail prices.

The business’ Facebook presence means it is often the go to store for adventurers from other parts of New Zealand and the world.

“We are getting a lot of people from Australia and the North Island that love this shop, love the variety and the pricing. “They also love how it’s an independently owned small business in the community.”

It is not uncommon for international visitors to make the store their one-stop shop for their outdoor needs when they arrive in New Zealand.

Hunters Element and Ridgeline are among the well-known brands stocked and these are popular with hunters, a market the store has tapped more into over the years and which has overtaken sales of camping products.

Store staff can advise on the best products for every purpose; this includes buying at the right price point depending on the level of use of items such as boots, packs, sleeping bags and clothing.

Advances in the technology of materials and construction of outdoor products such as packs means they are lighter and can carry more food and equipment in the same space than older versions.

“The most popular packs we used to sell for men was 80 to 85 litres and now you can go down to 70 to 75 litres.”

While GPS technology has become a common way navigating for many in recent years, the store’s range of topographic maps are still a popular item, are light to carry and something which cannot malfunction.

Southern Adventure offers its loyal customers a 15% discount off regular store price and 25% off during sales with a VIP card.

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