In current times, specialty retail stores that remain open for fifteen years are spectacular. Moreover, specialty retail stores that consistently open its doors for forty years are anomalies. Joe Royer, along with co-owner Lawrence Migliaria, have accomplished a feat that most entrepreneurs still consider a dream. For the past forty years, Outdoors, Inc. has “outfitted human-powered recreation.” Exceptional service, product knowledge, and product purchasing practices allowed Outdoors, Inc. to reach its current level of success.
This past April, Joe Royer received the “Outstanding Alumnus Award” from the University of Memphis’ Herff College of Engineering in recognition of past and present achievements, mainly in the ways of Outdoors, Inc. and his philanthropy as a board member of Tennessee Parks and Greenways Foundation, Mississippi River Bicycle Trail, Greater Memphis Greenline, and his position on the Advisory Board of the Wolf River Conservancy.
Royer’s engineering background compels him to focus on efficient design (weight, length, flexibility of products) specifically on bicycles and boats. A knowledgeable staff that rides, runs, and climbs is critical to understanding the slight differences within the above categories in different products.
“Every human being is different…which makes every bike build, shoe fit, backpack choice, and ski/snowboard binding mount unique. Our staff has paddled in Glacier Bay, Alaska, completed coast-to-coast riding tours, trekked around the world, completed marathons, and climbed around the continental United States. We hire daily users to ensure our customers safety and satisfaction in their adventures.”
– Joe Royer, President and Co-Owner, Outdoors, Inc.
After arriving in 1967 for the University of Memphis Engineering program, Joe Royer has watched the Memphis outdoor community continue to grow as numerous climbers, cyclists, runners, trekkers, and the sort call Memphis home. While the Memphis outdoor experience expands, Outdoors, Inc. expands in conjunction with the Bluff City to currently include five locations.
Upon questioning Royer about the reasoning behind Outdoors, Inc. success, he replied, “[Our] best skill is to not underestimate Memphians. They are running the Boston marathon, climbing the Matterhorn, and paddling the Mississippi. Memphians are strong and need reliable gear as apparent in our daily interactions. [Our] stores, for the past 40 years, have consistently offered high-performance products for customers.”
While the success of Outdoors, Inc. is in part due to the management, a large part is also attributed to the knowledge and experience of the staff. Within the staff at each location, there are cyclists, runners, skiers, paddlers, climbers, and hikers. A collection of the staff has completed bicycle tours from the Pacific to Atlantic Ocean as well as simply commuting to work via the Greenline. Five of OI’s bicycle technicians have attended the U.S.A Cycling training center in Colorado Springs. Further, staff members have paddled in Alaska’s Glacier Bay, the Sea of Cortez in Mexico, the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon, and many other rivers in the continental U.S. and Europe. Employees have also hiked the entire Appalachian Trail, climbed the Matterhorn in Switzerland, and attended Mt. Rainier climbing school in Washington State.
Written By: Marie Mason, Outdoors, Inc.