Supporting Local Family Run Businesses: A Comprehensive Guide

Posted by Admin on

Summits Outdoor stands as a premier independent outdoor sports retailer in Scotland, conveniently located in Paisley, just outside Glasgow.

We promote everything from Clay Pigeon Shooting equipment, skis, and snowboards to climbing gear, camping essentials, hiking gear, and outdoor lifestyle clothing.

As a family-run business in today’s society, we understand that we are fortunate to attain customer loyalty which is something we certainly don’t take for granted. Throughout this guide, we shall demonstrate our commitment to continuing to do what we do best.

Understanding the dynamics of a family business on the high street.

Support local - there are very few of us left!

Throughout the high street, you'll notice it's bare bones of what it used to be. Shops thriving the community and lining the pockets of those families within it but nowadays it's nothing but chains of the same merchandise with faceless corporations behind them. 

We are a dying breed but we have such strong qualities within our business that demonstrate how we can continue to exist.

In our family business which is founded on our love for the outdoors, we notice a subtle art in the simplicity of face-to-face communication again, something that is rare to encounter in a shop. Most people don't wish to be disturbed nowadays, perhaps COVID hit their confidence hard but our clientele share our passion for outside so striking up a discussion is effortless and gets the conversation flowing. 

With that being said, we do tend to get carried away - sharing our secrets of places that have to be seen and equipment to help them get there. As a family store, visitors know and love our gibberish and fundamentally trust our judgment.

Establishing our brand and success

Established in 1985, Summits Outdoor has thirty-eight years of experience in our great outdoors. Our founder, Alex has extensive knowledge of our Bonnie country and the tools/equipment needed to explore it! 

Alex is quite frankly, legendary and most will concur, this man's mind is undoubtedly a map of Scotland. He knows every nook and cranny and won't hesitate to share his wild adventures - some of which you won't believe.

He states:

'Summits was born during a time of few outdoor equipment shops and relatively few outdoor enthusiasts. Fortunately, this was about to change.

I've been addicted to the mountains for over half a century. Even now, when I climb a hill I first did as a teenager, for me, nothing in that timeless vista has changed.'

Alex, launching a family-run business with a passion for the outdoors, has established the Summits Outdoor brand with success. He has continued his legacy by managing his business with his sons, daughter and team - who all share the same vision, work hard and push their love for what they do - the perfect recipe. 

Managing the balance between business and family

Mixing family and work, it's important to remember blood is thicker than water. 

JUSTIN - His imput. 

Our Mantra

Keep it simple, we do what we love because we love what we do. 

It's a tight team, together we are strong and we share/promote our products and knowledge to those who share similar interests all the while, being kitted out for each activity. For us, being outside is SO important for the mind, the body and the soul. It's peace and tranquillity when we always need it and it's great to enjoy it with the best of equipment! 

We know and boast our brands such as Patagonia / @RAB / @Montane / @Mountain Equipment / @MSR / @Scarpa - our favourite list is far too long to list but all of whom, hand in hand, hold the same values as us. 

We as Summits Outdoor, are designed to be outside, we are built for endurance and most importantly we cherish our outdoors. Whether it's perched on a hilltop, snug in a bivvy or calculating a ridiculous route - we are ready to tackle it head-on!

Platforms

Our guide to supporting a family business comes from the heart of our store but it’s also supported by the benefits of selling online!

With modern technology at our fingertips - we are grateful to have such a strong online presence. As well as selling in-store we are present on various prominent online platforms such as @eBay, @Amazon, and @OnBuy but the highest traffic we encounter and are proud to say, is from our Summits Outdoor website. You will be able to find us on Google along with our unprecedented reviews. Trustpilot is a shining example that attracts a lot of attention with our support of customers, past, future and present - all of whom concur we are the bee's knees. 

Supporting a business like Summits Outdoor, you immediately recognise an unparalleled service as we all go above and beyond and our prices are genuinely so competitive, that it’s sometimes hard to understand why folk follow the herd to the nearest outdoor chain.

Our dispatch team, flawlessly fulfils our orders across the nation, with a reputable courier service that we can trust who can achieve a rapid delivery time.

On the shop floor, we assist our customers by providing extensive product knowledge and sharing our recommendations all the while, maintaining a superior level of communication via our many online platforms. 

Building a strong company culture

We touched upon our favourite brand list who share the same attributes as we do for the love for the outdoors. Working with our brand representatives, we have a personalised input of their latest and greatest designs which is great for each season we embark on. Each product is carefully selected, understanding its construction and its purpose against the elements we perpetually experience. 

Outwith our brands, ……

Maximizing resources and assets

It’s without question that each member of staff is an asset - we wouldn’t be where we are today without our team. Some we miss who have moved on but all of whom have supported us in our triumph. 

With each member having their favourite hobby all of whom are experienced in Skiing / Snowboarding / Camping / Mountaineering  / Hiking / Climbing, generally being outside one with earth!

Until recently, taking full advantage of maximizing our resources, there was one benefit that has been stripped of us which is the use of the car park for three hours for free in a recent council scheme. We knew that it worked well, however, the council has now decided to remove this and up the cost of parking. 

Inevitably, this shall push our footfall of locals away as they know, that by visiting retail parks where the big chain shops are (just 5/10 minutes away from the town centre) and park for free, yet if you want to come to the town centre to support any independent businesses you will have to pay for parking. It makes little sense but sadly we have lost that resource.

Building customer relationships

By developing a strong reputation as an independent retailer, we meet a lot of different characters. Many, we have been serving for several years and spread the word about us but for most, because we provide genuine excellent customer service, our customers return time and time again. 

Being able to recognise our customer's values, enables us to assist them. We like to get to know what equipment they need for their trekking adventure or it could be something as simple as getting decent waterproofs to walk the dog. 

Whichever end of the spectrum, we evaluate what’s best for them and this in turn, enables them to make a firm decision based on our recommendations. 

Time is a precious commodity - we don’t waste it, we invest it into our customer relationships.

Transparency 

Imagine your most commonly associated corporations filled with mass-produced outdoor products. Ignore how conveniently they are scattered about the high street these days. Find your nearest TISO, Go Outdoors and Millets (who are all owned by JD) and you’ll notice that yes, there are vast amounts of them but no one possesses any originality. 

There are vast quantities of merchandise that’s for sure but is there any quality? Do the team, look like they want to be there? Are their prices competitive or is it all a facade? 

True outdoor enthusiasts know where to find a premium service as Summits Outdoor who hold a local identity.

Support local

Shopping locally has been and always will be essential to all small businesses. 

One of the oldest, or perhaps the first methods of advertising came from word of mouth. For us, that is never underestimated as we firmly believe that what we do, makes a difference and people remember us for that time and time again. 

The family attributes that Summits Outdoor uphold is the reason we still stand. 

We, like all businesses, are subject to the benefits of selling online but for us that one-to-one connection, ensuring our customers have exactly what they need for whatever adventure they have planned is essential to our survival. Over the years, we have created and nurtured a niche on today's high street which although we may be small - we are mighty.

By proudly having each hobby mastered and stocking the essential equipment to enjoy them, Summits Outdoor Caterers to every outdoor enthusiast as it's in essence, founded and run by outdoor enthusiasts. 

An accomplishment certainly and one that shall continue to evolve for many years to come with the continued support we have for our family business. It sets us apart from the giants as we are a rare, independent outdoor retailer. 

Exploring the points above, we hope we have uncovered some great truths to our success and we hope you stay tuned to our blog in 2024  to see us in action uncovering our favourite locations by broadcasting our wild adventures. 

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