Blue Ridge Mountain Outfitters, a clothing and accessories store for outdoor enthusiasts which is based in Blue Ridge, Ga., chose to open its fourth location in Cleveland, which the company’s owner said was an ideal spot for the company to continue to grow.
Owner Linda Rice originally hails from Ohio but has lived in multiple states. It was when she visited Blue Ridge while passing through on a vacation to North Carolina that she said she fell in love with the mountains and rivers covering the region’s scenic landscape.
In 2005, she decided to move to Blue Ridge and open an outdoor store so she could be there to enjoy the outdoors and sell what people can use to do the same. Later, the company grew by opening locations in Copperhill and Crystal Lake, Ill.
After those locations saw success, Rice said she decided to expand into Cleveland because of what it had to offer — more people and a location that happens to be in relatively close proximity to both the busy 25th Street and popular outdoor spots like the Ocoee River.
The store carries outdoor clothing, shoes and accessories for men, women and children from a variety of brands like The North Face, Patagonia, Keen, Chaco, Mountain Hardware, Rainbow, Camelbak and Swiftwick.
“There wasn’t another outfitter like ours already here,” Rice said. “If there’s a great outfitter, you’re going to have a big customer base.”
Rice said the company employs outdoor lovers who are enthusiastic about a variety of activities. She said she was looking forward to exploring the areas around Cleveland, especially the Ocoee and the Greenway.
While the Copperhill and Cleveland locations are a bit smaller, Rice said the original Blue Ridge location boasts about 4,000 square feet of space, large enough to have comfy leather chairs that invite customers to stay and talk about their latest outdoor adventures.
And she said they do. Rice added that she hopes the outfitter’s newest location will feel inviting too, despite its size. She said the store is “very unapologetically Christ-based,” and she “prays that people will walk in and feel peace.”
She said it is her company’s goal to “do good work” and “be good to [the] community.”
As it becomes part of Cleveland, she said hopes the store can eventually expand to a size similar to the Blue Ridge store.
The store is located inside one of the Spring Creek Town Center’s existing retail spots, but Rice said she’s considering expanding by building a free-standing store nearby. She said the goal is to do that within the location’s first year of business, but nothing is definite yet.
For more information, visit www.blueridgemountainoutfitters.com.