DENVER — The outdoor resale business has grown significantly in recent years. Industry insiders say sales are being driven by the desire for affordability and concerns over the environmental impact of manufacturing. Re-commerce has expanded to the point where well-known brands such as Patagonia and Arc’teryx have launched their own buy-back programs to get in on the action. But when they buy used gear, they offer the seller sales credit for purchases within the brand.
“Our big differentiator is, we’re going to pay cash,” said Barruch Ben-Zekry, Out&Back’s founder and CEO. “We’re going to pay for this stuff, so if somebody wants to get rid of it, they can actually do it. And we’ll give you an instant offer. You bring it to Dick’s, our associate checks it in, it usually takes 60 to 120 seconds, and you get a PayPal or a Venmo to your bank account right away.”
According to research conducted by thredUP, an online consignment sales site that specializes in women’s clothing, the re-commerce industry overall is expected to grow to $75 billion by 2025. Outdoor gear figures to be part of that growth.
“The (outdoor) market is massive, primarily because it’s a category that is really expensive,” said Jimmy Funkhouser, owner of Feral Mountain Gear, where about 50% of his sales are used goods. “If somebody wants to go backpacking this weekend for the first time, if they were to buy everything new, they’re going to spend over $1,000. You could take a small family to Disney World for that, so people are definitely looking for opportunities to carve up that cost. Buying used, or renting, is the best way to cut into that cost and get started into a new hobby.”
When Funkhouser moved from a small shop on Tennyson Street to a much larger space just down the street in 2018, he added a used gear section to his inventory. He also rents gear. Manufacturers have gotten into the second-hand market because they’ve seen how successful independent retailers like Funkhouser have been.
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