By Jennifer Pund
What do you get when an outdoor supply truck runs into a Carhartt van next to a garage sale? It’s a riddle most Nederland locals—or visitors caught without backcountry gear—can answer: Mountain Man Outdoor Store. Owners John and Sasha Thompson, who celebrate their store’s one-year anniversary in July, are taking advice, learning as they go and finding encouragement in the community.
Mountain Man Outdoor Store, located in the lower level of the Nederland’s Caribou Shopping Center, Unit 111, sells all types of new and used outdoor gear, camping necessities and “lots of random stuff.”
The store, like all good inventions, was born from necessity. After returning to Nederland from a 10-year “hiatus” in San Francisco along with his tenacious wife, John wanted to provide gear to folks enjoying nature. “It dawned on me that everyone comes up [to Nederland] to go out, but there was no one store dedicated to that. Ace Hardware has an excellent selection of stuff, I just wanted to expand on that without copying what they already provided,” John said.
With the desire to live in the woods and “not see as much concrete,” the Thompson’s decided on Nederland. “I’ve always wanted to live in the mountains since I was a teenager,” Sasha said. “I was very overwhelmed in the city.”
“It is perfect,” John added. “We are surrounded by National Forest with the National Park to the north, a ski resort to the west, Boulder to the east and the “big road” [Interstate 70] to the south, what more can you dream of?”
“And, we are so much happier here” Sasha said.
Their dreams wouldn’t be a reality without the help of other community business owners according to John. Tom Walker at Dandelion, Susan and Jeff Green of Very Nice Brewing Company and Lexi and Steve Armitage with the Caribou Shopping Center have been instrumental in their beginnings. In the end, John mostly gives thanks to Sasha, “who shares this dream and is willing to work long hours, simply for the love of it.”
Karen Stringfellow with Peak Wine and Spirits gave the Thompson’s valuable advice they continue to use. She said, “the summer tourists will help you out, but the locals are what will keep you in business.”
On slow and dreary days, the Thompson’s stay motived through the support of the community. “I can’t express how much it means to have someone come in on a crappy day and tell me how awesome our store is, and how the town needed this type of retail stop,” John said. “It’s a dream come true, and it means everything to the new little guy when the locals support us.”
The Thompson’s celebrate their store’s one-year anniversary, July 4, with a clearance sale, but stop in anytime for hiking, camping and backpacking gear, thermal underwear, Smartwool socks, Carhartt clothing, hats and gloves, frisbee golf discs, new and used books, dog necessities, knives, toys, snacks, YakTracks, and other gear before you venture out into the wilderness. As always, locals get 10 percent off.