the real outdoors

We all like to know a bit about who we're dealing with, so this is about us !

We started life as Pennine Way Outdoor Adventure in Milton Keynes, located in the specialist arcade of Milton Keynes shopping centre.
Around about 2007 we noticed that shop sales were dropping and we were getting more and more customers "just browsing"... which was actually another way of saying
we've come to look and try on, then buy online where its cheaper.
You cant blame people for that, who in their right mind would pay more when they know they can get it cheaper on the Internet.
It was still very annoying, knowing that the customer you'd just spent 30 minutes with and matched them with the most comfortable boots they'd ever tried on, had no
intention of buying them and was using you purely as a "find out which size and style fits me best" exercise.

As we moved into 2009 all the other specialist shops around us either moved or just closed.
A threatened rent and service charge increase made up our mind to close the shop and just concentrate on the online side, not something we really wanted to do, but
shops are expensive places to run, and even our customers were saying "You should go online, it will be cheaper to run" ... the same customers who, after we closed the shop
were then saying "wow.. we really miss popping in and browsing, everything is online nowadays" !

Everything was packed up and moved to a drab, faceless warehouse, internet connected, phone transferred and away we went.
After a few months of "I'm standing outside your shop, but its empty" phone calls, we settled down to processing customer orders.
In the shop, the highlight of the day would be a customer coming in unhappy because they'd broken one of their tent poles "I suppose I need a new tent now" and leaving extremely
happy because we'd replaced the broken pole and renewed the stretch cord and as they put it... "Saved me a bloody fortune", the highlight now was getting an order from somewhere you'd
never even heard of and having to look on a map to find out where in Iceland this particular place was.... Dont they have websites in Iceland ?

Anyway... 2011 saw us move lock stock and (smoking) barrel from Milton Keynes to Hastings in East Sussex, a milder climate and a more traditional town.
Milton Keynes was lovely but in the 15 years we'd been there, it had changed.. a lot.
One thing it did have going for it was being central to nearly everywhere in England. Outdoor trade shows were never more than 90 minutes drive away... something we found
was quite different when you live in the South East.

A short while after moving to the south coast, one of suppliers - Gelert, hit a bad patch and looked like they were going into administration.
Bad news really, Gelert produced what many would call, middle of the road products. What they actually were, were reasonably priced products which performed very well, especially their
rucksacks and sleeping bags.
Then the good news came.. Gelert has been saved - Hoorah ! .... then the bad news came .. Mike Ashley of Sports Direct has bought them - Booo !
After lots of waffle about how nothing would change and Gelert will still be Gelert, the new owner decided he didnt want independent shops selling Gelert items any more and promptly
stopped supplying .... except to his own empire of course. A great shame, RIP Gelert.

Skip a few more years of picking, packing and posting orders and we're still here, struggling on as you do.
There is fierce competition out there. It seems anyone with £50 in their pocket can become an online retailer and sell outdoor kit, unfortunately a lot them are purely box shifters
who's websites have a mix of outdoor, household, dressmaking and birthday cards.. bizarre !

Well thats about us !. We hope you didnt nod off too many times.
For all those who remember Pedro our lazy, good for nothing warehouse bod, he's still with us, still lazy.
He's due to retire soon, so we're planning a retirement / 70th birthday bash. He's dating a 26 year old now, so who knows... it may become an engagement bash too !

Oh.. If you're wondering why we only display a mobile phone number... As we're a small company, we dont have luxury of someone to sit in the office by the phone.
Although having a landline number seems more "professional" we found that either people wouldn't talk to an answering machine, or worse asked for us to call them back.... but not leave their number !.
With a mobile, it will always be answered.. as long as we remember to keep charging it up every evening !

the real outdoors
Block 4 Brookway Business Park
Ivyhouse Lane
Hastings TN35 4NN