A Vancouver business operating on West Broadway for nearly 20 years is shuttering its physical store and suggesting that construction, COVID-19, and rising rent are to blame.
Alpine Start Outfitters, located on 68 West Broadway, has been a fixture in that neighbourhood since September 28, 2007.
The general manager of Alpine Start Outfitters told us that her father started the business when he immigrated to Vancouver from Korea. She said that she and her sister grew up working at the store on boxing weeks as part-time employees, and now both work in management.
“Unfortunately, that leg of our journey comes to a close at the end of this month.”
While the physical location might be closing, the online store is alive and well.
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“After challenges we’ve faced from COVID, the construction on Broadway, and rising rent prices, we have made the difficult decision to close the physical location of our store and instead become a fully online store.”
Alpine Start Outfitters specializes in outdoor apparel, including hiking, climbing, skiing and snowboarding gear.
The general manager told Daily Hive that her father wanted to start a business that would serve the community in the area.
“He thought West Broadway was the perfect location, as it already had a variety of outdoor shops.”
She added that it was known to be the go-to neighbourhood for outdoor gear and apparel and that their family loves the outdoors.
West Broadway might’ve been the perfect location once, but despite the other challenges the business faced, it sounds like the construction of the Broadway Subway was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Many businesses have faced access issues due to fencing and other hurdles created by construction.
“Due to the construction and the change in shopping habits by customers, we felt like we’ve reached our limit in drawing in customers to our brick and mortar store.”
The general manager said that they were surprised to see an increase in online sales despite previously not putting a lot of effort or time into that sales channel.
While the cost of rent is another partial reason why Alpine Start Outfitters has decided to shutter its retail location, ultimately, there’s a combination of factors, including the evolution of consumer purchasing habits and the rise in online sales. We asked if there was any support from the City of Vancouver for businesses like Alpine Start Outfitters, which the construction might’ve adversely impacted, but we were told they were unaware of anything of that nature.
For longtime fans of Alpine Start Outfitters, there will still be a physical location and office for any fitting or repairs for Meindl customers. Customers can also sign up for Alpine’s e-newsletter on its website and stay in touch on its social media channels.
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The silver lining in this unfortunate development for the long-standing Vancouver business, at least for customers, is that there’s currently a major clearance sale. So one of the ways you could help bid Alpine’s retail location farewell is to check out some of the fantastic deals it offers, including items up to 50% off.
“We are hopeful that this new chapter will bring positive changes to the business. One thing we are excited for is that when we are online, we are able to reach customers no matter where they live, and hope that this will help us expand our customer base in the years to come.”