ADDRESS: 207 and 135 NW 2nd St., Corvallis, OR 97330
PHONE NUMBER: 541-754-6444 or TOLL FREE 800-427-6442
WEB SITE: www.peaksportscorvallis.com
OWNER: Jeff Katz
YEARS IN BUSINESS: 42
WHAT THEY SELL: Everything adventure and “on the go” related
WHY YOU SHOULD GO: For the wide range of high-quality goods and the expertise
If you’re tired of sitting around watching YouTube videos of thrilling ski runs or daunting rock climbing feats, let Peak Sports outfit you for adventures in the real world. Hiking, biking, kayaking—whatever form your outdoor fun takes, Peak can get you the equipment you need. Most important, their seriously knowledgeable employees can provide expert advice so you won’t find yourself up a creek without a paddle.
Jeff, when and why did you start your business? I found my way to Oregon in the early 70’s. I needed employment, and I also wanted to help my friends find work. I wanted to do something that was both fun and challenging. I started Peak Sports in 1971 because I wanted to participate in and support people-powered sports. First we started the bike shop and soon after added other outdoor sporting equipment.
Tell us about your products. Which are your favorites? Well, I try not to have favorites among my children. Our website is very well laid out with all the offerings here at Peak Sports – cycling, skiing, hiking, backpacking, adventure travel, and outdoor wear. Our clothing buyer and champion window display designer Deb McCarty has been with Peak Sports for 26 years. She does an amazing job.
What does being featured as the Local Business of the Week mean to you? Being selected as Local Business of the Week gives me an opportunity to remind fellow business owners about Peak Sports and share some of our common practices that have led to our success.
Do you fill an unusual niche? Our bike shop does custom bicycle fitting for the racer/enthusiast/triathlete, and we have the biggest selection of bikes in the state. Our inventory can be found on our website. I feel that being a specialty outdoor store is a niche in itself, since there are fewer of them all the time. We have “high touch” capability – see/feel/try on – that makes Peak Sports almost unique in this day and age.
What does your business do better than anyone else? We have extensive knowledge in all activities we participate in. I don’t offer products for a sport unless the staff has a solid knowledge of it. We continually train our staff so they have up-to-date information and a good grasp of the equipment we sell. Through use of these practices, we can offer superior information and service.
What challenges have you faced as an independent local business owner, and how have you met these challenges? One of the biggest challenges in our market is competing with on-line sales and big box stores. Almost everything we sell can be found somewhere else if customers look hard and long enough. We try to help them make the decision to buy with us by “adding value.” We do this by providing the best customer service possible. We give our staff the tools they need, using constant and repetitive in-depth training. During the product training, staff is also repeatedly reminded that our customers are the lifeblood of our business, as well as our friends and neighbors in the community. We also use fair pricing strategies so our customers get a good value for their dollar.
What do you enjoy most about owning a local, independent business in Corvallis? I enjoy helping friends and our customers prepare for having fun, whether that’s supplying them with information or a product. Helping them go do something they enjoy is very gratifying.
What is your relationship to the community? I’ve chaired the Riverfront Commission and the Downtown Parking Commission, and I’m currently a member of the Chamber Music Corvallis Board, where we bring world class chamber music to Corvallis every year.
How important is sustainability to you? Sustainability has been a primary goal for many years. It was a focus for us long before it became popular. As an example, we returned plastic bags to Patagonia after unpacking our orders 15 years ago. We have always looked for products and encouraged our suppliers to use the least amount of packaging possible. We look for products that have a small carbon footprint, from conception to manufacturing to shipping. Another example of my commitment to the environment, in addition to our products and practices, is our solar array. We have a 45KW solar photovoltaic system on the roof top of our store, and we funded solar systems at both of the First Alternative Co-op stores and Lincoln School.
(Interview and article by Debra Hascall – February 24, 2013)
The Local Business of the Week program is designed to help the Corvallis community identify our locally owned independent businesses by featuring one business each week. The program is part of the Buy Local First campaign co-sponsored by the Corvallis Sustainability Coalition and the Community Independent Business Alliance (CIBA).