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REI COMING TO CHATTANOOGA
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By arvidjr
Feb 26, 2014

JUST SOMETHING I HEARD!!!!!


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By Alex Whitman
Feb 26, 2014
Luxury Liner, Indian Creek

lame


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By Woodchuck ATC
Feb 26, 2014
Rock Wars, RRG, 2008

Being totally unfamiliar with the town, but knowing it's a huge climbers paradise,,I'm shocked they never had a store there before. Who was the competiton that was keeping them out of the area? Is EMS big that far south, or mostly up in northeastern states? Eddie Bauer stores? LL Bean outlets? What was the major supplier of climbing gear and quality camping stuff in the past? Will an REI do them bad business juju?


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By Chris Freye
From Seattle
Feb 26, 2014

Rock Creek is the major supplier of gear in Chatt. Nothing else present (that I know of). Ehhh I'm not the biggest fan of rock creek so.. an REI actually might be nice. Too bad I don't live there anymore...


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By david blankenship
Feb 27, 2014

one is supposed to open in Knoxville this year


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By John Wilder
From Las Vegas, NV
Feb 27, 2014

REI opens stores based on the number of members in a town. When it hits a certain threshold, they open a store. Chattanooga hit that number last year, I believe.


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By Ryan Cantor
Feb 27, 2014
Climbing at Riverside Rock Quarry, CA

Cool! Chattanooga is really coming along. I would totally live there.


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By The Blueprint Part Dank
Mar 4, 2014
Bohemian grove

Dawson Wheeler, the owner of Rock Creek Outfitters absolutely squandered the best, most active community of employees that you could ever have in the outdoor industry. I worked there for a year and a half. When I first came on board, the store was staffed by an incredibly active and knowledgeable staff that contributed to every aspect of Chattanooga Outdoor adventure.

It was almost funny watching him throw it all away. He fostered an incredibly stressful and unhealthy work environment, forcing managers to work 50+ hour weeks with no overtime. He had a staff of managers and employees who were skilled and passionate about outdoor recreation. But chose to let them all go in favor of a sedentary group of clock punchers who knew more about folding North Face t-shirts than properly sizing climbing shoes.

There are still a few good people there, two managers in particular will always stand out to me as a truly kind and generous souls. But I oftentimes wander why they haven't
taken their skills elsewhere.

Rock Creek Outfitters is a company that cares more for its bottom line than customer service and employee well being. I'm sure that the work environment and employee hours have become even more laughable with the requirements of the affordable healthcare act.

I'm sure that REI is going to take Rock Creek out to the woodshed for a beating, and I wish them the best of luck. No one should have sympathy for this "little guy" company as they get pushed out by a big national corporation.


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By Will Butler
From Boulder, CO
Mar 4, 2014
ice park

Maybe post this in a regional thread. Not something the rest of the country needs to hear about.


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By The Blueprint Part Dank
Mar 4, 2014
Bohemian grove

Will Butler wrote:
Maybe post this in a regional thread. Not something the rest of the country needs to hear about.


It is in a regional thread. "Southern States Forum". Maybe you should double check before you say something.


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By Will Butler
From Boulder, CO
Mar 4, 2014
ice park

Ahh I see. My bad. Wonder why that was showing in my forum thread here in CO?

Btw, it's incredibly douchey to bash a former employer online using some rediculous alias. Enjoy the shopping.


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By The Blueprint Part Dank
Mar 4, 2014
Bohemian grove

My name's Will Eslinger. And this is an online forum where usernames are less commonly someone's actual name than some "alias" as you put it. It would be different if I had suddenly created the account to trash my former employer anonymously. But this is an account that I've used for a while. The above post contains opinions that I would happily share face to face with anyone involved in the Rock Creek organization.


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By The Blueprint Part Dank
Mar 4, 2014
Bohemian grove

Not to beat a dead horse, but the silver lining to all of this is that almost all of the quality former employees have moved onto much more fulfilling careers. Some are gear reps, some work in fish and wildlife management, one is a park ranger in glacier NP, and another is in management at a Fortune 100 company.


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By Will Butler
From Boulder, CO
Mar 4, 2014
ice park

don'tchuffonme wrote:
How about how does that pile of...
Check your own sentence structure before calling out others.

And yeah. Lesson learned here. Carry on.


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By Paul Barnes
From Gainesville, Georgia
Mar 6, 2014

History lesson for the youngsters. Rock Creek grew out of a cool little gear shop called Canoeist Headquarters. We would go in, hang out, buy stuff, exchange stories and route info with Dawson, and to a greater extent Marvin. And often see Marvin cruising effortlessly through The Sunset Girdle Traverse early on weekend mornings up on Lookout Mountain. I also remember catching Paul Piana's slideshow about the Free Salathe' up there in that little store on Hixson Pike. That was a pretty big deal at the time. Awe inspiring even.

They saw the trend in online retailing and took advantage and grew their business. I, for one, don't fault them a bit. I also don't believe that retail...even management...was ever designed as a career that would allow one to live the American Dream. It's a stepping stone at best. And it sounds from Will's post that it has been just that for several former Rock Creek employees.

I, myself, worked for an arm of the company called The Adventure Guild back in the day at The Walnut Wall for a brief time while I was going to school. Least money, and most fun I've ever had "working".

All this to say...Rock Creek aint exactly Walmart. Don't get it twisted.


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By BHMBen
From The Deeper South
Mar 6, 2014
Post climb snack... <br /> <br />Photo is of Strappo Hughes, taken in the Yosemite Lodge parking lot in 1982 by Russ Walling.

Paul Barnes wrote:
Don't get it twisted.


Right on, Paul.
I, for one, would prefer REI not come to town....
Rock Creek does fine by me when in town or if my local store doesn't carry something.
As to Rock Creek growing their business in modern times.....hurray for those dudes.


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By don'tchuffonme
Mar 6, 2014
urrr

Will Butler wrote:
Check your own sentence structure before calling out others.


Hahaha. Fuck. Keen eye, Mr. Butler. Keen eye.


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By Jake Jones
From The Eastern Flatlands
Mar 6, 2014
Me and the offspring walking back to the car after a day of cragging.

BHMBen wrote:
Right on, Paul. I, for one, would prefer REI not come to town...


Unfortunately where I live in my little pocket of central VA, I don't really have a choice. There are no other shops, but I do absolutely share your sentiment Ben, and here's an example of why. This is an email sent to them via their "contact us" link on their website. I thought it was a good suggestion.

Question Nowhere in your stores or online have I seen a notchless "keylock" oval carabiner. You sell lots of passive protection for traditional climbing. These notchless ovals are key pieces of gear for racking nuts and hexes and other passive gear because they have relatively large baskets, and when removing a piece of gear, the wires won't catch because there is no notch. You sell NOTCHED oval carabiners, which are great for other purposes, but as a member, I would like to see notchless ovals in your inventory for the purpose that I have stated. There is a specific purpose, and so a specific demand for these carabiners, and I would imagine that if explained properly, it would be rather easy to sell one of these notchless oval carabiners with every purchase of a set of nuts or other passive gear. The associate could quickly demonstrate the benefit of a notchless oval carabiner to anyone purchasing passive gear. Some examples are the Petzl O-WALL carabiner, and the Cam
> p USA compact oval keylock carabiner. Just a thought.
>
> Thanks for your consideration.
>
> Jake Jones


RESPONSE

> Hi Jake,
>
> Thank you for your email and product recommendations.
>
> We do carry an option that should work out for you:
>
> C.A.M.P. Orbit Wire Bent Gate Carabiner
>
> www.rei.com/product/870180/camp-orbit-wire-bent-gate-carabin>>>
>
> Best wishes for a spring filled with outdoor adventure.
>
> Morgain B.
> REI Product Information

MY RESPONSE

Dear Morgain,

I inquired about a notchless oval carabiner. You suggest a carabiner that is neither oval nor notchless. I feel as though you didn't even read my suggestion, and if you did, you dismissed it in less time than it took to read it. Perhaps you simply misunderstood. Is there a climber with some decision-making clout with which I might correspond? If not, no worries. There are other gear retailers eager to listen to customers that drop four figures a year in their stores.

Regards

Jake Jones

FINAL CORRESPONDENCE

Hi Jake,

Thanks for your reply.

You are correct, the carabiner I suggested does not meet your specifications. I apologize.

We do not sell anything that matches what you are looking for. I have forwarded your suggestions on to the correct department.

You are a valued customer and I hope you will give us another opportunity to serve your future outdoor needs.

Morgain B.
REI Product Information

Do you think my suggestion is getting passed on to anyone? Doubtful. But if you went into a smaller shop with actual climbers working there, this suggestion would probably be taken more seriously. My $.02.


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By Paul Barnes
From Gainesville, Georgia
Mar 6, 2014

Careful whatcha wish for Jake. It's been my experience that a set of Atros or DMM alloy offsets can escape a notchless biner quicker than you can say "Now I'm Fucked." I carry nothing but notchless biners EXCEPT for the one holding small wires. To each his own though.

Now...back to your regularly scheduled programming....


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By RockinOut
From NY, NY
Mar 6, 2014
Gear

Jake Jones wrote:
Unfortunately where I live in my little pocket of central VA, I don't really have a choice. ...My $.02.



Thats a specific piece of gear, like you stated. Most sets of nuts already come with a "free" carabiner. Nuts with 'biner So trying to add-on a specific biner would almost be too redundant. Wouldnt you feel like they are trying to upsell you something if what you are buying already comes with a free one?


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By Jake Jones
From The Eastern Flatlands
Mar 6, 2014
Me and the offspring walking back to the car after a day of cragging.

RockinOut wrote:
Thats a specific piece of gear, like you stated. Most sets of nuts already come with a "free" carabiner. Nuts with 'biner So trying to add-on a specific biner would almost be too redundant. Wouldnt you feel like they are trying to upsell you something if what you are buying already comes with a free one?


Valid point. It's funny, my first set was this exact one you've linked. The second time I used it I was on NC slab, slipping out of my stance trying to get a wire off of that oval-ish wire gate that the set came with. I ended up taking a 25footer-off-balance-try like hell to run really fast backward fall as a result. The first chance I got, I picked up a notchless oval.

I've had way more instances of being in a precarious stance and getting a wire hung on a notch than ones where I was worried about losing gear because of no notch. However, this is subjective. To each his own. The point is that the guy didn't even consider my suggestion, or probably bother to do more than a cursory scan of my email. If it was actually addressed, and then summarily denied, it would sit better with me.

Anyway, I've had much better experiences in small shops like Waterstone in Fayetteville WV than in big stores. This email kind of alludes to that. Take it with a grain though, this is just the input and perspective of one guy. Others may have had exceptional experiences. I just thought it was relevant, that's all.


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By BHMBen
From The Deeper South
Mar 6, 2014
Post climb snack... <br /> <br />Photo is of Strappo Hughes, taken in the Yosemite Lodge parking lot in 1982 by Russ Walling.

Jake,

My disdain for REI has to do more with their big box nature, but your customer service (or lack thereof) story is another gripe.

If you must order online, why not use a legit company like GearExpress, BentGate, or Neptune instead of dealing with REI?

Rock and Snow, Rock Creek, and Alabama Outdoors all do the online thing and are all decent shops, as well.

When I got started, I acquired a good bit of equipment from GearExpress. They are my go-to online retailer for climbing-specific gear.


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By Jake Jones
From The Eastern Flatlands
Mar 6, 2014
Me and the offspring walking back to the car after a day of cragging.

BHMBen wrote:
If you must order online, why not use a legit company like GearExpress, BentGate, or Neptune instead of dealing with REI?


I do most of the time, if for no other reason than I can find stuff 20% off retail online almost any time and that trumps REI's lame "dividends" of 10%. The problem lies in the things that must be tried on. I don't always buy when I try things on- even if they fit, but sometimes I feel like a dick when I just use them to size things then purchase somewhere else. I suppose I shouldn't. Idk.

Then there's the Mrs. She's just willy nilly about the whole purchasing thing. She'll buy anything from those fuckers just because it's in front of her and someone's nice to her.


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By RForbus
From Hotlanta
Mar 6, 2014

BHMBen wrote:
Jake, My disdain for REI has to do more with their big box nature, but your customer service (or lack thereof) story is another gripe. If you must order online, why not use a legit company like GearExpress, BentGate, or Neptune instead of dealing with REI? Rock and Snow, Rock Creek, and Alabama Outdoors all do the online thing and are all decent shops, as well. When I got started, I acquired a good bit of equipment from GearExpress. They are my go-to online retailer for climbing-specific gear.


I'd add gearx.com to that as well. I'll only order online if my local store can't order or doesn't carry the product im looking for. Always try and support to the local family owned business. Shout out to High Country Outfitters.


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By The Blueprint Part Dank
Mar 6, 2014
Bohemian grove

Paul Barnes wrote:
All this to say...Rock Creek aint exactly Walmart. Don't get it twisted.



Oh, I absolutely agree 100%. Wal Mart treats it's employees much better than Rock Creek.


Paul Barnes wrote:
History lesson for the youngsters. Rock Creek grew out of a cool little gear shop called Canoeist Headquarters. We would go in, hang out, buy stuff, exchange stories and route info with Dawson, and to a greater extent Marvin..


Let's be real here. Dawson beta was simply regurgitated Marvin beta.


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By The Blueprint Part Dank
Mar 6, 2014
Bohemian grove

Birmingham Ben. Rock Creek has been good to you, because you have been helped by employees like me who love the outdoors and wanted to help you enjoy it to the fullest.

Would you like to know what that employee dealt with a half hour before they were kind and helpful to you?

I have had Tourette's syndrome since I was nine years old. I deal with subduing it every second of every day. A medical condition known as dysgraphia generally accompanies Tourette's.

"Dysgraphia is a learning disability that affects writing, which requires a complex set of motor and information processing skills. Dysgraphia makes the act of writing difficult. It can lead to problems with spelling, poor handwriting and putting thoughts on paper. People with dysgraphia can have trouble organizing letters, numbers and words on a line or page."

I've never made excuses because of these issues. I've worked around them. But you see, every customer who spent over $250 dollars at Rock Creek would recieved a hand written thank you letter, alongside a 15% discount on one item. Those letters were generally written by one of my very artistic co-workers who had beautiful handwriting and oftentimes included a little drawing with the letter.

But one day she was sick, and I was the only employee not assigned to a certain section in the store, and my manager asked ME to write the letters. I made it very clear that I shouldn't be given that job, because I just couldn't do it satisfactorily. But the manager said "oh no, don't worry, just do your best".

One of those letters went out to one of Dawson's friends. Who were offended by the quality of my hand writing. A week later I was called up to Dawson Wheeler's office, made to stand in front of his desk, with ten other employees around. And told that the quality of MY HANDWRITING showed "a complete disregard" for my job and then he said "in three years you're going to be a bum begging on the side of the street, and when I see you, I'm not going to give you a fucking penny."

At least at Wal Mart, there would be an HR to report to


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