Client Success Story: Second Gear Expands

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Second Gear: First-Hand Accounts of Success from a Second-Hand Adventure Shop

As any business owner knows, with strong leadership, the right partnerships, and fierce determination, success is right around the corner.

The consignment shop for all things outdoor adventure, Second Gear has seen this success as they’re preparing for expansion into their new warehouse in the River Arts District in Asheville. Following years of consistent growth, the company decided it was time to open new doors and head to a larger warehouse space, which will be shared space with Asheville Adventure Company and Sugar and Snow Gelato.

How It All Started

When Russ Towers first opened Second Gear in 2004, it was simply a passion project. Having already developed a successful career in real estate, he was looking for the opportunity to give back to the community and share a love of all things outdoors. He’s seen incredible growth and faced the numerous ups and downs characteristic of any successful business, with persistence and commitment.

In the early days of Second Gear, the partners took part in the Foundations course, learning the ropes of owning and managing small, independent businesses. After the Foundations program, they participated in Alpine to learn how to manage a growing business. As Second Gear proved to be successful, Towers took the knowledge he learned and experienced and returned to Mountain BizWorks to teach the very class he sat in years prior. 

During the years, Russ has found Mountain BizWorks’ resources to be comprehensive, including, “All the aspects that come with business planning and growing your business”. In addition to the support of Mountain BizWorks, he mentions tips to those just starting out: “Be persistent. Believe in your concept. Be patient.”

Along with giving back to the community through consignment, his vision was to create a consignment shop that would allow adventurers and outdoors enthusiasts the opportunity to find affordable, quality equipment and clothing that was gently used but still ready to see more adventure.

Providing Asheville locals with the opportunity to make some money off their old gear, the passionate and devoted employees also brought forth the opportunity for community members to find new and exciting outdoor activities to get involved with. Thinking about cycling, but not experienced enough to justify brand new cycling shoes? Why not buy a pair of used shoes that are still in great shape and just your size to start you off – It’s a win-win for all parties.

In fact, to date, Second Gear has managed to bring $3.7 million back into the community through consignment fees alone. They also currently employ between 10 to 15 full-time employees. In addition to the financial benefits as well as opportunities brought to the community for affordable outdoor gear, there was the added benefit of reusable, recycled gear.

Reaching New Heights with Mountain BizWorks

When it came time for the expansion, Second Gear knew they’d outgrown their current shop. But, given the current pandemic, financial backing for the expansion was hard to find.

After being turned down by financial institution after institution, given the uncertainty that reigned during 2020, Second Gear found their bank, Mountain BizWorks. A longstanding partnership with Mountain BizWorks meant when it came time to move into a larger space, Mountain BizWorks confidently backed the project, having seen years of demonstrated growth and confidence in the consignment shop.

Expansion during times of economic uncertainty can be a challenge and a risk some businesses aren’t able to take. For Second Gear, however, it merely came down to it being the right time and having the right resources.

Springing into the New Building

Currently, Second Gear has plans to open at their new location this spring, in May of 2021. What began as a small operation in just 1200 sqft of space is now booming to a thriving business, amassing a shared space of over 10,000 sqft. As it prepares in the coming months for the transition, Second Gear stands as a stark reminder of the successes that come with having the right business sense and the strong support that helps along the way.



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