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By Phil D’Amico, director of business growth, The Chamber of Commerce of St. Joseph County
J.V. Peacock is the owner of Outpost Sports, which he started two years after his graduation from Colorado State University in 1972.
Today he owns two Outpost Sports locations within the South Bend and Mishawaka area. The business started with backpacks, and today it specializes in volleyball, biking, stand-up paddleboards and winter-related sports products like skis, as well as extreme-related sports equipment. Peacock’s Grape Road location was started 25 years ago, and within the past two years, Outpost Sports has opened a location in the newly developed Eddy Streets Common, across from the University of Notre Dame.
|J.V. Peacock, owner|
of Outpost Sports
Q: You are in great shape. How do you stay so fit and trim?
A: I never stop moving … I bike every day, I swim, I play volleyball twice a week, and I absolutely love to stay active in a number of sports.
Q: What do you think is the most critical element today in running a successful business?
A: There is no question about what is most critical. You must have strong relationships with your market, customers and community. That is why our staff, employees and I are so physically active in the community. Local community service is paramount to success.
Q: How big is your market?
A: We try to focus on a 50-mile radius. We try to reach out to our customers, to our market and to our community by proactively offering local programs that lead to building community relationships. Like, we run local outdoor volleyball leagues, and we also do a distance weekly bike ride for many of our customers and community members. You have to be able to touch your local market by giving them options and programs that could be beneficial to all members of our community.
Q: I always hear the term “ShoLo.” What does “ShoLo” mean, and why is that so important to businesses like Outpost Sports?
A: “ShoLo” is a “shop local” initiative that encourages consumers to take a percentage of their yearly expenditures and shop at locally owned businesses. This is so important to retailers like Outpost Sports.
Q: Why is it so important?
A: There are not many locally owned retailers left in our community. We started the local ShoLo initiative in 2007 with 100 members. Even if consumers buy 10 percent to 30 percent of their purchases locally, that adds millions of dollars back into our own community. Also, local retailers contribute local dollars back into local communities. It is a win-win for everyone.
Q: So, what other communities can we look at for best practices, and to see what is a good model?
A: We looked at Grand Rapids, Mich., as a very progressive model. They really help market, promote and develop local marketing campaigns, and support local programs with this initiative. Such as, all locally owned businesses have a ShoLo sticker in their window. Businesses have discount programs for locally owned purchases. The other creative model is Portland, Ore. They do so many creative shop local initiatives that have generated tens of millions of dollars in local spending revenues.
Q: What are the opportunities for our communities here in Michiana?
A: We have so much potential in our community. Our local retailers are so community-focused, relationship-driven, and so connected in our community, the partnerships that can be formed are endless. This initiative can also be used to help develop new entrepreneurship ventures. Local owners can help mentor and counsel new business startups and new business ventures. All of the profits, revenue and goodwill stays local … 100 percent is kept in the community. This is a very important fact that consumers need to understand.
Q: Do you ever slow down?
A: No way — I am having too much fun. This business should be fun, and I love the community.