Moosejaw Brings More Outdoor Fun to Bentonville 

Moosejaw CEO Eoin Comerford shares why he’s excited about the outdoor retailer’s newest shop.

 

This month, Moosejaw is moving a bit closer to home – to the Walmart Home Office, that is. On Oct. 21, the outdoor retail company, which is owned by Walmart, is opening the doors of a new brick-and-mortar shop in downtown Bentonville, Arkansas.

 

“We’re really excited to be part of the Northwest Arkansas community,” says Eoin (pronounced “Owen”) Comerford, CEO of Moosejaw. “It’s a brand-new market for us. The big thing is mountain biking, but there are so many other activities in the area. The Ozarks are right there for hiking and climbing.” 

 

In 2017, Walmart acquired Moosejaw, which was founded in Madison Heights, Michigan, in 1992. Since the acquisition, Moosejaw has continued operating its site and stores as it did in the past, in addition to being run as a standalone and complementary brand to Walmart’s other eCommerce sites. Eoin, his executive team and Moosejaw’s 350-plus employees are based in Michigan and are part of the Walmart U.S. eCommerce retail organization.

 

“We’re a small company living within a much bigger company,” Eoin says. “Moosejaw is still Moosejaw, but better. Walmart has allowed us to invest in more people and stores, and it has enabled us to be a more sustainable company.”

 

Since joining Moosejaw in 2008, Eoin has helped cultivate a uniquely upbeat brand in an industry that is historically more serious. In its essence, the Moosejaw brand, also known as “Moosejaw Madness,” is pure fun – no snobbery, no suffering.

 

“In old-school outdoor marketing, you’ll often see a man – almost always a white man – battling against miserable outdoor elements, like snow and ice,” Eoin says. “Our marketing veers away from that man versus mountain theme. We’re the fun brand.”

 

For people new to sports such as mountain biking, rock climbing and skiing – activities that require technical equipment to do and experience to do well – visiting an outdoor retail store can be intimidating. At a Moosejaw store, however, customers of all ages, experience levels and backgrounds are made to feel comfortable.

 

“The outdoor industry is not nearly as diverse as it needs to be,” Eoin says. “Our focus is to get as many people outdoors as possible, especially women and people of color. And I think being friendly and welcoming is the best way to do that.”

At Moosejaw’s newest location in Bentonville, customers can expect “weird music,” Eoin notes, along with a wide variety of gear for a range of sports, including mountain biking, rock climbing, running, hiking, camping, skiing and snowboarding. The company carries more than 400 brands across its stores and online, such as The North Face, Marmot, Arc’teryx and more. On top of technical gear and equipment, the shop will also stock lifestyle apparel, like cozy flannels. And for those heading out of state for a ski trip this winter, the store will have a tune-up shop for skis and snowboards. 

 

Building the Bentonville store – which will be Moosejaw’s twelfth brick-and-mortar location and its first in Arkansas – has been a “different journey,” Eoin says. Whereas other Moosejaw stores have simply moved into former stores, the Bentonville building had to be completely remodeled. Revitalizing a downtown spot isn’t new for Moosejaw, however; the company has also opened stores in the downtowns of Detroit and Grand Rapids, Michigan. Like the other Moosejaw stores, Eoin envisions the Bentonville location eventually hosting community activities, such as group runs and rides.

 

“I want the store to be a place where people come to hang out,” Eoin says.

 

The new Moosejaw location in Bentonville will open its doors on Thursday, Oct. 21, and will have a grand opening event on Friday, Oct. 29.