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November 2015

Taking the path less traveled makes all the difference

Valhalla Pure Outfitters is set up unlike any other outdoor retailers on the planet.

Each shop is locally owned. And each owner and staff organically respond to their local culture, and buy uniquely. Believe me- the cultural differences between towns in BC and AB are amazing. Revelstoke and Red Deer, Victoria and Medicine Hat- way different. Which is really, really cool.

All VPO shops are likewise similar but different. After 10 years of morphing into each individual market, brands and categories may differ but there is a familiarity to VPO store policies, how our staff are somehow both chill and really well informed, the vibe is small town, and specialized to outdoors. Even our big VPO shops know their core customers by name, conversations get picked up from the last visit. It should be fun, right?

Having owners in the shops, directing the traffic and responding day to day makes a huge difference. Most chains are pyramidal- layers of "command and control" rise to the top of the pyramid, just like the military. But at VPO, our decision makers and folks with primary responsibility aren't in a distant office- they're in your town, down the street. Our org chart looks more like a bike wheel than a pyramid- Head Office at the center provides IT and Online coordination, but each spoke connects the real decision makers in the stores. Or maybe a donut? Either way- but not "command and control".

Our shared IT is critical- it's the 21st century- innovating is key. Our home-baked (and amazing!) software is self designed for our weird organizational structure. Gift Cards, Adventure Bucks, product pricing, and Warranties are shared, but secured behind permission access. Online order fulfillment is a shared group effort between Head Office staff and each and every VPO store- sometimes parts of an order will be shipped to a customer from 4 different VPO shops. Because our IT is slick, our staff have time to write notes to put in boxes, and if you call in, you can chat up our staff.

Keeping track of 50,000 SKUs is tough- but comes with bragging rights. has the largest outdoor selection available in Canada. We match or beat the big guys every day, and our customers earn Adventure Bucks on every purchase, all the time- that's like icing on the cake.

Even though we're small, we're way more agile and way more customer- centric. We believe our systems and our philosophies are the way you would want us to do business - not just great product at great prices- but because we'll assist you make better choices in a chill relaxed manner. And we're your neighbours. And we're not putting the squeeze on to jack our stock options- we don't have any!

The Valhalla Pure org chart may be how NOT to do it in some circles, but we're proud of how well it seems to be keeping us focused on our customers and helping them out. And that makes all the difference.

David Harley

New Denver, BC