How Switchback is the Greenest Gear Shop in Town


Switchback isn't just about selling used gear because of the discounts. Somewhere on Patagonia's website, there's a statement suggesting the greenest product is one that already exists. We completely agree. Switchback has also made other commitments to be a green business in Grand Rapids. Consequently if you want to be sustainability-minded shopping with Switchback is a great option. Here are five ways Switchback is the greenest gear shop in town:

1. Buying or repairing "not-used-enough" gear reduces demand for new manufacturing, resource use, and transportation.

One of the basic principles of Switchback is keeping great product in the field. If a jacket, backpack, or tent is damaged, we want to repair it, give it a new shine, and put it back into the field for use. Ultimately this reduces dependence on new manufacturing which largely occurs over seas (requiring significant carbon use for production and transportation back to us in the states). Buying used gear is the greenest way to be an outdoor recreation product consumer.

2. Switchback uses high efficiency LED lighting and is committed to using wind-based energy.

We committed to the highest efficiency lightbulbs on the market for our shop. We believe that reducing our carbon footprint is important for preserving our natural resources. If we don't protect our natural spaces and places where we enjoy outdoor recreation, we will eventually lose the things that give us the greatest joy.

3. Switchback's new storefront is filled with used or refurbished display fixtures.

Let's not beat around the bush. Retail store fixtures are absurdly expensive, heavy, and a pain in the butt if you are starting a new shop. For this reason, we decided to re-use store fixtures from a local shop that was closing. Coincidentally they are from Meijer originally, so that's awesome. In addition we completely overhauled our retail space including refinishing our wood floors and tin ceilings (despite the imperfections). There's nothing wrong with showing some signs of wear, especially if it does the job.

4. Switchback reuses product tags and uses digital receipts and invoices by default.

We have product tags in our shop that have been used about 20 times. We know this because we stack new stickers on each tag when we reuse it. It's fun to see all the products each tag has sold over the years, kinda like rings in a tree or layers of rock in a mountain. Our tags have history! In addition we e-mail our receipts to customers instead of printing them. If you really need a printed receipt, we make it happen, but we prefer not to create that type of waste.

5. Switchback donates money and time to support environmental stewardship.

Rachel and I believe in giving back to our community. We donate funds for outdoor recreation trail maintenance, land stewardship, and education programs. We need to invest in our natural resources' future otherwise they may not be there when we we really need them.

So start being green and shop with Switchback. We promise you won't regret it!


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