Sunday April 23, 2017
3 Rivers Outdoor Company and Gear Fest is the vision of friends Chris Kaminski and Christine Iksic, two Pittsburghers' with a passion for adventure and the outdoors. Just a few years ago while on a mt. bike ride at Hartwood Acres we were sharing stories of our someday dreams about running our own businesses. The discussion ended up on used gear and the growing outdoor community. That small talk on the trail quickly took root for us as something possible now and greatly needed by the Pittsburgh Outdoor Community. The trail ahead for us is still rocky with many challenges to overcome as it is for all new businesses. Gear Fest is our way of testing the waters for 3ROC as a pop-up consignment market for used outdoor gear. Our next step is to open a local independent outdoor retailer providing the Pittsburgh Outdoor Community with a hub to find both quality used outdoor gear and specialty new equipment and clothing for hiking, camping, climbing, mt. biking, trail running, backpacking, kayaking, canoeing, and most anything human propelled outdoors.
Chris and Christine share a similar story with many Pittsburghers', "The Boomerang Story." A Pittsburgher born and raised grows up and leaves the Steel City to find greener pastures and grand adventures then somewhere in their later years they accidentally end up back in Pittsburgh, often times not so willingly, and then by surprise a few years later it dawns on them, how happy they are to be back in the Burgh and what a great town they come from. Might sound familiar to many of you. Chris went west to Colorado for school and to pursue his passions for climbing, biking, snow, and mountaineering. Christine went overseas to New Zealand and around the globe to pursue a career in aerial mapping and found her love of water, backpacking, and adventure travel. Neither thought that Pittsburgh was the place where they would come back to put down roots, discover adventure, and find their people but life had other intentions. Christine came back in 2009 and started to pursue whitewater kayaking leading her to realize what a mecca the region was for paddlesports. She never knew before how many special places lay around the bend in the river. Chris has come back and continues to find adventures even in ice climbing in unusual places like, Fall Run, just off Rt. 8 near Etna, and he is discovering new challenges and outdoor pursuits as he trains for his first ultra this spring with the 70 mile Laurel Highlands Ultra. Chris and Christine want to change the story about Pittsburgh and outdoor adventure and they want to share their passion for the outdoors with other Pittsburghers whether they be seasoned explorers new to the area, or a longtime local looking to find new challenges in their backyard.
Our mission is to CONNECT the Pittsburgh Outdoor Community, PROMOTE the use of Western Pa's natural resources for Outdoor Adventure, and ADVOCATE for sustainable practices.
We believe Gear Fest and the soon to come 3 Rivers Outdoor Co. storefront is much more than a business or market, both are venues for connecting Pittsburgh climbers, hikers, bikers, runners, campers, paddlers, and outdoor adventure lovers. Taking the leap to try something new is often difficult on your own, it's easier when you have friends or neighbors who can show you the ropes, give you the support and motivation to challenge yourself, or that little bit of advice that will help you master a new technique. In outdoor sports this community is often a critical piece of having fun through shared experiences, being safe, and finding success. Ever walk through a small mountain town and gotten that wow feeling that I'm surrounded by my people. Pittsburgh isn't exactly known as an outdoor destination and finding those people can sometimes be harder in this town. Unless you are already know someone how do you learn to whitewater kayak, or try out mt. biking. Those that mt. bike tend to know other mt bikers and those that climb other climbers as events are usually sport specific. But no matter what your outdoor passion we all love Pittsburgh and our trails, rivers, and forests. Gear Fest is a one day event to bring us all together under one roof, to share similar stories of adventure and our love for our local outdoors. 3 Rivers Outdoor Co. plans to keep building that community when we open with in-store events, weekly outings, film-fests and more. We have lots of big ideas and we can't wait to be a hub for the Pittsburgh Outdoor Community.
Did you know it is possible go ice climbing 10 minutes outside of Pittsburgh (when the weather is cold enough), or that there is a State Park in the middle of the Allegheny River 15 minutes from the city where you can camp? Did you know there is 257 acres of green space on Mt. Washington with 10 miles of trail or that you can bike from Pittsburgh International Airport to D.C. on 335 miles of non-motorized trail? Did you know some of the best most challenging whitewater in the world is only 2 hours from Pittsburgh? There is a lot of stuff to do outside in Pittsburgh and you don't have to go far. At Gear Fest and 3 Rivers Outdoor Co. we want to get the word out about all these awesome places to go hike, bike, climb, and paddle. Growing up in Pittsburgh with a not so outdoorsy family Christine never knew anyone of these places existed. There are so many organizations out there helping to preserve these places, maintain and create trail, or keeping our waterways clean. We have invited many of these organizations to Gear Fest to share with you their missions so you can find new places to create new stories of adventure. We believe that getting outside makes us healthier happier people and we want to share that with everyone and we want to support other organizations that help others get outside that is why we are donating 1% of all the used gear sales to local non-profit First Waves. First Waves provides experiences in conservation, river surfing, standup paddleboarding, and filmmaking for under-served youth. At 3 Rivers Outdoor Co. we plan to continue that story of promoting our local outdoor organizations by creating a donation fund that supports only local outdoor non-profits. When you bring in gear for consignment you will be able to choose to donate a portion of your consignment earnings to that fund. 3 Rivers Outdoor Co. will also do monthly sales contributions to the fund. Lets get the word out about all the great places to explore in Western Pa and help our friends and neighbors get outside too!
We live in a world of limited natural resources and most are aware of the importance of recycling. The same applies not only to glass or plastic but also to the outdoor equipment we purchase. Outdoor equipment is often expensive, but as we progress in an activity there is usually a need to upgrade to more technical equipment. That gear may still have plenty of useful life left and by putting it back into circulation through resale we are minimizing the need to utilize new resources to manufacture new goods. Furthermore, resale of quality used goods helps make what often can be very expensive hobbies more accessible to all by providing lower cost options for equipment for those just getting started in a new outdoor activity.
If we our passionate about outdoor adventure it means our hobbies and fun are fueled by access to wilderness, clean rivers, parks, and forests. In order to ensure we and future generations have the same access if not better access to these outside playgrounds we must become conscientious consumers. If the equipment or clothing we purchase is polluting rivers around the world then we aren't doing a part. We must put our dollars where our hearts are, in the outdoors, by protecting them and choosing brands that do their best to also do the same. At 3 Rivers Outdoor Co. our goal is to provide access to brands that are also advocating for our natural spaces, clean air, and water. This might be achieved in different ways by different brands. It may be by carrying brands that are working to only use organic cotton in their products in order to limit the pollution that reaches our rivers, or it may mean carrying more local brands which limits the amount of energy required to ship and move products from manufacturer through to consumer, or it may mean carrying brands that are doing good through giving back to social causes around the world. Our goal at 3 Rivers Outdoor Co. is to bring access to all these types of brands and their quality specialty outdoor products to the Pittsburgh Outdoor Community and also making outdoor adventure more accessible to all.
We are working hard to make this dream come true and hope that you will be there to support us along the way so we can better serve you and the Pittsburgh Outdoor Community. Help us change the story of Pittsburgh from an dying mid-west industrial town to not only a resurgence city of techies and foodies but also an outdoor town. Chris and Christine believe you don't have to leave Pittsburgh to find real adventure, there is plenty of it right here in our own backyard, we want to connect those already creating their own adventures, and help those searching for new adventure create stories to last a lifetime.
3 Rivers Outdoor Co. Founders - Christine Iksic & Chris Kaminski