By Rob Bradfield
Waco’s newest downtown retail option gives students and residents an easy way to enjoy the outdoors.
Outdoor Waco, owned by Ryan Gibson and Mark Owen, opened its doors Monday, with a grand opening scheduled for Saturday.
The combination camping store, bike shop, sports equipment shop, coffee shop and equipment rental store is located on the corner of Franklin Avenue and University Parks Drive, between Baylor, downtown, the Brazos River and Cameron Park.
The store’s grand opening on Saturday will feature discounted equipment rentals, appearances by brand representatives and a chance to win either a bicycle or a $500 shopping spree.
The store has distributed fliers offering customers discounted drink prices at the grand opening, and are offering a free Outdoor Waco T-shirt with every purchase over $20.
Outdoor Waco was originally intended to be a conveniently located bicycle and bicycle repair shop, but soon became a unique entity designed to help Wacoans and Baylor students get outside.
“Waco has two unique features [Cameron Park and the Brazos River],” said Trinity Robb, Outdoor Waco’s general manager. “We’ve seen those as being underutilized.”
Outdoor Waco is the first local shop to combine a specialty camping/outdoor store and a specialty bicycle shop. It’s also the first store to offer paddle board rentals, bicycle rentals and bubble tea.
Robb said the store is trying to fill the gap left by other area stores by providing a variety of outdoor services and a knowledgeable staff.
“We looked to fill the gaps, and we tried to make sure our hires had some knowledge in those areas,” Robb said.
Robb said the staff is expanding their knowledge as they work at Outdoor Waco. The store is partnering with specific brands to make sure they can give customers the most up-to-date product information.
The store will eventually expand to include more footwear, climbing gear and more bicycle options. For now the store’s focus is on the rentals, camping equipment and bicycles.
Kyle Hoff, Outdoor Waco’s bike manager, runs the repair shop and bicycle shop. Hoff has seven years of experience repairing bicycles and the shop at Outdoor Waco offers a full spectrum of service.
“We offer tune-ups, tire replacement and specialty repairs,” Hoff said.
In the future, Hoff says the shop might offer basic repair and maintenance clinics for students and residents.
Outdoor Waco is open Monday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sundays from noon until 6 p.m.
Store information and rental rates for kayaks, bicycles, paddle boards and tandem bicycles are available at the store’s website, www.outdoorwaco.com.