Neptune Mountaineering Sold


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Social climber
The internet
Jan 12, 2013 - 05:59pm PT
What about that huge discount list in Gary's shop manual?
Dude - Gary's bro-deal book - you were serious?

I've stated my point. Carry on.


Trad climber
Jan 12, 2013 - 06:09pm PT
Lol early leader for the 2013 Bag-O-Dicks Nomination.

Hey, how do I gen in on that?


Trad climber
The state of confusion
Jan 12, 2013 - 06:13pm PT

I've got an OLD pair of Ramer bindings too--the serial number on
mine is 0002.
I don't know why I keep them, I've never been much of a skier.
John M

Jan 12, 2013 - 07:37pm PT
Phil, thanks for the great stories. I really appreciated what you said about him running his store his way. Even if that meant losing customers. He had his ideals and that was that. I can understand that and I could understand how that might rub some folks the wrong way. I also really like that he treated his employees well. I had a boss who would take us waterskiing very early in the morning. That made a big difference in ones work experience.

Thanks for the great stories and the background. I enjoy seeing the pictures.


As for as the internet. I would advise not answering everyone. You likely wont change some folks minds. Even if you acknowledge their points.

Mountain climber
Nashville, TN
Jan 12, 2013 - 07:44pm PT
The new owner would be smart to take their time in making any changes. Observe what makes Neptune's Unique and what has put them on the map. Quick changes can result sometimes in unexpected disaster. There's more to running a business than what you can read on a spreadsheet or going over the books. Gary has built a classic shop and has a loyal customer base.

Trad climber
Golden, CO
Jan 12, 2013 - 07:44pm PT
End of an era, or maybe period, or is it erathem,...epoch? I say we cannonize Gary.
Bob D'A

Trad climber
Taos, NM
Jan 12, 2013 - 08:33pm PT
JLP is a weasel, a whining little Boulder brat.

How in f*#k can some little weasel who has done nothing for climbing come down hard on a community legend like Gary?

Fecking internet!!
Mighty Hiker

Vancouver, B.C.
Jan 12, 2013 - 08:35pm PT
What if Gary doesn't want to be a human cannonball?

Kennewick wa
Jan 15, 2013 - 07:44pm PT
Austin, Texas-based Backwoods acquired Boulder, Colo.-based Neptune Mountaineering on Dec. 31 for an undisclosed amount.
Neptune Founder Gary Neptune will remain on staff to help with the transition. Neptune recently chatted with SNEWS about the sale.

//Both family-owned companies originally opened in 1973.
What is the significance of the sale on the business?//

Weíll see. For me itís a step in the direction of eventually being retired. As you know from the release, Iím keeping the museum and Iím still working here doing a lot of the things ó especially during a transition period ó but surely they wonít need me anymore at some point. Iím looking forward to a lot of fun and a lot of work. Backwoods will be able to bring a lot of things to this store that we could never do as a single store. Theyíre going to be able to improve a lot of things we havenít been able to do very well.

What kinds of things will they be able to do that you couldn't?

For instance, they do Internet retailing. You can do that when you have multiple stores, but single shops almost canít do it. Itís really, really tough and drains a huge amount of energy and money ó a lot of stores have tried it and given up after they realized that. Thatís an obvious one. Exactly how they use our store versus what theyíve already got going? [You'd have to] talk to them about the future there. ... They will have the ability to do what buying groups do. They have nine stores now, and thatís a certain economy of scale.

What will happen with the current staff at Neptune Mountaineering?

They will remain on. Inevitably staff will change because thereís a lot of turnover with young people who are in school. Plus, some people are going to like the new roles theyíre being given and will be able to do a better job and get better training.

How long has this deal been in the works?

Two different answers: Some years ago Iíd promised my wife by the time I was 70 Iíd have sold the store or have it in the works or something, because weíve got to have a few good years together. I began telling anybody who wanted to know, "Sure, Iím always for sale," but I hadnít taken any structured steps in that direction.
Then we finally started getting more serious about it recently. As far as Backwoods goes, itís just a stroke of luck that we connected. They were beginning to look at expanding in the Rockies, and we were getting serious about selling the business in some fashion. This just ended up seeming like a really excellent fit.

What drew you to Backwoods?

They have a great reputation in the industry. Since we announced the sale, all kinds of people have talked to me and Iíve heard nothing but good about them. I think theyíre great people, they drive a good hard bargain because theyíre business people, but theyíre also very human. I like the fact that itís a family-owned business.
Another thing that can tie in well with this business is their adventure travel division. Thatís one of those many things that I thought about doing for years ó but, again, itís a whole other business and I didnít have the resources to do it.

How will the store change?

Staff will be able to do a better job because theyíll be given the tools that will help them. I think it will be a good thing for everybody ó consumers and everybody in the loop.

What are you most looking forward to about retirement?

Iím not even thinking that far ahead. Itís going to be a while. Like I said, I've still got the museum here and they want me to help out with the slide shows and the promotional things, possibly some training with other stores. There's a whole string of things like that that Iím still going to be doing. It will be a bit of an evolutionary process to see where I best fit in and where I donít want to interfere.

What kind of changes does this mean for your long-time customers?

I donít think it means a whole lot of change. Theyíll still be getting what they always came here to get. Theyíll see improvement, if anything. There will be more accurate stocking and goods and more sophisticated training of staff in terms of merchandising. Those are things Iíve wanted to do better and improve over the years, but never to the degree Iíd have liked to. These are all subtle changes that will happen slowly. Honestly, I donít think a lot of customers are going to realize it happened.

--Compiled by Ana Trujillo


State of Mine
Jan 15, 2013 - 08:19pm PT
Oh well. Spend money there in the future and you'll be supporting business in what may well be the most bigoted, mysogynistic, gun-happy, flat-out deplorable states in the union

Somehow in the bubble

Big Wall climber
Jan 16, 2013 - 04:30pm PT
I saw this thread a few days ago and thought it was just another rumor. I stopped by the store a couple of days ago and they were closed for inventory. I was really concerned at that point and stopped by again today and they were open and things looked the same but spoke with one of the employees about the buy out and it is very real. I hope the employees will stay the same and we do not end up with another REI. I looked at the Backwoods website and the gear is very REI. That would be sad to see that stuff in such a cool shop. It looks like another corporate take over that will cost the Boulder people again.

Jan 16, 2013 - 07:05pm PT
Thanks for all,it was a great place to work at for so long.Pam,I hope you are doing well. Sorry so many people did not know it like we did. Cant make em all happy. Look at Luke and scrubby having fun at snowbird. Those are the good times I remember. Do your best and try and make people happy is what we were told.Sorry for those of you who had a bad experience,that was not the our intention at all.
Keep at it if you can...


Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Jan 16, 2013 - 07:54pm PT
It's pretty apropo really. Backwoods is based in Austin. Austin has long been known as "Baja Boulder."

Boulder, CO
Jan 16, 2013 - 08:04pm PT

still riding them...

Jan 16, 2013 - 08:07pm PT
On Tua's?


Boulder, CO
Jan 16, 2013 - 08:19pm PT
Rossi Audace's
Captain...or Skully

Jan 16, 2013 - 09:32pm PT
Austin sucks.

Hey Tami, you've got to stop channeling Phil. It's freakin' me out.

Jan 20, 2013 - 04:10am PT
hey phil,
thanks for all the cool memories. Thanks to Pam, CG, as well. It was awesome working with you all- great crew in the late '90s- Clark, Scheibler, Sutton, Luke, Ro, Pierre, TC. Gary's positive influence on the climbing community far outweighs any blog negativity people can drum up. I remember him taking cash out of the register to fill the jar at slideshows that weren't so popular, and awesome christmas parties with the Neptune fam (and many other dinners and parties) for all of us who gave up proximity to our families to climb and ski. Not to mention 4 day work weeks, snowbird, bonuses for climbing (how cool is that?), testing skis, camping, travelling, 14ers... From what I witnessed employees were psyched to work there and generally psyched to help out customers (ie pam's comments earlier) Hope everyone is still psyched- cranking, shredding, and generally getting after it outdoors!


Trad climber
Is that light the end of the tunnel or a train?
Jan 20, 2013 - 02:32pm PT
Thanks for all the great reminiscing.
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