5 Questions with Walkabout Outfitter

With our mountains, trails, waterways, and climbing spots, it’s easy to see that this is the place for outdoor enthusiasts. But what we sometimes overlook are the outdoor businesses that contribute to the culture that residents know and love. Today, we want to focus on one of the outdoor staples in our community, Walkabout Outfitter! With six locations (two of which are in the Roanoke Region), they help us get ready for our outdoor adventures while also giving back to the community through various sponsorships and events. Read on to learn a little more about one of the best outdoor outfitters there is.

1). Everyone loves a good origin story. Can you give us the history of Walkabout Outfitter?
It all started when our owners first met and fell in love over a coffee maker! Kirk had recently quit his day job to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail. He was visiting his mother in Lexington, VA, and went into Ladles & Linens (owned by Tina) looking for a coffee maker. It was love at first sight. They started talking and soon afterward went on a hike, and the rest is history. Together they opened their first Walkabout in Lexington, VA, in 2005 and to this day remain the owners and have kept that “mom & pop,” family environment!

2). Part of what we love about small businesses is what sets them apart from big box stores. Can you tell us what makes Walkabout so unique?
Our mission is to encourage happiness. We try to embrace that every day and we train our team to do the same. We treat every customer as if they are a guest in our home and truly focus on the experience they receive in our stores rather than making a sale. Our staff are local experts to answer questions, provide advice, and even point people toward a great hiking trail.

3). You all have a rather unique logo. Can you give us a rundown of what it means?
Our logo represents a person who has summited their own personal mountain, journey, or adventure. When learning an outdoor skill, it isn’t about being better than someone else; it’s about your own development and growth–these kinds of adventures are unique to each individual. The horizontal arms represent that, in their personal journey, they have done their very best rather than arms up above their hand, which would represent they are the best overall.

4). This might be a weird question, but are you all Australian? You didn’t mention it in your origin story, but the term “walkabout” tends to be part of the Australian vernacular.
Great question! We get it all of the time, but, in fact, we are not Australian; however, we do encourage walkabouts, also known as a long walking journey.

5). We know that small businesses are the backbone of our local economy. As a small biz yourself, why would you tell people to shop small?
We could go on and on about the benefits of shopping local, but here are the most compelling points in our opinion:

        • For every $100 dollars spent in a local business, $68 is returned to the community in payroll, taxes, other local businesses, etc.
        • Small businesses keep shopping experiences and communities unique.
        • Small, local businesses are the largest employer in the nation.
        • Small businesses donate two-and-a-half times more per employee to local causes than large businesses. Walkabout donates to local events and fundraisers.

Thanks to Walkabout Outfitter for taking the time to talk with us about their business. We’re lucky to have local shops such as them that give back to the community and support the outdoor infrastructure we’ve worked so hard to build. Want to pay ol’ Mama Nature a visit? Visit RoanokeOutside.com to plan your own adventure. If you need gear, don’t forget to check out Walkabout Outfitter or any of our other local outdoor shops to help make your adventure fun, safe, and enjoyable.