A few years ago, Gayle Robinson was faced with three difficult choices.
After running Robinson’s Outdoor Store for the past 12 years, Robinson could sell the businesses that has been in her family for generations, she could close it, or hand over the reigns to her daughter, Erin Boggs in partnership with long-time employee Matt King.
But selling the business could potentially mean the new owner would close it. She chose the later and the trio recently signed succession papers for the business at 1307 Broad St. in downtown Victoria. Boggs will be the fourth generation of Robinsons to take over the business.
“This has been such a personal ride for me. It’s not just the business, it’s everything it means for family, for personal growth, just in the business world and the people I’ve met, the customers we’ve gotten to know, the adventures I’ve taken, the travel it’s provided … It’s been the mostamazingride of my life,” said Robinson, 61, who has had the opportunity to travel to places such as Nepal, Peru and the Galapagos Islands.
It was Robinson’s great-grandfather George who founded the bicycle sales/repair shop-turned hiking, adventure travel and flyfishing store in the 1929. While many of Robinson’s relatives worked at the store at one point in their life, it was not something Robinson wanted for herself at first.
She wanted to travel the world, but after eight years of living away, she realized Victoria was home, and in 2005, she purchased the business from her father. She admits the store almost shut down when she first took over, but now Robinson is excited to show Boggs and Kings the ropes.
Knowing she won’t be at the helm has been a difficult thing for Robinson to wrap her head around.
“I realized I wasn’t the future and it took a while to get my head around that,” said Robinson, “You can’t be everything to everyone, so decide who you’re going to be and what you’re going to do and do it really well.”
It’s an experience Boggs and King are excited to embark upon as well. While Boggs had worked in the store throughout her teenage years, she first realized she wanted to take over the family business while on an 18-day trek in Nepal. She was fully immersed in the culture of the area when she realized traveling was a job she wanted to share with everyone. It’s a decision Boggs feels she chose, rather than being forced into.
“The coolest thing about customers walking in is they’re so excited to talk to someone who has been there and I get to talk about my trip,” Boggs said.
As for King, he grew up with the store, starting as a stock boy, before slowing moving his way up the ranks. Robinson will mentor Boggs and King and slowly transfer knowledge and leadership of the store over the next five years.