The outdoors should be more approachable to everyone, and planning an excursion should be about things to do, not things to buy.
Nicholas and Hannah Vedros said they instill these values at Sportsman’s Finest by working to create an atmosphere of kindness and education within the store.
The retail focus is on fly fishing, archery and fine firearms. Though Sportsman’s Finest began about 15 years ago, the Vedroses officially took the space over in 2018.
The acquisition of Sportsman’s Finest was the first step in a much bigger business venture—establishing Altrue, a company that plans to build what the Vedroses call an experiential outdoor complex. They are in the process of securing a location, most likely 25 minutes outside of Bee Cave on Hwy. 71.
The complex will include a climbing wall, archery center, indoor shooting range, zipline, brewery, bar with craft cocktails and a restaurant.
“What we didn’t know was a lot about retail,” Nicholas said. “So we felt we should get into a retail environment and learn the ins and outs.”
While establishing Altrue, the Vedroses plan to keep Sportsman’s Finest, spruce it up and lean into relationships with brand partners.
With an archery range in the back and casting pond in the front, the shop can exist as a separate space from Altrue while feeding the brand’s overall concept, Nicholas said.
Customers can now also sign up for experiences at the store.
The company’s trip options are diverse, and include excursions from hunting moose in Alaska to fishing in Argentina, Belize and Northern Patagonia. The demand for curated experiences led by knowledgeable guides is prominent, Nicholas said, adding three months after introducing the concept, Sportsman’s Finest brought in about $100,000 in sales from the trips. He said a lot of people, especially younger generations, who buy outdoor gear don’t always have a full knowledge base about those items and where to go to use them.
“We worked to build an outdoor brand that focuses on stories,” he said. “Followed by things to do, followed by things to buy.”