October 9, 2014

How I Save on Spending: Sierra Trading Post Grand Opening

I wrote yesterday a bit about finances… they are a big topic on my mind lately! As I mentioned, it just seems like there is so much stuff I have to buy since moving to Colorado, even though I try to make the effort to be at least a little bit of a minimalist. (Okay, maybe not a minimalist, but at least not a hoarder! Ha.) I am spending like crazy! When it comes to outdoor gear, which is a lot of what I need, one of my go-to shopping sources has been Sierra Trading Post… so on Tuesday night, I was really excited to get to attend the sneak preview of the grand opening of one of their retail stores, in Fort Collins.

I had never been up to FoCo before, and it was a bit more of a trek than I expected! But the new store was worth the drive: it was beautiful, the people were incredibly friendly, and the prices were outstanding. For the grand opening, Sierra Trading Post was offering 30% off of everything in the store… but while that may sound crazy, they actually do a lot of no-holds-barred discounts like that, so you can get those kinds of great prices fairly often. If you’re in Colorado this weekend, they are offering 20% off storewide all weekend, and they are also offering a $25 gift card for every $100 spent, which stacks into a lot of savings. If you’re not in Colorado (or you’re more of an online shopper, like me) you can also check online for some great discounts – yesterday they had a one-day-only code on Facebook that offered 40% off everything on the site, which is pretty darn awesome.

The FoCo Sierra Trading Post store is a big-but-not-overwhelming 18,000 square feet, and reminds me in looks of the outdoor store that Tim Allen works at on The Last Man Standing. (Am I the only one who watches that? It’s like Home Improvement except they have all girls instead of all boys. It’s cute and mindlessly sitcom-y.) That is to say, it’s really clean and polished-looking, but also has tons of gorgeous outdoor displays that just make you want to dive in and buy everything so you can feel like a mountain girl.

Sierra Trading Post Canoe
I love this cute canoe displaying little last minute merchandise by the checkout!

The highlight of the store, though, is the awesome technology that they’ve put into it, which makes the shopping experience really easy and much more customer-friendly than a lot of stores. You know how Walmart/Target/etc have the option to shop online and then pick up your items in store? I really like that functionality because I sometimes find it easier to look at products on a screen and be able to filter/sort for different characteristics to know I’m getting the prettiest/cheapest/whatever item of that type, and that I didn’t miss one on a shelf somewhere. (FOMO!) Sierra Trading Post has that in-store pickup option as well, which I’ve used successfully, but they also have kiosks in store that let you browse the website there and limit your search to items that are currently in store. I love that I can just look at the fancy touch screen instead of having to run around browsing every single rack!

Sierra Trading Post Interactive Shopping Station
Plus, big screens are fun to play with šŸ™‚

They also have some technology that’s not aimed so much at selling you stuff as it is just building community and supporting their customers. Over by the tents, they had a huge screen that was set to display a map of Colorado, with pins on tons of major outdoor destinations. You could zoom in on a trail, check out the elevation profile, and even see a 360 view from peaks to know what you’d be getting yourself into. Awesome! I also really loved that one of the overhead aisle screens had user-submitted tweets and photos from Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, showing cool scenery to get you inspired. If you post anything on social media with the hashtag #TrailTime, it becomes eligible for inclusion here.

Sierra Trading Post Share Screen
I especially loved that my friend Lynn‘s picture was on the screen when I was at the store… made it feel like such a small tight-knit community!

Sierra Trading Post is really active on social media, and just generally does a really awesome job with their customer service via that channel – they are incredibly responsive to anything you post. I’ve also used the chat feature on their website to speak with someone quickly about an ordering question I had (dear websites that force me to call: please, please, please add chat agents like this – it’s so much easier for me to multitask!), but they also have customer service reps who are specifically trained on social media and who try to answer all the questions that come in that way. They have a really generous return policy, and it definitely come across that customer service is one of their top priorities.

Sierra Trading Post started as a catalog company, and I had actually shopped from their catalog quite a bit when I lived in New York City. The interactions were honestly great every time! Now that they have some local-to-me stores, I’m probably likely to be shopping them even more frequently, since I like being able to order online but then take returns back in person instead of having to pay for shipping. My apartment building is probably semi-annoyed with all the packages I get, since I do a lot more online shopping than regular shopping, but I love the convenience of being able to do that and then just take anything that doesn’t fit back to a regular store for an instant refund.

Back when I lived in NYC, I was using Sierra Trading Post more for fitness clothing than for outdoor gear – their prices on quality sports bras, in particular, are the best I have found anywhere on the web. For example, remember when I got to try out New Balance’s line of Psyche sports bras? I paid $42 for the Fabulous Framer there (which was well worth it, as it is still one of my favorite sports bras and I wear it a ton), but decided not to get the Unshockingly Shocking one that I also really liked, just because I didn’t want to drop $85 in one day on sports bras. Two weeks ago, though, I was able to get the Shockingly Unshocking sports bra at Sierra Trading Post… for just $19! Now that is my kind of pricing on fitness wear šŸ™‚ Pro tip: look for promo codes (that give you up to 40% off!) by following Sierra Trading Post on Facebook and Twitter.

And speaking of Twitter… on Thursday afternoons at 4pm Mountain Time (6pm ET/5pm CT/3pm PT), Sierra Trading Post hosts an awesome #TrailTime twitter chat, where they talk about everything from what gear to bring to the backcountry, to cross-training that helps you stay in shape for outdoor adventures, to how to find new trails and avoid disaster in unfamiliar territory (today’s chat, which is being led by Marissa!). I try to attend whenever I can, and I definitely want to try to join today. Hope to see you there!

Sierra Trading Post Trail Time
Doesn’t this beautiful photo just make you want to get outside? One of my favorite things about the chat is that it always ends with people posting pictures of their outdoor adventures… inspiring!

Note: I did not receive any compensation for this post, unless you count a free water bottle at the grand opening šŸ™‚ I am a regular Sierra Trading Post shopper and while this post was prompted by an invitation from STP to their grand opening, my main reason for posting is to make sure to share the good deals with all of you!

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