We came up with the idea for The Local Hiker after many years of traveling to neighboring counties to purchase quality gear and clothing for hiking, backpacking and camping trips. We kept wondering why there wasn't a store in Spartanburg! During the summer of 2011 we drove around downtown looking at different locations and really started fostering the idea of opening such a store ourselves. We didn't have a name or anything else at that point, just the idea.
January 2012 we met with what is now our current lease holder, looked at his building and shared a little bit of our vision with him. We really started planning at this point, worked on a business plan, financing, creating relationships with vendors, etc. funding was a tough hurdle to overcome with the economy in the state it was in at the time. Then in December 2012 we saw an article in the paper for the Main Street Challenge. We thought it would be foolish to pass up an opportunity like that, so we entered. Over the next five months we went through the rigorous application process with the city of Spartanburg, went before a selection committee to present our concept in hopes of being one of the three finalists for the grand prize.
May 2013 was the reveal of the three winners at an event called The Main Event. We were the second business announced as one of the winners and could not of been happier! We signed the lease at the original location we'd hoped for back on that cold January day in 2012 and the next round of work and challenges began.
October 25, 2013 was our first day of business! There has been so much support from the city, other business owners and the citizens of Spartanburg county. We have been blessed beyond measure. We are looking forward to being your store of choice for all your hiking, backpacking and camping needs right here in Spartanburg.
To encourage, educate and equip individuals and families of all skill levels to get outdoors and experience the many resources available in the upstate of South Carolina.
The Local Hiker will commit itself to responsible environmental stewardship to ensure we can protect and preserve our outdoor resources for generations to come.
The Local Hiker will strive to enrich the community through our participation and support of events and educational outdoor programs.
Be the outdoor equipment supplier of choice!
Become the "family expert" for outdoor equipment!
Aaron is a recent graduate of Wofford College with a degree in History He has over 18 years’ experience hiking, camping and backpacking. He has gone through all the ranks of scouting, earning his Eagle Scout in fall 2011. He has hiked and camped throughout SC, Western NC, GA and VA, completing the entire Foothills Trail during Spring Break 2013. Aaron also enjoys section hiking the Appalachian Trail as his schedule allows.
Claire has had a love of the outdoors, travel, and the environment since she was kid. Originally from Kentucky, she grew up in Spartanburg, but has traveled all over the country and the world seeking advendtures! She was a Girl Scout from Daisy all the way to Ambassador and still volunteers when she has the opportunity. Claire is currently a student at USC Upstate as a Biology major. She enjoys traveling, hiking, backpacking, kayaking, and indoor rock climbing.
Coleman Hockett is the longest-standing employee of the shop. Coleman has lived all around the U.S., working in the outdoor retail industry for many of those years, and he has a plethora of stories to he loves to share. He is, without a doubt, the most knowledgeable outdoor employee in the shop and possibly in the Upstate area, (maybe even the world). We challenge you to come ask a question about our products or local hikes that Coleman does not have the answer to.
The Local Hiker
Sarah enjoys spending time outside, from day hiking, backpacking, camping and fishing. She has hiked throughout SC, Western NC and most recently backpacked over 700 miles on the Pacific Crest Trail. Sarah's love of the outdoors began as a combination of family outings and during her 9 years as a Girl Scout with the Mountains to Midlands Council. Sarah is always watching and waiting for another adventurous opportunity!
Dustin has loved being outside for as long as he can remember. He is currently in the Army National Guard. He loves hiking for the views, so the more elevation the better! Dustin has hiked and camped in numerous states with just about every weather condition imaginable. He also packs very light, so if you'd like advice on ultralight packing just let him know!
Whitt is currently a business student at USC Upstate. When not in school, he enjoys trail running at the local state parks and training jiu jitsu. Whitt enjoys packing light to move fast on the trail, but will also help customers find gear that will give them a little more comfort in camp. His outdoor gear expertise is in backpacks, shoes and (most importantly) food. If you have a question about these then Whitt is your guy!
I grew up in a small town in central NC. My family did more car camping than anything else. It wasn't until I was an adult that I started to venture into hiking and backpacking. I volunteered to be a Girl Scout leader when our daughter started as a Daisy scout at age 5. That led to lots of trips out and about in different places. During that time I also volunteered with our local Boy Scout troop. If asked what my favorite part of hiking is I think I'd have to say the peacefulness of my surroundings while I'm out on the trail. That is definitely followed very closely by the spectacular views I happen upon. Some I know about ahead of time, but the ones I'm not expecting make my day complete! I typically do more day hiking than long distance backpacking, but I enjoy both! Camping is also a favorite, however not so much cold weather camping. I'm a big cold weather wimp!
I have lived all over this country (East to West Coast) I can tell you that we have a gem right here in the upstate!! I have a background rooted in the outdoors. I have served over 19 years in The United States Army (both active duty and the SC Army National Guard). I have been involved with the Boy Scouts of America for over 14 years. Between the military, personal time outdoors and scouting, I have more nights than I can count sleeping under the stars and miles of hiking to boot! The military training has provided valuable survival, first aid and safety that only that environment can provide. All my other experiences have allowed me to put what was taught into practice. I love the outdoors and firmly believe in its preservation for those behind us!
I look forward to meeting you!