Texas has the highest number of licensed hunters in the U.S. and premium outdoor gear brands are responding by opening stores in Dallas.
Bozeman, Mont.-based Sitka, a premier brand of outdoor gear and apparel owned by Gore-Tex, has picked Dallas to open its second store. The 3,026-square-foot store is open just south of Knox Street on McKinney Avenue.
Dixon, Calif.-based Kuiu (pronounced koo-you), another premier outdoor brand, is also opening only its second store in the U.S. north of Galleria Dallas next month.
The premier brands are opening as the state’s staggered hunting seasons begin in September and October and continue through the rest of the year.
“Our consumers are there,” said Sitka spokesman Justin Brouillard.
Texas has the most hunting license holders this year of any state with 1.17 million. Pennsylvania is No. 2 with 953,903, according to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.
The Knox-Henderson area “aligns perfectly with our brand and the Yeti store nearby certainly helps bring like-minded consumers to the area,” he said.
Online sales tell retailers where they have big concentrations. But to grow sales, direct retailers often turn to physical stores.
Stores provide “a hands-on opportunity to completely understand the difference our gear can make,” said Alley Ray, Sitka’s retail experience manager.
Texas has for years been a destination as major outdoor hunting and fishing chains expanded into new markets. Orvis, which sells the Sitka brand, has several stores in the state. There’s also Cabela’s in Allen and Fort Worth and Bass Pro Shops in Grapevine and Garland. Bass Pro Shops has a store under construction in Grand Prairie that’s expected to open in 2024.
Sitka Dallas is already open and is planning a grand opening on Sept. 30 with Dallas Cowboys linebacker Leighton Vander Esch making an appearance from 4 to 5 p.m.
Sitka was founded by the late Kuiu founder Jason Hairston. He sold the brand in 2009 — before creating Kuiu — to W.L. Gore & Associates, the advanced materials company known for Gore-Tex fabrics and other protective materials.