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Saving Slim Pickins: The First Black-Owned Gear Shop Is Here to Stay

These days, we need a happy ending. Read on to learn how the outdoor community rallied together to save our nation’s first Black-owned gear shop.

“Help save the nation’s first Black-owned gear shop!” The call to action has been running rampant on social media ever since The Outbound Collective published its film on Slim Pickins Outfitters, a Black-owned gear shop in Stephenville, Texas.

Owners Jahmicah and Heather Dawes founded Slim Pickins Outfitters in 2017. “We exist to diversify the outdoors,” Jahmicah put it simply. “Community focus is vital to what we do. And I think we’ve only grown because of the community that we’re trying to build here.”

Sadly, due to COVID-19, Slim Pickins’ dream of growing that community was suddenly in jeopardy.

Luckily, The Outbound Collective was there, making a film about the shop as part of its #EveryoneOutside​ initiative. And that call to action worked. The Outbound Collective raised over $95,000 on behalf of the business in under 2 days.

Slim Pickins Outfitters: Their Story

Like most small businesses, its revenue was down — way down. But Slim Pickins’ call for financial support was about more than just keeping their shop doors open.

It was about continuing to be a pillar and resource for the community, about promoting diversity in the outdoors. And it was about continuing to inspire others to live the Slim Pickins motto: “act justly, love kindly, serve humbly, and adventure out.”

Brands and outdoor organizations like HOKA ONE ONEWomen Who Hike, and dozens of others helped to share Slim Pickins Outfitters’ story. Even the team of editors at SNEWS published a post rallying its readers and others in the outdoor industry to donate.

An outpouring of support for the business owners ensued. “You maybe didn’t break the Internet,” Dawes joked on Instagram, “But, you did break our label maker.”

The shop is still about $33,700 away from reaching its GoFundMe goal. While not out of the woods yet — thanks to everyone who shared and donated — it looks like Slim Pickins is here to stay.

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Mary Murphy

Mary is the Managing Editor of GearJunkie and is based in GearJunkie's Denver, Colo. office. She has a degree in English and journalism, and has a background in both newspaper and magazine writing. Her outdoor interests span from running to sport climbing, from landscape photography to skiing to pack-paddleboarding. If she's not writing, you can most likely find her at the top of a fourteener, or in a local bakery.