Retail Trend: First Look Inside YETI Coolers Flagship

This month, YETI Coolers will open its first flagship store. We peeked inside the Austin, Texas, shrine to all things YETI.

YETI Store
YETI flagship store in Austin, Texas; all photos by Sean McCoy

Hammers clang as workers put finishing touches on a new retail space unlike any other. YETI is about to open its flagship store.

Outside, shoppers bustle on Congress Avenue. The area is alive with the energy of a crisp clear day.

A flagship store opening is a milestone for an outdoors company, inviting consumers into a space curated by the brand. In recent years, companies from Cotopaxi, Icebreaker, and Ibex, to Fjallraven and Arc’teryx have opened high-concept retail stores in cities around the U.S.

For YETI, its store reflects the company’s Texas roots, as well as its dedication to adventure. And barbecue. And beer.

YETI Flagship Store Opening

YETI Store

Today, on a tour with the company, GearJunkie was among the first to get inside. Most of the details are in place, and the new space is unique and inviting.

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At the top of the steps, an open-air bar beckons patrons to the porch. A Texas flag made from thousands of beer caps adorns the wall. A 1989 BJ74 Land Cruiser faces the bar.

YETI Store tour

Step through the doors. A 750-pound bear greets visitors from hind legs. Near the bear is a YETI Tundra cooler, scorched black and partially melted, a victim of brutal product testing.

Entering the space, it’s clear that this is a retail venue — every product YETI makes is available for sale here. Walk out the door with a new Tundra cooler, Rambler bottle, Flip, or accessories.

Event Space

But the core of the new store is meant to share community events. A large stage dominates the center of the space. Every nook and cranny holds artifacts from adventures past: a fishing lure, a pocket knife, an arrowhead, even a set of dominoes.

YETI flagship store opens in Austin

“YETI was born in Austin, and the flagship store is a nod to our local roots,” said Tony Kaplan, director of consumer experience at the company.

The space will host a range of musical acts, educational speakers, and community get-togethers.

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YETI spokespeople mentioned fly tying seminars and SXSW events as a few examples.

YETI flagship store tour

The company will also premiere films produced by its in-house media department at the store.

If you’re in Austin, the shop is worth a visit if for no other reason than to browse the vast collection of memorabilia.

Shoppers can also customize coolers and other products, something the brand offers nowhere else.

YETI Store Austin, Texas

The YETI store will open to the public in a grand opening on Feb. 23. It will be open daily, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m, or later during events.

Watch for a schedule of events coming soon to YETI’s Facebook page.

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By

Managing Editor Sean McCoy is a life-long outdoorsman who grew up hunting and fishing central Wisconsin forests and lakes. He joined GearJunkie after a 10-year stint as a newspaperman in the Caribbean, where he learned sailing and wooden-boat repair. Based in Denver, McCoy is an avid trail runner, camper, hunter, angler, mountain biker, skier, and beer tester.

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