The Outdoor Gear Exchange (OGE), an outdoor retailer that has been a part of the Burlington community for over 15 years, announced today that this May it will move into the Church Street space currently occupied by Old Navy. By more than doubling the amount of retail space, this move will allow for expanded inventory and product selection, improved displays, more jobs and a better overall shopping experience. The move will also allow for increased back-office, warehousing, and gearx.com distribution space. ‘After many years, we’ve simply outgrown our current space on Cherry Street,’ said Marc Sherman, OGE co-owner and visionary. ‘Finding a big enough space in the heart of downtown Burlington was difficult but we were committed to staying in this community. When we heard Old Navy was moving out, we jumped on the opportunity to acquire the space. It feels good to move our locally owned store into a spot previously filled by a national retail chain.’ OGE’s current retail location on Cherry Street provides 10,000 square feet of space, 3,500 of which is used for offices and warehousing. During the last few years, the gear shop has also opened a seasonal annex on Church Street to have a presence on the high-traffic holiday shopping avenue. In its new location, OGE will have a total of over 44,000 square feet spread over two floors. Retail displays will initially occupy over 15,000 square feet of the first floor with room for additional retail space in the basement as the business grows. The rest of the space will be used for offices, a warehouse, and OGE’s national online retail business, GearX.com. The growth of GearX.com, which now accounts for 25 percent of OGE’s revenue, was a large factor in the quest for a bigger location. Online orders are often filled by pulling products off the retail floor, which is currently packed to capacity with racks full of gear. Anyone who has walked through the doors of OGE recently can attest to the lack of free space. Even the shop dogs, often seen lying in the storefront windows, seem to be jockeying for a place to rest. With the new space comes an expansive warehouse area for stocking inventory, which will keep the retail floor less cluttered.But moving to Church Street offers more than just elbowroom. ‘Our location on Cherry Street has served us well, but it has always been more of a destination spot,’ explained Sherman. ‘When the crowds are shopping on Church Street, they rarely turn the corner to see what’s on the side streets. In our new space, we will remain a destination for core athletes seeking the best values on equipment, but also expect to attract some of the walk-by traffic on Church Street.’ Along with new customers comes new gear. OGE plans to increase the selection of products for its core customers, as well as offer more gear for the everyday outdoor enthusiast. ‘Family camping, or car camping, is one area where we definitely plan to offer more selection,’ said co-owner Mike Donohue. ‘Plus, we’ll finally have room for things like open-tent displays and more paddling gear, from kayaks to stand-up paddleboards.’ Donohue added that customers can look forward to more kids clothing and gear, lifestyle clothing, travel equipment and better displays for products such as car roof racks. OGE owes much of its success to its beloved consignment department. For many Vermonters, this section of the store is their lifeline for obtaining high-quality outdoor gear at second-hand prices and for repurposing their old gear. This section too, according to Donohue, will be larger and better organized in the store’s new space. There will also be a bigger selection of closeout items and seconds for thrifty thrill seekers. ‘While we are excited to be able to feature additional high-end products for those looking for the latest and greatest gadgets and apparel technologies, we will also be focusing on additional value-oriented products to make sure we stay true to our mission of making the outdoor lifestyle attainable for all budgets,’ added Donohue.The news about OGE’s relocation comes just after another outdoor retailer in Burlington, Climb High, announced it was closing its doors. The Bank Street space vacated by Climb High was once the location of OGE before it moved to Cherry Street. According to Donohue, OGE will begin carrying some of the brands that were popular at Climb High, such as Mammut, so Vermont athletes can still purchase their favorite gear from a locally owned retailer. The expansion into a larger space will add five to ten full-time employees to a staff that already comprises 55 full-time salespeople and office workers. ‘More than half of our staff have been here for over five years,’ claimed Sherman. ‘We have generations of outdoor enthusiasts who clock in year after year because they enjoy their jobs, and most of all, they love sharing their passion for the outdoors with everyone who walks in the front door.’The move to Church Street this May happens to occur around the store’s 16th anniversary. ‘This move is very much about making a deeper commitment to the community,’ added Sherman. ‘From more jobs to more products, we are looking forward to better serving the Burlington area and becoming a permanent fixture of the Church Street Marketplace.’ As for the handmade signs that adorn the Cherry Street store and give it that uniquely Vermont feel, ‘They’re coming with us,’ he said.