This month, we talked to Stacey Gellert from the Adventure 360 Collective, a nonprofit association that connects outdoor industry sales reps and retailers.
1. Who is 360 Adventure Collective?
A member association that coordinates regional events for sales reps and retailers to conduct business. Our story started in 1979 as two separate non-profit associations: EORA (Eastern Outdoor Reps Association) and the more winter-oriented NESR (New England Sports Reps). Each was run for reps by reps with EORA covering the summer and NESR covering winter. In 2017, we merged to create 360 Adventure Collective and have grown to more than 550 sales rep members with 10 annual events servicing 2,600+ retailers on the east coast.
2. Why are you based in WNC?
The founders were a handful of sales reps that kept running into each other while on the road and thought there must be an easier way. The association had humble beginnings but soon required a full time staff member. One of the reps said his wife was looking for some extra work and that’s when Debbie Motz came into the picture and why the groups home office is in Asheville, NC. Debbie grew the association from a handful of shows and one employee to over 10 events and 4 full-time staff. Debbie retired in March of 2020 and that’s when I, Stacey Gellert, took the reins.
3. How did you get involved with OBA?
Founding member Alan Davis is a member of 360 Adventure Collective and I still remember him coming to the office and telling us about this meeting at a bar that he thought could really turn into something. When Alan has ideas, you always step aside and let him take lead. Debbie attended meetings in the early days and then Angie Robinson of Darby Comm invited me to join the board.
4. How have you collaborated with OBA?
360 AC’s goal is to connect reps, retailers and brands. We work mostly with small Mom & Pop Retail stores that thrive by being “specialty” so that means you can’t have the same product as the big box stores. That means we’re always on the search for new emerging brands. This is where OBA has been helpful. We’ve been able to share our story at networking functions and extend personal invitations to start-up’s to walk our trade show and get in-person feedback and make connections.