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During the pandemic, outdoor recreation increased in Montana



Billings, Montana – From 2020 to 2021, Montana’s outdoor recreation industry saw an almost 30% growth.

People were spending more time outdoors, and this trend can be seen in the sales at outdoor sporting goods retailers like The Base Camp.

“Welcome to The Base Camp,” said the founder and owner of The Base Camp, Scott Brown.

In their separate areas, Brown’s two stores have long been a mainstay for outdoor enthusiasts.

“I opened my Helena store in 1975 and the Billings store in 1990,” Brown said.

He has witnessed a lot over the years, but he wasn’t prepared for the recent developments.

“It was interesting talking about COVID, and the effect COVID had on our sales,” said Brown.

During the peak of the epidemic, from 2020 to 2021, Montana observed a surge of 29.5% in the number of people engaging in outdoor leisure activities.

Brown has firsthand experience with the results of that.

“It actually increased our sales by double digits, by 20% in ‘21. In 2020, we were closed for about seven weeks, and yet our sales were similar to what we had in 2019,” Brown said.

He thinks that because Montanans were cooped up indoors for so long due to COVID-19, an interest in the outdoors was sparked.

“People were so cooped up and excited to get out and so our footwear has sold well and walking clothing,” said Brown.

The outdoors has always been a favorite pastime for Randy Robbins and his family, whether they are paddleboarding or trekking.

“We like to be outside, and we like to be active together. It’s been a very rewarding thing to do as a family,” Robbins said.

Although the pandemic derailed their outdoor plans, it also provided an opportunity for them to travel closer to home.

When national parks were closed, the family could spend more time outside thanks to their residence in Billings.

“We definitely got a better sense of the trail system in Billings which I’m a big supporter of,” said Robbins.

Brown is grateful that his company was able to assist others in discovering Montana’s natural beauty.

“We’re one of the lucky businesses that have really prospered during the post-COVID era,” Brown said.


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