GOLD BAR — Long before Rerouted set up shop in Gold Bar, owner Chap Grubb’s garage in his rural New Mexico home was filled to the brim with used outdoor gear.
Lanterns, tents, clothes, you name it and Grubb probably has something for you. There’s climbing gear, ski gear — just about anything someone would need for exploring the Cascades.
Rerouted’s gear catalog also includes brand names like REI, Coleman, The North Face, Keen and many others.
“With the store I try to focus on high quality, brand-name stuff,” Chap Grubb said. “And pretty much everything in the shop is 40 to 60 percent of retail.”
In 2019, his wife, Sam Grubb, asked him to “get all this crap out of the garage,” he recounted last week. He collected outdoor equipment over the years, but his stockpile reached critical mass.
Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist were out because he had hundreds of pieces of gear. Selling stuff off one by one would be a tall task.
“I (was) going to spend months meeting random people all over the place and maybe end up with $500,” Chap Grubb said.
So he did the sensible thing: He hopped in his truck to buy and sell gear across the West for the next six months, hitting 15 events in 10 states.
This was hardly the first time Chap Grubb has done something like this. When he was 19, he began learning to climb, and eventually bought a 1981 Vanagon dubbed “Grandma Chug” to live in. He was living on $5 per day, he wrote in his website’s biography, and learned how to save money.
“I know what it means to work hard to buy more gear to play outside,” Chap Grubb wrote. “I searched diligently for years before finding my prized broken-in T.C. Pros at half price. I want good gear and at a reasonable price. Period.”
When he set off on his tour in 2019, he went to skiing events, biking events and other places that draw outdoorsy people together. He found some success. His inventory grew. But he ran into a major problem by spring 2020 with the onset of COVID.
“What happened next was everything shut down and instead of sitting on 200 pieces of gear, it’s 1,000 pieces of gear,” Chap Grubb said. “What am I going to do with this now?”
The solution was starting a website where anyone could buy and sell used outdoor gear. Recently, the Grubb family moved from New Mexico to a property in Gold Bar they discovered while visiting Chap Grubb’s mom in Index.
It was a two-story home on mile marker 27 with a storefront at ground level, facing U.S. 2.
It’s a good location: Index is a climber’s paradise and the area is seeing an influx of younger people, Chap Grubb said. There’s also skiing at Stevens Pass as well as hiking and backpacking throughout the Skykomish Valley.
“Everything just worked out,” Chap Grubb said. “My wife and I’s favorite number, even before we met, was 27. … This place was exactly where we needed to be, and my mom’s thrilled she gets to hang out with her grandson all the time.”
Lodie Grubb, Chap’s mom, is indeed thrilled to have her family close. She’s also helping out at the store. She had a bunch of her son’s stuff in the house prior to the store opening.
One pair of REI men’s hiking pants was $20. Thrift store prices, with the added benefit of keeping the gear out of a landfill is one of Chap Grubb’s main goals.
While the storefront in Gold Bar helps clean out garages, the heart of the business is its website marketplace. Anyone can sell their used gear there. About 2,500 items are listed for sale on the rerouted.co website, Lodie Grubb said.
Listing products is user-friendly. Rerouted can help sellers determine the price of their goods.
Once an item is sold, sellers receive a mailing label so they can send the piece of gear directly to the buyer. Buyers and sellers do not interact with each other. Rerouted gets a 15% cut of online orders. Customers can also sell in-shop consignment or directly to Rerouted. In-shop consignment is 60% to the seller and 40% to the company.
If a product is not what someone ordered or doesn’t fit, Rerouted will refund the full price, as long as the buyer sends the gear back.
“We really reduce the pain that you face, even on some of the higher-quality marketplaces now,” Chap Grubb said. “We just try and do everything we can to reduce effort and energy on behalf of both our buyers and sellers.”