Shop Name: Outdoor Gear Exchange
Owner’s Name: Employee owned! Marc Sherman, Mike Donohue, Brian Wade, Scott Hook, Scott Blubaugh, Jamie Brownell, Josh Stephen, Josh Worley, Zeke Farwell, Ethan Garceau, Nick Thayer, Forrest Lagace, Melissa McNell
Location: 37 Church Street in the heart of downtown Burlington, VT!
Established: 1995 (25th year coming up soon!)
Primary Brands: Yeti, Transition, Rocky Mountain, Evil, Pivot, Marin, Fuji
How’d you come to own a shop?
I was hired off of Church Street when Marc needed to attend the store’s first trade show, given the keys and told to order what was needed to fill the shelves.
What makes OGE unique?
First off, for a single location we are a large store. We have a big staff — 135 deep — and everyone here has a passion for some aspect of the outdoors, so there is an expert for every type of gear we sell; customers can get top-quality service while shopping our wide selection of product. We specialize in the latest a greatest tech as well as last year’s models at a good savings — we have a huge consignment section for the best deals around that also give good quality gear a second life. Lastly the service department is trained and tooled up to take care of our customer and demo bikes, everything from a basic tune to a complete overhaul including suspension service & diagnosing chronic problems & making it right!
Burlington is such an awesome town. What do you love about it?
I love the four seasons [which we get all of] as well as the easy access to all types of recreation. You can actually go for a decent ride, paddle, trail run or climb without leaving the city limits!
Can you describe the local scene?
Super dedicated – folks ride a lot, like 6 days a week, sometimes more and the vibe is inclusive and fun. People push themselves and strive to improve but there really isn’t any attitude.
What trail network or network does the shop call home?
There are plenty of great options, but Richmond is the clear winner.
Recommended loop? Any beta for a visitor?
The trails are finally up on Trailforks which is a much needed navigation aid as there is a lot of trail. The classic starter is up Mother’s Day and AC/DC to Skully’s, finishing on the downhill of AC/DC and back to the lot on the River Trail, but there are so many options!
A newbie walks in your store ready to invest in a bike. What’s your go-to?
We’ll always recommend demoing a few bikes if possible and discuss intended use to help the customer make the best possible choice. That being said, the Marin Hawk Hill 2 is a great bike for under $2000. If the customer has a bit more budget we’d likely be looking at a Transition or Rocky. The Sentinel and Instinct have been popular, people are really liking long travel 29ers.
What’s the ideal setup for the veteran riders in your scene?
There are so many great options for folks now and the manufacturers keep making the bikes better. I already mentioned long travel 29ers and in addition to the Sentinel, the Yeti SB150 has been great! But mid’travel trail bikes are also great, like the SB130 or SB140, Transition Scout, Pivot Trail 429. Each bike has a personality and we shoot to match the rider to the best bike for them and their style.
Anything else mountain bikers ought to know about OGE?
We don’t just sell mountain bikes. We have a bunch of gravel bikes and experience with bike packing, and are also a full service human-powered recreation store: we have gear for hiking, camping, climbing, paddling, skiing, and more! Our local customers come in a few times a week on their lunch break to check out what is new as things change that fast and we have customers from as far away as Connecticut, Colorado, and Alaska who plan to stop by at least once a year on their way through town & consider it an essential part of any Vermont visit!