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Local Outdoor Companies Team Up The Outdoor Gear Builders of Western North Carolina created as local companies ally to support and build the outdoor industry. CAITLIN BYRD, Sep. 11, 2013 – As the beer industry boomed in Western North Carolina, business owners from another sector began to think, “If beer can do it, why not gear?” “This area is such an outdoor mecca for individuals who love to go mountain biking and climbing and paddling and hiking. Everyone here is into the outdoors, so why can’t the manufacturers be into the area as well?” asks Eagle Nest Outfitters Marking Director Natalie DeRatt. “There are already a great number of manufacturers right here in our backyard. Hopefully by forming some kind of organized group, we can sort of band together.” Citing the Asheville Brewers Alliance as a model, DeRatt says Eagle Nest Outfitters and SylvanSport, which manufactures outdoor hammocks and small pop-up campers, respectively, then looked to develop partnerships with other like-minded companies in the region this summer. Initially, the two companies worked with fellow outdoor businesses to create a demo day for their gear along the French Broad. However, when faced with the reality of event planning from permitting to porta-potties, the informal group looked for another opportunity. In...

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