Recession, what recession? Going against the current economic currents, the Nantahala Outdoor Center is opening its new $4 million experiential retail environment in Gatlinburg, Tenn., on Easter weekend, April 2–4…
NOC’s Great Outpost intends to increase participation in the outdoors while providing a new attraction centered around Gatlinburg’s prime location at the gateway to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
NOC’s Great Outpost occupies an anchor position in Gatlinburg’s downtown strip, one of the most heavily visited destinations in the Southeast hosting an estimated 14 million visitors annually. Creating approximately 55 new jobs and sharing a border with the national park, the Great Outpost has applied for LEED certification from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), becoming the first of its kind in Gatlinburg and Sevier County.
“A downturn is a terrible thing to waste,” says NOC’s 31-year-old CEO Sutton Bacon. “This project exemplifies our company’s determination to adapt and innovate through the recession. We’re creating new product offerings and refining operational infrastructure to gain strategic advantage in our marketplace.”
Aiming to become Gatlinburg’s outdoor activity access point, NOC’s Great Outpost offers a diverse range of family-oriented activities in and around the national park like whitewater rafting, kayaking, guided fishing, hiking and nature tours. Additionally, this outdoor concierge service also provides assistance and information for visitors planning their own adventures in the park. Interactive features on the region’s rich natural history connect guests not only with their mountain surroundings, but also with outdoor volunteer clubs and conservation groups that protect the Smokies.
The Great Outpost also houses a 25-foot climbing wall, swinging rope bridge and a “bear den” play area for kids.
NOC estimates it contributes nearly $48 million to the economy of western North Carolina each year, making it the nation’s largest outfitter. It plans a grand opening celebration April 2, timed to coincide with the seasonal start-up of the company’s outdoor offerings. As early as the grand opening, guests will be able to raft the Smokies’ Class III-IV Pigeon River and embark on other adventures.
Quick Facts: Great Outpost
Floor Space: 18,000 square feet
Address: 1138 Parkway, Gatlinburg, TN (adjacent to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park entrance)
New Employees: 55
Grand Opening: April 2-4, 2010 (Easter weekend)
Operating Hours: 8am–10pm daily
NOC’s Great Outpost has applied for Silver LEED Certification status, which will be evaluated over a 1-year period. The measures taken to achieve LEED certification include:
–use of an existing building, repurposing of existing structural materials
–repurposing of materials salvaged from other area buildings
–locally-sourcing other materials, reducing transportation impact
–low-flow toilets and sinks that reduce water use by 30%
–water efficient, low-erosion landscaping
–use of low-VOC paints, sealants, coatings and floor systems
–maximized natural light, cutting electricity use
–premium parking for hybrid vehicles
–location along public transit line, now an official stop
–secure storage, changing rooms and showers for staff biking to work
–70% of equipment and appliances are Energy Star approved Online Resources NOC’s Great Outpost