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March 12, 2005


Popular Outdoor Outfitters, a Valley fixture for more than half a century, shuttered their remaining Phoenix area stores last month. After earlier promising no more store closures would be necessary.

According to their web site, the Flagstaff, Prescott, and the three Tucson stores are still open, but I haven't actually verified this. Their site also made me laugh: $50 gift certificates to Popular are the current Power Buy promotion. How stupid would I have to be to buy a gift certificate from a company that's obviously in such bad shape they can't even stick to their plans?

It's a damn shame. Popular was a far, far better place to shop than REI. At least in my experience, the staff were friendly and more knowledgeable, the prices were more competitive, and it was a hell of a lot easier to get information about current conditions in the state.

REI's got the "look how adventurous I am, Muffy!" yuppie thing going, while Popular was the place people not afraid to get dirt on their boots shopped.

If you're in the East Valley, REI's now basically the only option. Sportsman's Warehouse is in Phoenix and Goodyear (both of which are too damn far to buy a tent), and that's the end of that market segment unless you want to buy army surplus goods.

Little did I know when I bought my REI membership that it would turn out to be nearly a necessity.

Posted by Colin at March 12, 2005 9:53 AM

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