Only in Louisville:
LIBA celebrates 10 years of keeping Louisville weird in 2015 and in honor of this milestone, we asked Ryan King, owner of Quest Outdoors, (one of LIBA's founding members) to answer a few questions about what it means to be weird.
Why did Quest become one of the founding members of LIBA?
Quest became a founding member because we believe that uniting all of Louisville's unique businesses brings strength to us and to our community. From dry cleaners to stores like ourselves, it gives us all a way to make our presence felt in an increasingly homogenized marketplace while celebrating our diversity all at the same time. My nightmare is a never ending line of strip malls filled with chain stores with no personality. The consumer's appreciate variety and the personal feel that only local businesses can offer.
How has the Buy Local campaign affected your business?
It has affected in a positive way. Too often people are too wrapped up in their own daily lives to think about grand constructs like keeping it local. Some do for sure, but others need a helpful reminder and that is what Buy Local does. It strategically reminds our audience to remember us. I personally would like to see more, and more nuanced initiatives like this. They have great value!
What’s your favorite “weird” thing about Louisville? About your business?
My favorite weird thing about Louisville is its regional identity crisis and how it influences our culture and the things we celebrate almost universally as a community. We are Southern to be sure, but we have really cherry picked the more endearing aspects of Southern culture and melded a more inclusive open minded, bohemian spirit as well. The Hybrid is a beautiful thing and it feels like home to me.
My favorite thing weird thing about my store is the fact that we are one of the biggest independent outdoor retailers in the entire nation yet we have very few of the destination geographic features that drive this business nationally. That means we have the best, most loyal customer base in the land.
Our customers are my favorite weird things and they are adventurous indeed. Their adventures in and out of the bluegrass never cease to amaze me. They travel the world but they always seem to come home to us. Now that we have our web business fully realized, It's amazing to see where some of our customers have ended up. They'll be home soon too I put good money on it.
Tell us about your ‘Louisville Grown’ logo.
Our Louisville Grown Logo was created by my lovely wife and partner-in-crime Michelle. Around 2:30 in the morning, we were trying to find a good logo to commemorate Quest's 30th anniversary. We were due to go to the printer the next day and we had tried about forty different things, all of which were just okay. But then Michelle threw an idea out their like a Hail Mary pass just as we were at our wits end.
She inverted the skyline, placed it in the root system and I said "Oh my God you have it!" It fully encapsulates our store. We are Louisvillians, our customers are Louisvillians and from this wonderful city sprung not just a store, but a beautiful community that continues to flourish and grow from one generation to another.
I love it! I think it might eventually become a bigger part of our business. I feel it is important to celebrate where we come from and who we are.