Small-scale shop tailored toward active city-podcast
by Andrew Alonzo | firstname.lastname@example.org
For the last 12 years, including their time at the Harvard building adjacent to Bardot, residents have gotten to know Donna Daniel and her daughter Katie. The duo manage and operate both of the similarly named businesses, The Grove Clothing and The Grove Home. Almost every day since September 2009, the ladies have been spotted behind the counter, on the sales floor, or running between their two Grove shops on Indian Hill Boulevard.
But back in April 2021 the mother and daughter partnership decided to add a third shop to their business portfolio, jumping at the opportunity to transform a once vacant space Donna owned into their latest venture, The Outdoor Store.
Before the space located at Unit C1-106 of 101 N. Indian Hill Boulevard became a cozy outdoor shop, Donna said it used to serve as The Grove Home’s original location. She remembers initially they just had “clothing, a little bit of gifts and tchotchkes” in the quaint space during the four years the home décor store was at that unit.
“Initially we had that space [Unit C1-106] and we moved [The Grove Home] … when Heirloom, who had been [at Unit 102] about nine years, decided to go out. We moved the home store to their space and I was left with a lease in that space [currently The Outdoor Store],” Donna said.
Thinking about what to make of the space initially, Donna explained both her and Katie ‘toyed’ around with various ideas before landing on their outdoor business plan. Donna said she and Katie identified some business shortcomings in the community, one being that “gender neutral stores are a little underserved in Claremont.” Donna said that already there were lots of women’s clothing and gift shop stores in Claremont and, with one already herself, she did not to put another into the mix.
“We also wanted something that would directly serve the colleges and the tourists that come to visit those colleges, looking for something that says Claremont or says California,” Donna added. “Personally, I’ve always really been into the national parks, so I felt like featuring the national parks that we have here in or adjacent to California might be kind of fun for the tourists.”
The duo eventually created a store literally named The Outdoor Store which supplies patrons not only with said California gear, but also an array of outdoor equipment including Hydro Flasks, outdoor cooking manuals, locally sourced candles and soaps, state and city inscribed sweaters and also outdoor backpacks. It takes about 25 steps around the shop to view their whole inventory, including their center piece of Claremont-themed merchandise and what lines their shelves. But despite the store’s merely 400-square feet of space, the items mentioned barely scratch the surface of what the Daniels’ shop has to offer.
The duo had brainstormed the idea in early 2021, but what sold them on creating the store — besides positive feedback from their landlord — was that Claremont is a city whose residents crave the outdoor air and sun.
“Claremont’s a very outdoorsy town, we have beautiful trails … people who like bikes and hikes so we just felt like, even though we toyed with other ideas, that The Outdoor Store was kind of ideal,” Donna said. While there’s already a few mainstay businesses that cater to the outdoor audience such as Bass Pro Shops, Big 5 Sporting Goods, and even the appropriately named The Outdoor Store Co., none are as tailored to the local audience of Claremont quite like this store is.
It was “definitely something that was unique to this area,” Katie said. “We couldn’t think of anything that was really like The Outdoor Store that had been in Claremont since we’ve been here. It was something like, ‘Oh yea, there’s never been a place where you can get some cool outdoor stuff, something that says Claremont.’”
Inside their eight months in business, Donna’s hypothesis that Claremonters enjoy the outdoors proved true as she explained locals have been overwhelmingly supportive since the day they opened. Donna said initially they thought the shop was just going to be a pop-up store, only coming back for certain dates and the holiday season. But after seeing the community’s reception and positive feedback to the store since April, she explained there was no way of just having it temporarily come back again and again.
“And I thought I might just do it through the end of the year or something like that, but I really felt like it definitely, there is absolutely a market for these products [here in Claremont],” Donna said. “Even though we only have the smalls [items] because it’s such a tiny store, it’s definitely the place to grab a gift for someone.”
Still in its infancy and not even a year old yet, the duo believes the store can see success for years to come given their active Foothill audience. Donna explained the store was one that Claremont needed; however, if their success holds true, then the Daniels might have to look into moving the outdoor themed business into a new space to accommodate more shoppers.
“I’m not opposed to having subsequent stores, I would definitely like a bigger outdoor store someday,” Donna said while laughing. “I love to do clothing and be able to do more, so that could be something in the future. I can see maybe when that lease is up moving the store to just a bigger spot.”
The Outdoor Store is located at 101 N. Indian Hill Blvd., Unit C1-106. The female-owned business is open between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday. The store did not have its landline set up as of press time, so for more information, contact Donna, Katie or The Grove Home store’s staff at (909) 445-7878.