Borrego Sun - Since 1949

Borrego Outfitters Gears Up For Another Season, Safely


Last updated 10/23/2020 at 1:40pm

Photo Courtesy of Ben Nourse

Karen Hildebrandt, Director of Operations

After abruptly ending its 2019 – 20 season in mid-March, several months early, due to the coronavirus shut-down, Borrego Outfitters is working hard to bounce back in an uncertain environment.

"Just like many small businesses across America, COVID-19 has really thrown us a curveball," Ben Nourse, co-founder of Borrego Outfitters, said. "Just when we thought we knew what we were doing, we've been forced to think about reinventing our business."

Over the summer months, they have introduced sanitary protocols in the store to help customers shop safely.

"We've reworked our merchandise offering and introduced spacious new ways to shop at Borrego Outfitters. Now we have our fingers crossed that our customers will be back when the season gets underway," he said.

The Outfitters' Activity Center has also gotten a major face lift.

"With the new focus on home-based activities, we think there's a great opportunity to expand this department with fresh new offerings of games, puzzles, coloring supplies, journals, activity kits and more," Karen Hildebrandt, Director of Operations and buyer for that department, said.

In addition to adding new items from existing and new vendors, they have expanded the floor space for the department, and gave it a fresh new location in the store

"We think our customers will have a blast exploring here," she said.

Another area of the store getting a revamp is the Home and Kitchen departments.

"There's been a big shift towards staying at home due to the pandemic, so cooking and making your home nice is seeing renewed interest," said Donna Nourse, co-founder.

"We've put together a product mix that is both practical and unique. From Pakka-Wood serving spoons to melamine dinnerware to fun Swedish dishcloths, there's plenty to see here."

Doing business online has previously been a back-burner project, but now all that is changing with the introduction of Borrego Outfitters' Online Store and its Virtual Shopping program.

"We wanted to provide ways for our customers to shop with us even when they're not able or prefer not to come into our physical store in Borrego," Paige Schafer, Director of Marketing & Online, said.

They have created "collections" of their favorite merchandise and put them into their online store. Look here for Activities & Games, Sabaku Artwear shirts, Kitchen Novelties, Life is Good clothing & accessories, Nomadix sport towels, Borrego Souvenirs, and Face Coverings, which are their initial collections.

"For those who want touchless access to the full product offering in the store, we've pioneered "Virtual Shopping," in which one of our Associates joins a customer on a Zoom or FaceTime personal video session from the Borrego store," Schafer said. "Virtual shopping is way more fun and more personal than clicking around on Amazon. We hope you'll give it a try if you can't shop with us in person."

Another change at the Outfitters Store is the addition of an expanded Sale Department, named "Sale Rack @ the Outfitters."

"Our annual Sale Events have been hugely popular in the past," Ben Nourse said. "In today's socially distanced environment, we think it makes sense to create an ongoing Sale in part of the store. Here, our customers can find merchandise at 20%, 40%, 60%, even 80% discount from its original price. Hopefully, it will create a fun, spread-out, Sale environment without the crowds."

Another big change at Borrego Outfitters over the summer is that the store has become 100% employee owned. Founders Ben and Donna Nourse and General Manager Corie Loera-Jaramillo have been joined by Karen Hildebrandt, Paige Schafer, Stephanie Sullivan and Marsha Boring as shareholders.

"Borrego Outfitters is an important part of the "Borrego Experience"", Loera-Jaramillo said. "We're all here to stay, and are committed to continuing forward to keep this special place humming along in Borrego in the years to come."

So continue to look for a unique mix of merchandise at Borrego Outfitters, including Clothing, Footwear, Activities & Games, Gourmet Food, Home & Kitchen, Hats & Accessories, Jewelry, Outdoor Gear, Personal Care and Wine. Quality and value continue to be a major focus, along with an emphasis on customer service. Borrego Outfitters is ready for the season ahead!

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