Here’s Where You Can Buy All Your Outdoor Gear and Activewear for Cheap

Discount retailer Sierra, a sister store to T.J. Maxx, opened two new locations in Moorestown, New Jersey, and Exton on Saturday.

outdoor gear

Discount retailer Sierra, which specializes in outdoor gear and apparel, opened two new stores in the Philly area this weekend. / Photograph courtesy Sierra

If we had to place bets on a discount retailer taking over the world, our pick would be TJX. The company owns such off-price juggernauts as Marshalls, T.J. Maxx, HomeGoods, and HomeSense (basically the places with all the best deals) and has been aggressively expanding for the past few years, including in Philly. That growth plan extends to the lesser-known Sierra, which specializes in outdoor gear and activewear, and, on Saturday, opened stores in Moorestown, New Jersey, and Exton.

Like its sister companies, Sierra’s selling point is that it’s got a ton of name brands — Schwinn bikes, Mountainsmith tents, Adidas basketball shoes — at a discount of 25 to 60 percent. (Seriously.) Yet its products span an even wider range. When we got a preview tour of the new 14,400-square-foot Moorestown store, it looked like a combination of Dick’s Sporting Goods and T.J. Maxx. You’ve got your hammocks, fishing poles, kayaks, tents, bikes, and other outdoor gear in one corner and a massive number of shoes, including hiking boots and running shoes, in another. Then you’ve got your apparel and activewear; your kids’ products, ranging from toys to shoes to clothing; your food (think: grab-and-go items that are easy to take on outdoor outings like Bobo’s Oat Bars and Backpacker’s Pantry dehydrated food); your pet products; and even a few home décor pieces.

Whether they’re meant to be used inside or out, district manager Rob Pien says all of Sierra’s products speak to an overall lifestyle of health and wellness. “A lot of our gourmet foods would be consumed on-the-go or to support a healthy lifestyle.” He says. “Our different paintings and prints are very outdoor-themed. You see a lot of landscapes or cool wood pieces, artwork that could be used in a cabin, more of a rustic style. We’re even starting to jump into health and beauty, but you won’t see makeup. That’s a differentiator between us and T.J. Maxx. Their health and beauty is on the cosmetic side, and this is more to support wellness.”

It makes sense that Sierra would expand into the Philly region, given the area’s large fitness and wellness market. But the demand for outdoor recreation is also there. In 2017, the latest year data was available, consumers were spending $29.1 billion a year on outdoor recreation in Pennsylvania — enough to make us one of the top five states in that category. And why not? The Poconos are less than a three-hour drive from the city, the Appalachians aren’t far by train, and we’ve got easy access to beautiful natural spaces such as the Wissahickon and Valley Forge National Historical Park for those who aren’t interested in trekking several hours to spend time outdoors. Essentially, East Coasters are realizing they don’t have to choose between their city amenities and their country relaxation.

“I like to whitewater kayak and I like to climb mountains,” says Pien. “But I also love walking the dog with my wife and going in the backyard and grilling. That’s the point — we carry something for everybody.”

Sierra is now open at 400 Route 38 in the Moorestown Mall complex and in Exton’s Fairfield Place shopping center at 123 Swedesford Road.

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