In June of 1986, Reno, Nevada, Keith Richardson founded Sierra Trading Post. The company purchased name-brand overstocks and closeouts and passed the savings on to its customers – selling dress, casual and outdoor clothing, footwear, home furnishings, accessories and gear at savings of 35 to 70 percent.
In 1992, the company relocated to Cheyenne, Wyoming where it obtained a 504 loan from the U.S. Small Business Administration to help purchase land, construct a building and purchase equipment. On completion of the 30,000 square foot facility, the stage was set for a period of substantial growth. Sales increased with catalog mailings exceeding 20 million worldwide. In a little over two years, Sierra Trading had outgrown their facility and needed to expand their storage capacity. In December 1994 they again obtained a 504 loan from the SBA to help with construction of a 36,000 square foot addition and to purchase automated shipping and handling equipment. .
Today Sierra Trading Post has four retail stores in Boise, Idaho; Reno, Nevada; Cheyenne and Cody, Wyoming and two customer service call centers in Cheyenne and Cody. The corporate facilities in Cheyenne total about 500,000 square feet with 60 acres set aside for future expansion. They started with a staff of 65 and now employ more than 700 employees. More than 150 telephone representatives at the call centers handle up to 150,000 calls monthly – 90 percent of these calls are answered in 30 seconds. Their shipping department moves 5,500 to 7,500 orders daily and the majority are shipped within 24 hours. The company currently works with more than 1,000 vendors who look to Sierra Trading Post first when they have closeouts to sell.
Sierra Trading Post offers its products through three convenient channels: four retail stores, four mail order catalog titles and its online store, SierraTradingPost.com. Catalogs have expanded since 1986 from the initial 16-page catalog mailing of 100,000 to four catalog titles with an annual circulation of 30,000,000. Sierra Trading Post is in the top 100 internet retailers in the United States and currently 74th on the internet retailer list.
The current Executive Vice President, Gary Imig, said “We didn’t own any real estate back then and capital in those days was hard to get to build. SBA was very instrumental in the financing of our first building, we couldn’t have done it without SBA.”