A few years ago, you may have known Scott Keith and Darryl Rasmussen as the guys who worked at McKenizie Outfitters. But just before the recession hit home, the owner of McKenzie decided it was time to retire. Then, G.I.Joe’s had to shut down because of excessive debt and the economic downturn….
FAST FORWARD TO SUMMER 2010
Scott Keith and his family put their savings on the line, sold their home in the Colestine Valley near Mt. Ashland that they loved so much and opened up the Northwest Outdoor Store in Medford, Oregon. Its the kind of place dedicated to the things you love most about where you live, work, and play. Now, you can skip the big box retailers like REI, pick up quality gear for your next outdoor trip, and find yourself talking to people that actually know how the gear works.
At the Northwest Outdoor Store, the motto is “if it doesn’t work, we won’t sell it.” But Scott and the crew see themselves as more than just a store. The Northwest Outdoor Store is a place dedicated to the Southern Oregon Outdoor Community. Sure stores like REI come in and pump lots of money into projects and groups but at the end of the day it is life long residents like Scott who will truly bring together and serve the Outdoor Community.
Hiking, camping, kayaking, travel and climbing are the areas the Northwest Outdoor Store specialize in with a crew of experts who can help guide you through every step of your purchase.
As a young man, Scott was driven by a sense of wanderlust. He has ventured on six-month long backpacking/mountaineering trips across Alaska, Northern Canada and through Mexico camping under the aurora borealis, listening to wolves howl, climbing remote peaks, hiking in jungles and kayaking along beaches. He knew he had found his calling and opening the Northwest Outdoor Store was really just an extension of those first trips. He spent several years working as a mountain guide taking clients on climbing trips in the High Sierras, Mt. Shasta and Yosemite.
Scott continues to get outdoors and kayak, paddle, hike, fly fish, bird watch and do whatever the season holds. He goes out solo kayaking or stand up paddling in some of the local Southern Oregon secret spots and often takes the family out to moonlight paddle or just enjoy the mountain lakes like Howard Prairie.
Scott first started working in outdoor shops 30 years ago and was the manager of McKenzie Outfitters for 10 years in Medford before the owner retired and closed the business which then gave him an opportunity to open his own store and continue serving the many customers here in the valley that he has worked with for 30 years.
Scott declares that if he can help folks to enjoy the outdoors and explore our wild places then he is doing what he’s meant to be doing!
Darryl Rasmussen, Store Manager
Darryl is an avid outdoorsman with 20 years of expertise in rock climbing, skiing, biking, backpacking and snowshoeing. He has 11 years of experience in the Outdoor Retail industry and worked for Mountain Supply, McKenzie Outfitters, and Medford Cycle Sports before joining the Northwest Outdoor Store.
Darryl’s journey to a career in the outdoors started when he discovered his passion for climbing while working as the rock climbing instructor at an outdoor youth camp in Alabama. While living in the South, he climbed at Sand Mountain, Tennessee Wall and Sunset Point. Through the outdoors, he found joy, freedom and a love of life he had not previously experienced.
Rasmussen moved to Oregon 15 years ago in search of the Wilderness that he had only heard of, and wanted to see and experience the western outdoors before it disappeared. Passing through Northern California on his way to Oregon, he was awestruck by the majesty of Mt. Shasta and the beauty of Castle Crags and knew right then that he had made the right choice to move to the Northwest.
Soon after moving to the area he was hired at an outdoor store. Darryl acknowledges that when he first started working, it was all about the gear and wanted to learn everything about it and try it out in the wild. He learned a lot about the gear and what really works outdoors, but what he has come to value the most is the relationships he’s formed with customers through the years, many of whom are now close friends.
Darryl has experienced the thrill of climbing mountains…Mt. Hood, Mt. Shasta, Mt. McLaughlin. He’s skied the backcountry of Crater Lake, Mt. Ashland, Diamond Lake and has marveled at the beauty and purity of our winter landscape. He’s climbed Smith Rocks in Central Oregon, Yosemite and Lake Tahoe as well as the many wonderful local crags in Southern Oregon.
His passion and knowledge of the outdoors allows him to offer his expertise to customers of the Northwest Outdoor Store in finding just the right items for their next trip or adventure. Frequently, they come back and comment on how great the gear or clothing worked for them. For Darryl, there is no better feeling than helping someone have a successful outing or trip into the outdoors. He is excited to be a part of the Northwest Outdoor Store – has a love for the area and is proud to call it home.