Erwin Outdoors Supply set to celebrate a new venture

Sue Guinn Legg • Updated Mar 28, 2019 at 10:07 PM

ERWIN — Just one town up the Appalachian Trail from Hot Springs, N.C., lies Erwin, home to a trio of budding entrepreneurs who are banking on the belief that many of the same natural attractions that keep their neighbors to the south hopping will one day serve Erwin just as well.

Brandy Bevins said it on a weekend trip to Hot Springs a little more than a year ago that she began working on a business plan to fill a commercial need in Erwin.

And, with the help of her husband, Tyler, and their friend, Mark Lafever, that plan will come to fruition on Saturday with a grand opening celebration at their Erwin Outdoor Supply store on the newly revitalized Union Street downtown.

Outdoor enthusiasts themselves, Tyler said he and Brandy and their daughters do a lot of camping and hiking and everywhere they travel they make it a point to find a mom and pop outdoors store in that community.

They’ve visited Hot Springs at different times of the year and on different days of the week and always found it busy.

And with Unicoi County’s abundance of mountains, trails, white water and fly fishing, they see potential for the same kind of traffic in Erwin.

“Everything you can do outdoors you can do it here,” Tyler said. “So we thought we’d give this a run. Give it a shot.”

Open since early March in a renovated 1919 building in which Lafever and the Bevins have preserved many of original architectural elements, Brandy Bevins said their hope is that the store will be more than outfitters.

Equipped with projection TV and overstuffed couches, a coffee and snack bar, a charging station and other homey comforts, Brandy said they want the store to be a place where hikers come to relax and rejuvenate and families and friends stop in for fun and stay around to watch a game. And the stock includes many local products, including Trek bike rentals from Johnson City and Pyranha Kayaks distributed in Erwin.

The store has been warmly received so far and social media chatter about the grand opening has everyone on the street expecting a big crowd on Saturday, starting at 10 a.m.

The festivities will include giveaways by product representatives from Keen, Salomon, Ruffwear and numerous others, and live music by Zach McNabb and the Tennessee Esquires, the Unicoi County High School Bluegrass Band and The Jeters and Friends.

Kingsport AM and Alley Cats will have their food trucks on the street in front of the store and RISE Erwin will have outdoor games set up in the Mountain Commerce Bank parking lot across the street. And Erwin’s own CBS Survivor Contestant Gavin Whitson will be there to give away five autographed Survivor Buffs.

Craft beer will be available next door at Union Street Taproom and original works of art will be on display and available for purchase on the corner at Union Street Gallery.

For more information, visit the Erwin Outdoor Supply page on Facebook or call 423-557-6845

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