Reduce, reuse, Regear

Article Published: Feb. 21, 2013 | Modified: Feb. 26, 2013
Reduce, reuse, Regear

From left, Ashley and Rio Sawhill own and operate Regear Outdoors Co. on Rivers Street in Boone.

Photo by Kate Smith

Racked inside of Regear Outdoors Co., Boone’s only outdoor gear consignment shop, are trek and street bikes, a wall of backpacks, rows of snowboards, skis and outdoor apparel – all locally donated and clean gear to facilitate an afternoon or weeks in nature.

Regear is located at 967 Rivers St. in Boone, next door to Fat Cats Music and Video, and is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday.

Rio and Ashley Sawhill opened Regear mid-November of last year, prompted by an “obvious need” for an inexpensive outdoor supply shop and the desire to aid in the adrenalizing and reverent experience of the outdoors.

“Being out in nature encourages – you can call it spiritual, you call call it emotional – shifts and changes and realignments,” Rio Sawhill said. “Basically, it connects people to something bigger than themselves, whether it’s a tree or mountain or waterfall. So, when people get out and experience that, they use the same words that they use to describe God or spirituality.”

Their logo representing water, a heart rate, mountains and trees was a product of “late-night sketches,” Ashley Sawhill said, and was refined by local artist Tommy Lee.

Kick-started by their Indiegogo campaign and “lots of store donations,” the Sawhills have been able to build a rockclimbing wall inside the shop and welcome local contributors, like benches and stools made from Recycle Your Skateboards (

On April 20, Regear will celebrate National Record Store Day with Fat Cats. The Sawhills plan to book live music and open the indoor climbing wall. For updated information, “like” and follow them on Facebook.

Once Regear becomes profitable, the owners will donate 3 percent of all proceeds to partner nonprofits, such as Mountain Alliance, Climbing for MS (Multiple Sclerosis) and the American Alpine Club. Until then, the Sawhills will continue to give those organizations half of the proceeds earned from donated gear.

The owners “know the people we get the gear from,” Ashley Sawhill said. Regear does not carry some items of indeterminable safety, like climbing ropes, but Rio Sawhill is willing to keep photographs and contact information of people trying to sell such items to match them with people looking to buy such items.

Regear accepts any kind of gently used, high-quality outdoor gear and clothing for all ages. Team sport gear and exercise gear, like treadmills or weights, are not accepted.

Rio Sawhill worked as a rafting guide at River and Earth Adventures in Boone and is a climber. He and Ashley, who loves bouldering and yoga, have worked as summer camp counselors. After they married, they spent a year traveling. Prompted by family needs, they returned to the states and decided to settle for a while in North Carolina, so Ashley could finish her health promotions degree.
Regear’s opening followed the Sawhills’ and locals’ hope for this type of outdoor base.

In June, the Sawhills’ business questions and ambitions were counseled by Russ Towers, owner of Second Gear, another outdoor consignment shop in Asheville. Towers said that his customers frequently suggested Boone as another ideal place for this specific industry.

“We found a niche in the market,” Ashley Sawhill said.

Once the business picks up momentum, the Sawhills plan to allow customers to swap their items with equal value gear or apparel at the store. They want to organize consignment accounts, where people can donate to Regear specifically for a cause or team. In the spring, they plan to rent out material for a fraction of the buying cost.

Regear asks that donations be clean, in working order (or with mention of it needing repairs) and in season. Donators receive either a cash percentage or in-store credit once their donated items sell. Regear’s discount system lowers prices every 15 or 30 days. Specific tables of the donation and discount systems are available on their website at

For more information call (828) 386-6100, visit, or contact Rio Sawhill at

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