Published by Jeremy. Last Updated on September 22, 2021.
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If you explore outdoors as we do, odds are good you've shopped in outdoor specialty stores from time to time to pick up gear and supplies. One such chain you have likely visited is DICK's Sporting Goods as their stores are, well, seemingly everywhere.
But what you may not know is that DICK's Sporting Goods is now a Pittsburgh company as their headquarters can be found in Coraopolis (the company relocated their headquarters to the area in 1994).
As such, when DICK's decided to launch a new outdoor-oriented specialty store known as Public Lands, it should be no surprise that the very first location was announced to be right here in southwest Pennsylvania. We were fortunate enough to visit the store during its soft open in September 2021 and have a chance to share about what to expect when visiting the Cranberry Township location!
Public Lands Offers Everything You Need to Enjoy the Great Outdoors
Within moments of entering the store, you get an appreciation for how much Public Lands puts an emphasis on getting outdoors. There are areas of the store for activities like biking, kayaking, fishing, rock climbing (with a rock wall to enjoy on-site), all varieties of shoes, camping gear, non-perishable food kits and snacks, grilling and cooking accessories, and more.
Some of these were from well-known brands like Yeti, The North Face, and more, whereas others were from new vendors that you may never have heard of. For example, we picked up all-purpose hiking shoes from Oboz- a Boseman, Montana, based footwear producer that plants a tree for every pair of shoes sold.
When shopping at this one, there were a few things that jumped out to us that makes it a bit different than other outdoor specialty stores we've been to.
First, there are the prices. Some outdoor stores we've been to cater to the high-end gear only, where most of the products were out of our price range outright. At Public Lands, we appreciated the variety of price ranges as they offer gear for casual explorers as well as professionals (with prices to match). So while you can splurge on the latest technology for a sport you're passionate about, you can also get some more affordable digs if you are only a casual hiker, biker, or explorer and want entry-level gear.
Second, Public Lands and many of their suppliers are really passionate about conservation. Like Oboz, above, the company donates 1% of all sales to initiatives to protect public spaces (you can read more about that initiative here). You'll also note many museum-like exhibits throughout the store highlighting the importance of conservation over a variety of topics- a touch that the former chemical engineers in us appreciated greatly.
Finally, they really lean into the local theme. The vast majority of the imagery found in the store is of locals getting out and exploring our parks. Think floor-to-ceiling photos of kayakers on the Allegheny River near PNC Park, hikers exploring Cucumber Falls in Ohiopyle State Park, and other gorgeous scenes all around Pittsburgh- places we've been to time and time again in our own outdoor explorations. They even have a ton of great local shots in the dressing rooms and a ton of local guidebooks to pick up near the entrance too!
While the latter is perhaps a minor detail that may not influence anyone's shopping outright, we liked how it meshed well with the brand's goal to help those get out and explore public lands. These areas in Pittsburgh are stunning and are represented quite well in the store everywhere you look. If we can ever make it to other stores opening in this new chain (a Columbus location is set to open in late 2021), we'll be on the lookout to see how local public lands are represented too!
Knowledgeable Store Guides Made for a Great Experience
One of the things we loved about shopping at Public Lands was how much assistance we got from the store guides. This went far beyond simply finding an appropriately sized helmet for Angie in the model she wanted but they went into deep detail on the company's whose products we were looking at, their origins, and subtle details of the product that we, quite frankly, never considered outright.
But the expertise of the guides may not just be in the products, as we spoke with one employee for a while who used to be a park ranger in the South Hills. Not only did we learn about the tree planting element from our Oboz shoes here, but we also spent a great deal of time talking about local parks at large.
That is something we don't get to do all too often when shopping!
Join Us at the Grand Opening Celebration on September 24th-26th
Although Public Lands has had a soft opening since early September 2021, the store will be celebrating its official opening on September from September 24th-26th with what can be described as nothing less than an extravaganza.
Brands like Yeti, The North Face, Cannondale, and Patagonia will be on-site giving demos and offering gear and gift card giveaways throughout the weekend. Mars-based brewery, Stick City, will be pouring pints. And live music will be going on throughout the weekend with the headliner Portugal. The Man with Brittany Howard starting Saturday the 25th at 3 pm (we'll be there for that!)
You know we'll be there with a beer in our hand and taking a stab at the climbing wall- although not necessarily at the same time. Check out the full event schedule from opening weekend here.
Overall, we really appreciate the direction that DICK's Sporting Goods is going with the specialty store Public Lands. The push for conservation is a good one for us, but incorporating local elements, an array of price points, and gear for just about every outdoor activity there makes for a really great combination. We are looking forward to more of these stores hopefully opening in the area in the future!
Public Lands is located at 1000 Cranberry Square Drive Suite D in Cranberry Township, PA. This article was sponsored by Public Lands. As always, all opinions are our own.