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How America’s First Black-Owned Outdoor Gear Shop Inspires Adventures

Becoming launched to the outdoor as a result of the Boy Scouts can be a crapshoot. Some men have amazing ordeals that propel them to request lives loaded with wilderness journey, others have a lackluster or downright depressing time that can endlessly transform them off to the terrific outdoor. For Jahmicah Dawes, his time in the Scouts tended to the latter. “It was the worst!” says Dawes, the founder of SlimPickins Outfitters in Stephensville, TX, who counts more formative ordeals in higher education as his accurate intro to the outdoor. “I’ve always cherished to skate, and I experienced a collection of boards that I would [give to] men and women to occur out and skate the campus with me.”

These close friends manufactured when carving up the concrete turned out to be outdoor junkies who rapidly presented other invitations for journey, even nevertheless he did not have the required gear. “They made chance and removed the excuses and hurdles for me to entry the same outdoor they ended up suffering from,” says Dawes.

These dual acts of generosity and kindness continue to tell Dawes in his lifetime as the proprietor of the initial Black-owned outdoor gear shop in the state. With racial tensions scarcely simmering right after the early-summer time spate of remarkably publicized scenarios of law enforcement brutality on minorities, he’s experienced to balance the positives and the negatives of an business finally attempting to deal with inequalities—not just endemic in the state, but in entry and acceptance in the outdoor area by itself.

Very good then that Dawes and his SlimPickins shop have always been a haven for like-minded, adventurous men and women that aren’t scared of a challenge, irrespective of whether in the wilderness or in culture by itself. “We always desired to be a applicable place for our local community, to reflect the nearby society, and equip and encourage the inventive outdoor fanatic,” he says. “We felt that men and women essential a spot they could get with each other, or gear up to #AdventureOut. There was not a spot like that right here, so we made a person.”

Jahmicah Dawes Slimpickins Outfitters Stephensville, TX
courtesy Jahmicah Dawes

Title: Jahmicah “SlimPickins” Dawes
Title: Founder, Operator, and Creative Director
Location: Stephenville, TX (but we get in touch with it Stephenchill, TX)
Decades on the Task: 4

Men’s Journal: How has your work/lifetime adjusted considering the fact that May well twenty five?
JAHMICAH DAWES: Do the job has surely adjusted. The simple fact that we are the initial Black-owned gear shop in the state has obtained us followers and relevancy. No matter if it occurred for the suitable factors or to just quiet people’s consciences, we want to make the most of the chance and be redeeming of the time by displaying the narrative of the realities of the various outdoors—and but the realities of representation of men and women like me in my posture in the outdoor business.

As significantly as my individual lifetime, I have to combat towards cynicism and bitterness all the time in regards to how I’m viewed and treated in equally my individual and expert circles. As the artist Propaganda mentioned in a track with Kings Kaleidoscope, “I should not know how a human body goes limp when it hangs, bro.”

I recall when I was young, seeing textbooks or museums seeing images or exhibits of lynchings. I, nor any child, teen, or grownup must in no way know what that seems like. In particular at this kind of a fee or consistency wherever that becomes a normative belief or expectation. I would appreciate to say this was a “shock,” or that the events of May well 25th ended up unpredicted. But sadly, there ended up events of Black gentlemen and girls dying unjustly at the hands of undesirable law enforcement way before then and you’ve noticed it continue to transpire considering the fact that May well 25th far too.

Jahmicah Dawes Slimpickins Outfitters
Jahmicah Dawes

How has your local community adjusted?
My response to that would be “To Be Continued”—the local community is altering. A single is that men and women are starting up to communicate about these problems. I would not think that your visitors would know a whole lot about Stephenville, Texas, but in 2007 there was a KKK rally right here in guidance of some students who ended up expelled from the university (which is my alma mater) for owning a blackface party—2007 was not that lengthy back.

Rapid forward to now, wherever we experienced a BLM and Justice for George and Breonna march. Marches that not only law enforcement ended up current at, but law enforcement marched with us. And it was quite obvious that there have surely been some alterations from then to now. So as I mentioned before, “To Be Continued,” but we have noticed and felt a nearby paradigm shift and this time momentum is building.


Have your shoppers been supportive?
They have but it was also amidst the corona pandemic. So I could not say for positive what has inspired them to be supportive. And in that same breath, it does not actually issue to me I need to have it both way, ya know? As I like to say, “encouragement is encouraged.”

For all those examining this and feel they might’ve missed the boat to guidance us or, and other nearby corporations: It is in no way far too late to begin and it is always essential. “The luxury of the choice of participation is terrific, suitable?” (a further from Kings Kaleidoscope and Propaganda).

Jahmicah Dawes Slimpickins OutfittersWhat is the best challenge at hand, relocating forward?
Accessibility to brands, entry to capital, and improved terms from the brands we carry or want to carry—we have experienced this kind of an uphill fight with finding specified brands.

A reoccurring phrase we continue to listen to is, “We aren’t opening new accounts at the second,” which is comprehensible to a stage. Even so, my rebuttal to that is if there are only two Black-owned outlets in the state, and we, as an independently owned little brick-and-mortar shop (with the spending plan of a little brick-and-mortar shop), are simply inquiring for the opportunity and chance to lover with your manufacturer, and if you occur again with that response, do the brands actually benefit and advocate for more range? We are not REI, so the orders we put in or open with aren’t heading to make or split all those brands and corporations.

Not to mention, we are the purveyors of the [the latest] narrative the outdoor business is [now] hoping to convey to and current market to a team of men and women that we characterize. Still, we never get the finest terms that brands can give. It baffles me how I can glance at these brands’ social media feeds and see how they are attempting to gain off of the plight and persecution of a men and women but then never acquire or [won’t] make the chance to improved guidance the little sect of men and women that are actually in the business, that actually are altering the narrative.

Illustration also matters, but I’ll acquire that a person more phase to explain, “Real Illustration Matters.” [What I imply is that corporations should not] simply use Black or other indigenous men and women of colour. Use true ones in your journals, print advertisements, and visible campaigns—the precise men and women executing and putting in the work. We are right here, we exist, but in buy to keep, we need to have assistance!

In some cases I experience like Black corporations in the outdoor business must be on some type of endangered record, you know? I experience like we just got right here and we are currently about to become extinct.

Do you see indicators of hope or alterations in your local community?
Indeed, I do see indicators, but the change will include a generational change of head and encounter. For occasion, we experienced a BLM march to provide consciousness of what occurred to George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and numerous other girls and gentlemen that have been disproportionately brutalized by undesirable law enforcement. Even so, a person change that I’ve currently noticed, and experienced the privilege to be a portion of, is a collective of local community members and law enforcement officers owning discussions and discord about these problems. We are actually about to do a really interesting undertaking involving the collective that I’m hyped about.


Jahmicah Dawes
Courtesy Jahmicah Dawes

What can visitors do to assistance?
Very well putting delight aside…support us by getting from us. We have the ability to buy anything at all from the brands we sell. So visitors can make the intentional determination to buy from us as a substitute of the brand’s websites—or the major box stores—and then acquire that same frame of mind and life style change to guidance nearby corporations in and close to your very own local community. We get in touch with it Respect(ing) the Locals. Also, think about permitting us outfit you or your group for your up coming journey. Advocate for us to your outdoor local community, your outdoor companies, your churches, and your local community groups.


Any added methods / companies that our visitors can guidance?
We outfit local community groups, companies, and affinity groups. So think about us when you are needing your up coming repair of outdoor clothing, footwear, or gear. We are working on boosting our web-site so we can system more transactions online so be on the lookout there.

We are also an outfitters shop for missionaries. We outfit missionaries for their trips to a variety of destinations. We do this as a result of an initiative termed Outfitting The Saints and we just commenced the OTS podcast as well.

But just adhere to us @spoutfitter or go to slimpickinsoutfitters.com and subscribe to our e-mail record.


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