New outfitter store in Chattanooga focuses on local, affordable items

New outfitter store in Chattanooga focuses on local, affordable items

October 16th, 2012 by Dave Flessner in Business Around the Region

Lynn Bartoletti poses for a portrait inside the recently opened Four Bridges Outfitters store in Chattanooga on Sunday. The store, which sells a range of both new and consignment gear for outdoor enthusiasts, will host its grand opening on October 20.

Photo by Alyson Wright/Times Free Press.

• Name: Four Bridges Outfitters

• Owner: Lynn Bartoletti

• Location: 315 N. Market St.

• Opened: Sept. 29; grand opening Saturday

• Products: New and used camping, backpacking, kayaking, climbing, cycling and other outdoor sports equipment and clothing items. The store opened with 700 items on sale, which Bartoletti said she accumulated over the past 10 months.

• Business reason: While working as an independent house painter for 25 years, Bartoletti has been an avid paddler and climber. At age 51, she says, "I needed a change," and is turning her outdoor passions into a retail venture in North Chattanooga. "There are other outfitter stores in Chattanooga, but we are trying to sell locally made goods and used equipment at much cheaper prices," Bartoletti said.

• Business strategy: The 1,100-square-foot store is a distributor for national and locally produced items, ranging from PMI (Pigeon Mountain Industries in LaFayette, Ga.) rope to Tenara's Spanish-made shoes. The store will be an outlet for locally made hats, soaps, lip balm and sandals.

The store also is selling on consignment outdoor equipment. The store takes a 40 percent commission on any items sold in Four Bridges Outfitters, while those selling the items get 60 percent of the sales price.

• Initial investment: $30,000

• Staff: The business is a family affair. Bartoletti is the owner of the business; her daughter, Jennie, is store manager; and Bartolletti's mother helped finance the startup.

• Five-year goal: Try to stay small and keep selecting local craftsmen and merchandise to help local folks and keep product prices below competition, Bartoletti said.

• Biggest challenge: "It's very hard to stay indoors all day," Bartoletti said.

-- Compiled by Business Editor Dave Flessner, who may be reached at dflessner@timesfreepress.com or at 757-6340.