FORT COLLINS — A new face is at the helm of a Fort Collins outdoor retailer that’s celebrating its 50th anniversary as its longtime owner retires.
Randy Morgan, who joined the staff of Outpost Sunsport just after founder JV Peacock opened it in 1972, has sold the store at 931 E. Harmony Road to a three-person ownership group headed by Riley Siddoway.
Morgan had become a business partner in 1976 and took over ownership from other partners in 1987. He moved the store from downtown to its current southeast Fort Collins location in 1996.
“Selling to Riley Siddoway is the perfect handoff to partners that are already involved in the outdoors and ski business, and who want to be involved in the Fort Collins community,” Morgan said, adding that another factor in his decision to sell rather than keeping the store in the family is that his children already have pursued careers outside the retail arena.
Siddoway said he and his partners don’t plan to make any changes to the formula that has made Outpost Sunsport a local retail institution.
“We’re in the customer-service business, not in the ski or furniture business,” Siddoway said. “It’s of paramount importance to me that we do not forget we’re here to serve the customers and not lose our way.”
Morgan said the new owners also plan no changes in the store’s 20-person staff.
“Matt Sisko, who has been with the team since 2006, will continue as store manager; and Outpost Sunsport’s customers will continue to receive the same truly personal service they have for 50 years. I especially like being able to share that the new owner of Outpost Sunsport is an avid outdoorsman with years of experience in the field.”
Siddoway, whose parents live in Colorado, operates Uphill Pursuits in Bozeman, Montana, and was looking to purchase another like-minded business.
Morgan said he’ll be on hand at the store for “a few months” during the transition.
Peacock, a Colorado State University graduate, opened Outpost Trading Co., a small backpacking and mountaineering store across from campus at 112 W. Laurel St., in 1972. Morgan, then a student and track-and-field athlete at CSU, was a loyal customer of the store and started working there part-time early in 1973. He and Peacock developed a strong working relationship and grew the fledgling business, and Morgan became a partner after he graduated in 1976.
The staff taught ski lessons through the Fort Collins Parks and Recreation Department, partnered with the Poudre School District and led tours up Poudre Canyon. In 1983, Outpost added alpine ski gear and clothing to the store, and soon started hosting the Warren Miller film tour, which will again be shown Nov. 11 at the Lincoln Center.
Morgan offered a job to a woman he later married, and the future ownership team of Randy and Nancy Morgan was born.
The Morgans began expanding the business in the early 1990s by starting to sell patio furniture. Goods it now sells to such businesses as local breweries, swimming activity centers and golf courses. It relocated to a new building on Harmony Road in 1996 and expanded that space 10 years later.
The Morgans are involved with about 100 nonprofit groups including the Bird Conservancy of the Rockies, UCHealth Foundation, Respite Care, Colorado Open Lands, United Way and others as well as CSU and the Poudre School District.
“Randy was an amazing partner during the capital campaign to complete the Gardens on Spring Creek,” said Michelle Provaznik, the gardens’ executive director. “He worked tirelessly, advocating on our behalf throughout the community to bring the vision of the gardens to life. The impact of those efforts will be felt throughout our community for years to come as The Gardens fosters environmental stewardships while serving tens of thousands of visitors each year.”