Alumni in the News

Mr. Tyler J. Shurtleff – B.S., Business Administration, 2004; M.A., Business Administration, 2006

Herald Journal
The remarkable 30,000-square-foot stone building on Heritage Drive in Logan is a work in progress on the inside to become the headquarters for campsaver.com. Much of the office space is bare and there’s still drywall showing in the adjacent space as it is prepped to become the CampSaver’s first and only retail outlet location, to open in late spring. But Tyler Shurtleff, part-owner, and his friend Andy Stroman, founder, say they’re looking forward to the changes. “I’m excited,” Stroman said. “I want to have a good presence in Cache Valley. I don’t want it to be traditional retail — I want it to be more of a showroom.” Shurtleff added, “When we first started, a requirement for many of the brands was to have brick and mortar stores; since we’ve grown and obtained a lot of brands, that’s not much of problem anymore, but we want to have a brick and mortar store, mostly for the community.” The new building coincides with campsaver.com’s 10th anniversary. “It’s great, it’s exciting; we’ve been growing a lot over the last 10 years, and we’ve been growing enough that we can move into a new building,” Shurtleff said. “We’ve got 30 employees that are great employees and we’ve got a great atmosphere here.” CampSaver, the brainchild of Stroman, is an online retailer devoted to selling top brands of outdoor and camping equipment — including Marmot, Black Diamond, Kelty, Mountain Hardware and Patagonia. Shurtleff describes their inventory as, “brands we carry that traditional stores aren’t carrying.” CampSaver sells 40,000 different products. Camp gear is “our bread and butter,” Shurtleff said, but they’ve also been selling apparel in the last few years. The new building began construction last summer, and was desperately needed by CampSaver employees, Shurtleff said. “We had stuff stacked to the ceiling,” Shurtleff said. “(The new building) is way more efficient for shipping and receiving,” thanks to a much bigger warehouse. Campsaver.com began in 2003 as a small startup out of Stroman’s home in Logan while he was attending Utah State University. “I started small, trying to get five to six orders a day, and six months later moved into a little warehouse. It’s more ambitious, I guess,” Stroman said. “I’d never tried my hand at a business before. It wasn’t necessarily about Cache Valley because I didn’t have a retail store. The Internet was being started and that’s where the opportunity was for me. It’s a larger market online.” Shurtleff, who was Stroman’s roommate, came to CampSaver in 2006 after a stint at a marketing group in Salt Lake City. “I was dating my future wife who still had obligations at Utah State,” Shurtleff said. “I thought I might call Andy and talk to him, but Andy called me first. He was looking for somebody who would be in long-term, because he couldn’t keep up with dayto-day work anymore.” Even though Shurtleff wasn’t there from the beginning, he saw Stroman’s work. “Andy’s thought process was that he was an e-commerce guy, not an outdoor industry guy, not retail,” Shurtleff said. “If he was going to sell something online, it might as well be something fun. It was just a good industry to be in and we got in at a time it was still possible to get in as a new online retailer.” Shurtleff, unlike Stroman, had outdoors experience. “When I was a kid I did a lot of backpacking and rock climbing, and my family goes backpacking and camping,” he said. “I just like getting out into nature, being away from hustle and bustle and technology. I enjoy the thrill of biking. I enjoy the fishing; I like fly-fishing.” Today, CampSaver’s international sales include Australia, New Zealand Europe, Canada, and Asia — Japan is their biggest customer outside the U.S. Shurtleff shared his thoughts on where the outdoor industry is going. “It’s getting more expensive. Prices up and up and up. I don’t know when that’s going to stop,” he said. “The market is coming out with great new technologies and that’s exciting. And we see it at almost every outdoor sales conference we go to.” In the online industry, where sales are going up every year, according to Shurtleff, there is a challenge for CampSaver. “Our trick is trying to find our niche to grow with the industry without being left behind,” he said.