Glacier Outfitters opens location in Kalispell airport

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Maia Allinder, left, and Go Glacier Outfitters co-owner Shelby Hampton at the grand opening of the company’s newest location at Glacier International Airport May 31. (Jeremy Weber photo)

Glacier International Airport has a new resource for visitors eager to explore Glacier National Park and beyond with the opening of the newest Glacier Outfitters location there.

From backpacks and hiking poles to bear spray and bicycle rentals, the new Glacier Outfitters location is ready to help get visitors into the great outdoors.

“When people get off a flight, this is not something they are expecting to see. As far as we know, nobody else has an outfitter shop in an airport, so we are still trying to figure a few things out,” co-owner Shelby Hampton said. “It’s great. People get off the plane excited and we are here to help them get ready for their adventures. I think this is really going to be a launching point for us and a lot of other companies in the area.”

Shelby and her husband Dave Hampton opened the original Glacier Outfitters location in Apgar seven years ago and got the idea to open a location in the airport after attending a Chamber of Commerce meeting about airport expansion last fall. The daughter of a pilot, Shelby said opening up shop in the airport just made sense.

“There is no real information desk about the park at the airport and we were already interested in expanding our shop,” she said. “We want to be able to do things and do them right. We are going to figure out the small things first and then add to this location as we need to.”

Right now, the airport location offers a variety of smaller items like tents, binoculars and bear spray for sale or rent, while the larger items like self-powered watercraft and bicycles are available for pickup at their Apgar location.

Shelby said she is also excited about being able to teach visitors how to stay safe while in the park.

“Nature is dangerous and it is not a joke. It can kill you. We want to make sure people are prepared for what they are getting into,” she said. “Some people just buy bear spray and put it in their backpack and then go walk quietly through the woods by themselves. We teach our customers all about bear safety and how to use the bear spray before the head out to the park.”

With a friendly and knowledgeable staff, Glacier Outfitters is committed to making sure visitors have an exciting, but safe adventure while in Glacier National Park and strive to provide the very best in locally-produced items, when possible.

“We pride ourselves in our staff made up of local residents. Not all of our staff are locals, but they all live in or around Montana,” Shelby said. “We try to offer as much Montana and American equipment as we can. Our flies are locally tied. Our maps are locally made. Our apparel is all made in Montana. It is very important to us to support the local economy as much as possible. We don’t buy or rent out cheap equipment. We have reasonable prices, but we make sure that we offer the best of what is available out there.”

With the peak tourist season just around the corner, Glacier Outfitters says it excited about the summer rush.

“We are excited to be one of the first points of contact for people who get off a plane and are headed for the park,” Shelby said.

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