MADISON HEIGHTS, Mich. – Walmart announced Wednesday that it has bought Moosejaw, the Madison Heights-based retailer of active outdoor gear, for approximately $51 million.
The acquisition closed Monday and includes Moosejaw’s web presence and 10 stores.
Moosejaw carries more than 400 brands of apparel and gear for climbing, hiking, camping, snow sports, yoga, swimming and biking.
Moosejaw started as a one-store operation is Keego Harbor in the mid-90s and almost immediately started selling online. It was a pioneer in that regard and kept that status.
Walmart said Moosejaw has a large assortment of specialty apparel and accessories, strong industry relationships and rich product content, and that their expertise will help Walmart further enhance their own customer experience. Walmart also said Moosejaw’s experience in digital commerce will help its consumer reach.
"As they've said to me, 'Listen, one of the reasons we are buying you is because of that brand, because of that zany culture. We would be fools to come in and mess that up,'" CEO Eoin Comerford said.
Moosejaw got started when founder Robert Wolfe had an idea.
"He was leading backpacking trips and he realized that as a guide for these trips people were spending more on the gear list than the trip. ... He said, 'I'm on the wrong side of this business,' so he started a store with a friend of his," Comerford said.
Now, 25 years later, the business is a success, and it's staying right where it's at.
"We are a Michigan company," Comerford said. "We're very proud of our Michigan heritage, so it's going to mean more opportunities for people that want to get into e-commerce and the outdoor industry, because we're going to have to grow."
Moosejaw was founded in 1992. Comerford, his executive team and their 350-plus employees will continue to be based in Michigan.