Outdoor Equipped joined the mix of retail stores on Front Street in downtown Wilmington in 2014. (File photo)
Wilmington-based Outdoor Equipped, which had $50 million in revenue last year, is being featured by Google to serve as an example of a company that's using the internet to grow its business.
Google released its 2016 Economic Impact Report
on Wednesday afternoon, and announced more than $222 billion of economic activity for 1.5 million businesses, website publishers and nonprofits across the United States last year.
In North Carolina, Google helped provide $2.38 billion in economic activities in 2016, across 37,000 businesses. The activity is up from $1.82 billion with 45,000 business and nonprofits using Google’s advertising tools, AdWords and AdSense, in 2015.
Google has also supplied $11 million in advertising grants to nonprofits and other organizations in North Carolina, up from $7.53 million in 2015.
Along with the report, Google highlighted several companies across the country. Outdoor Equipped
, an outdoor apparel retailer that sells clothing, shoes and other accessories for men, women, and children, was selected by Google as this year's featured company for North Carolina.
Outdoor Equipped was launched in 2012 by Chad Hankinson, a Wilmington resident, and his brother, Mike Mayo, a U.S. Army Infantry Branch veteran.
According to Google's report, the company uses AdWords, Google’s advertising program, and Google Shopping campaigns to get in front of consumers who are searching for the brands and products it sells. Google Analytics also helps the company make data-driven business decisions, Google stated in its release.
Hankinson, president and CEO of Outdoor Equipped, said online advertising “plays a significant role” for the company.
Online purchases make up about 96 percent of the retailer’s sales, Hankinson said, with website traffic driven from multiple online sources. Outdoor Equipped has also launched a mobile app for its customers.
“We have a number of different channels, Facebook, Pinterest, and an Amazon account, where we perform exceptionally in introducing the customer to Outdoor Equipped,” Hankinson said. “But, Google is certainly a primary one.”
Hankinson said Outdoor Equipped does online advertising for its brick-and-mortar facility, and utilizes GoogleAds for its website, mobile app and other advertising needs, adding that, “they all play an important role in getting awareness out there of who we are and building our brand.”
The company began as an online-only business in 2012. To be closer to customers and have a footprint in its hometown, Outdoor Equipped opened a 3,200-square-foot store in downtown Wilmington in 2014, and has since grown its warehouse operations to Salt Lake City to better serve customers on the West Coast.
The flagship store, at 272 N. Front St., allows the business to further its branding and provides the ability to connect with customers as well as the Wilmington community, Hankinson said.
The company also gives back to the city through event sponsorships, free concerts, charitable donations and discounts for veterans.
According to Google's report, the company has 100 employees.
Outdoor Equipped has grown from $5.3 million in annual revenue in 2012 to nearly $50 million in 2016. Hankinson said the company expects between $60 and $65 million in revenue by the end of 2017, based on first-quarter projections.
Outdoor Equipped is expected to continue that success, in part by expanding its AdWords campaigns and driving downloads for its mobile app.
“We are honored to be recognized by Google and we’ll continue to leverage the Google platform as well as other platforms to continue to grow,” Hankinson said.