Nantahala Outdoor Center opened its new LEED-certified experiential retail environment in Gatlinburg, TN Easter weekend. A $4 million project, NOC’s Great Outpost is now the largest retail store and newest attraction on the Gatlinburg strip, adjacent to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park entrance.
NOC’s Great Outpost occupies an anchor position in Gatlinburg’s downtown strip, one of the most heavily visited destinations in the Southeast hosting an estimated 14 million visitors annually. Sharing a border with the nation’s most visited national park, the Great Outpost has applied for LEED certification from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), becoming the first green family attraction of its kind in Gatlinburg and Sevier County.
Aiming to become Gatlinburg’s outdoor activity hub, NOC’s Great Outpost offers affordable, family-oriented outings in and around the national park like whitewater rafting, kayaking, guided fishing, hiking and nature tours. Additionally, this outdoor concierge service provides assistance and information for visitors planning their own adventures in the park. Interactive exhibits on the region help connect guests with local volunteer clubs that protect the Smokies. The Great Outpost also houses free attractions including a 25-foot climbing wall, a swinging rope bridge and a “bear den” play area for kids. Stocked with a selection of outdoor apparel and gear from The North Face, Columbia, Teva and more, the store also features the largest selection of Smoky Mountain souvenirs in Gatlinburg.
“Our most important return on investment is encouraging more area visitors, especially young people, to recreate in and to have a green visit to the Smokies,” says NOC CEO Sutton Bacon. “We’re also hopeful that Gatlinburg’s many return visitors will find this new attraction a welcome addition to their Smokies experience.”
Each year, NOC is visited by more than half a million guests and contributes nearly $48 million to the economy of western NC-where the company is based-making it the nation’s largest outfitter. NOC plans a soft opening for the Great Outpost in March, followed by a grand opening Easter weekend, timed to coincide with the seasonal start-up of the company’s outdoor offerings. As early as the grand opening, guests will be able to raft the Class III-IV Pigeon River along the eastern border of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, among other outdoor adventures.