Embracing the outdoors

Great Outdoors owners Ashley and Lyn Verbunt are passionate about the outdoor lifestyle and customer service.
Great Outdoors owners Ashley and Lyn Verbunt are passionate about the outdoor lifestyle and customer service.

A passion for outdoor living saw Ash and Lyn Verbunt establish Great Outdoors 25 years ago.

The couple had owned businesses before this venture including the general store in Walla and a newsagent.

"Ash decided to do something for himself because he always loved the outdoor lifestyle," Lyn said.

When Great Outdoors first opened the focus was on camping gear and some manufacturing including repairs of camping gear and upholstery.

Soon the business grew and diversified and today also includes shade sails, wood and gas heating and foam and rubber.

Hitting the 25 year mark is "very exciting" for Ash, Lyn and their team of five. Two of whom have been with the business for more than 10 years.

"After 25 years we have a following and so do our staff," Ash said.

"A lot of people who come in to buy something say their friends have bought from us.

"We give quality service and advice rather than just pointing them down an isle."

The business has seen a boost following Covid-19 with more people spending time at home and completing projects that had long been forgotten.

"I had someone say they've had a chair they've been meaning to get fixed in the garage for 10 years," Ash said.

Similarly, people are investing in wood heaters and outdoor furniture to make life at home more comfortable.

"With the virus people have stayed home and spent more money on their homes and are doing things in their own yards," Ash said.

"We've actually sold more wood and gas heaters this year than ever before."

The manufacturing section also has a strong customer base with shade sails installed across the region

"If we're not selling it off the shelf, we're making it from scratch," Ash said.

Great Outdoors is a mega store spanning 1400 square metres.

"We are the biggest camping store around," Ash said.

The store is split into six sections which also indicate how the business has grown from the camping and outdoor furniture and barbecues, manufacturing, heating and foam and rubber.

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