It is great to follow up with previously featured businesses to see how things are going and we just had that opportunity this month with Napier Outdoors when we caught up with Jamie McAvoy, Marketing, Sales and Office Manager for Napier Outdoors. We are still amazed by the story of how Roman Napieraj, the company’s founder, turned a trip to Canadian Tire store to purchase some wooden beams, a tarp, and an air mattress to create his own tent in the back of his truck as a solution for bad allergies has transformed over the years developing into an innovative company celebrating 30 years of endless adventures, epic campsites and shared memories.
Looking back who would have thought that a make shift tent used to keep Napieraj up off the ground and dry when he was sleeping as he toured Southern Ontario as part of a motocross league would develop into the world’s largest developer and distributor of Vehicle Camping Tents.
Well Napieraj knew he was on to something because weekend after weekend when he would use his makeshift tent in the back of his truck, he was getting numerous comments and really positive feedback from those on the tour. However, it was not until one night on the tour that it started to downpour and every camper who could grabbed their tent and was putting it on their truck bed. Napieraj knew right there that he had an industry game changer. There was nothing like it on the market at the time and start Napieraj entrepreneurial journey.
In 1990, Napier Enterprises was created and started offering the first Sportz Truck Tent to consumers as one of the original companies to produce and market truck tents in North America, but Napieraj did not stop there. Always innovating and developing new products, seven years later in 1997, General Motors launched Napier’s Truck Tents in the genuine GM Accessories program for Chevy and GMC Full-Size pickup trucks. Two years after that, Ford USA launched Napier’s Truck Tents as a genuine Ford Accessory. Fast forward three more years and Nissan was offering their products as accessories. Then in 2008, Jeep Canada featured the company’s Sportz SUV Tent in a national commercial campaign that drive even more demand for their projects with customers looking for off road adventures. Honda partnered with Napier Outdoors in 2009 to create a custom SUV tent for Honda models to be distributed throughout their dealerships.
From Napieraj’s motocross days through to current days, Napier Outdoors knows the importance of listening to their customers and providing them with innovative and unique but most importantly quality outdoor products that meet or exceeds their needs whether they are tailgating with the Sportz Cove awning, heading out to the campground with their Sportz SUV tent or pushing the boundaries of adventure and travelling off-road one of the company’s Backroadz Truck Tent 19 Series that launched in 2019 that including Backroadz Camo model or newest addition to the innovative Napier product line that first appeared at SEMA 2019, but officially launched earlier this year the Napier Rooftop Tent which allows you to get up high and stay dry on your off-road adventure. This innovative new product stays true to Napier reputation, offering a durable and weather-resistant tent featuring ripstop polyester canvas and mesh panels for ventilation and breathtaking views. Plus, a thick foam wall-to-wall mattress which provides the ultimate in comfort after a day of exploring the outdoors and don’t worry Napier has you covered as the included rainfly ensures extra protection from stormy nights.
Napier has long standing retail partnerships with Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s along with many other Big-Box retailers. The company also partners with aftermarket retailers like Action Car & Truck Accessories which proudly sell Napier Outdoors products. Last year the company was excited to add Canadian Tire to its retail partner network. McAvoy adds, “That although many customers are moving their purchases online with the recent pandemic, it is very important for us to maintain solid relationships with our retailer store partners while we look for other opportunities to better serve our customers.”
However, if 2020 has taught us anything, it is the importance of offering your products online and making them easily accessible to consumers. Not only does Napier’s website offer all of its extensive product line to keep you active in the outdoors it also offering it’s customers, better known as “Napier Nation” helpful tips on planning your next road trip from where to go, to how to pack and my favorite what to eat. I am not sure about when you plan an adventure but when I do food plays a major role when camping, who wants to eat hot dogs and burgers for every meal, not me. So, the website gives you great ideas along with recipes so you can have a gourmet meal in minutes with a little planning.
The redesigned Napieroutdoors.com website allows customers on both sides of the border to purchase directly from the website. McAvoy tell us, “One of the common questions we get from current and potential customers is what product fits their crossover, SUV or truck so we have added a ‘WHAT FITS YOUR RIDE’ option so that they can put the make and model of their vehicle and find all the products and accessories for their vehicle.” It is also a great place to share your adventures with the rest of the Napier Nation, get in on current contests and learn about their partners. “We definitely wanted the new website to be a one-stop reference for all your outdoor adventure needs,” said McAvoy. She goes on to say, “You can also subscribe to Napier’s blog which will allow you to keep up to date with what is going on in the great outdoors.” We also recommend that you do not forget to follow them on social media such as Instagram (@napieroutdoors) for more tips and tricks to enjoying the outdoors.
“We take pride in our customers and love sharing their stories of adventure, it is the perfect way to show them how much we value their loyalty,” said McAvoy.
Although Napier has a solid online e-commerce presence with their own website, they also recognize the need to keep strong partnerships with online vendors like Amazon, AutoAnything and Dick’s Sporting Goods, along with Costco.ca and Walmart.ca. Customers may also be surprised to learn that you can also get Napier products through Wayfair and Best Buy.ca. You can find many other online partners on their website as they are always expanding their exposure to potential customers shopping online. “Our goal for our online partner is to help them succeed,” McAvoy continues, “We are there to help them with planning to helping them meet the needs of the customer, we are always willing to go the extra mile for them and the customer.” She also explained that they even offer to help set up their product displays online for their partners website and are always looking for ways to grow their relationship with their partners whether they are online or brick and mortar retailers.
“Especially now as people plan to travel within their own borders in the months to come, we have seen a significant increase in the demand for our products which has been very demanding for our small but mighty team.” McAvoy goes on to say, “Thankfully we are all very high energy and positive because we are a small team, we have to be driven to get the job done.” However, do not think that it is all work and no play for this dedicated and hardworking team they take time to enjoy time away from the St. Catharines headquarters to celebrate holidays, birthdays and enjoy other activities including the great outdoors.
To say that 2020 has been a crazy year would be an understatement. This year has brought us a global pandemic, political unrest, racial tension, and wildfires raging throughout North America. It has been a year that has had no shortage of headlines. However, we want to use this opportunity to highlight a major milestone for Napier Outdoors as they quietly celebrate their 30th year in business in 2020. McAvoy says, “We are grateful for our customers and want to thank them for being part of this journey but will wait until the time is right to truly celebrate this accomplishment.” We say there is no hurry as we expect to see them for another 30 years as they continue their mission to add convenience and flexibility to your outdoor adventure and to revolutionize your camping experience year after year.
by Lee Ann Atwater