Couple sell used outdoor gear in Grand Rapids shop
Grand Rapids — After operating the Switchback Gear Exchange in Marquette for five years, Mike and Rachel Posthumus have moved their winning formula for buying and selling outdoor gear to their hometown.
The couple has opened a shop in Cheshire Square that buys and resells used outdoor equipment such as bicycles, camping gear, fly fishing gear, outdoor apparel and disc golf.
Rachel Posthumus said they started their business in Marquette in 2010 while attending Northern Michigan University. The shop succeeded and in 2013, was voted the nation’s third best used gear store by Backpacker magazine.
After graduation, Posthumus said they decided to move back to Grand Rapids while keeping the business open in Marquette. After they failed to find a buyer, they decided to move the business to Grand Rapids, too.
“It became increasingly difficult to run a shop from seven hours away,” she said. “It’s too hard to do when you can’t be there every day.”
Although they are still unpacking their inventory, Posthumus said they have opened the shop in hopes of buying more from local residents with gear to sell.
Posthumus said they will pay cash for good used outdoor gear at approximately 50 percent of the value the item will fetch in their store or online. Although they will buy via mail, she said they prefer to buy local so they can touch and see the gear without having to pay shipping costs, she said.
While bicycles will be sold on consignment, other used items will be comparable to prices that can be found online, she said. The store also will stock new gear such as socks, bicycle inner tubes, camping fuel and other renewable items.
Posthumus said they also will sell their gear online, www.goswitchback.com. “Our goal is to become the online used gear experts,” she said.
They will not deal in golf clubs, tennis rackets and other team sporting goods to avoid head-to-head competition with other sports shops, Posthumus said.