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Outdoor adventure store Denali camps out on Thayer

Denali hopes to promote environmental awareness, connect with local community

If you’re looking for a good coat for the impending winter, you will no longer have to go further than Thayer Street. The doors of the mountain-style clothing company Denali are open for business following a Sept. 15 launch party.

“We supply people with knowledge and products to go on different adventures no matter where they’re going,” said store manager Kevin Devine, “whether it’s around the corner from the house, or if they are traveling overseas to go hiking or backpacking.”

The University’s real estate subsidiary Farview, Inc. leased 271 Thayer to Denali, replacing City Sports, wrote Director of News and Editorial Development Brian Clark in an email to The Herald.

“As a key commercial district that intersects campus, what’s most important to Brown is that Thayer Street is an attractive, clean and safe retail corridor where members of the University community can visit and local merchants can thrive,” Clark wrote.

The 271 Thayer property lay vacant for around two years while the University’s Real Estate Office searched for a suitable tenant, said Vice President of Real Estate John Luipold. The University did not want to subdivide the building or bring in another restaurant, he added.

“We took a very thoughtful approach,” Luipold said. “We like (Denali’s) mission to help the environment, and we wanted a tenant that we thought would be a draw from beyond the immediate College Hill area.”

Denali sales associate Melissa Monteiro-Lopes emphasized Denali’s relaxed and welcoming atmosphere as its defining feature. Denali’s live garden of ferns and other plants running up its two floors, along with trees serving as support columns, provides customers with a refreshing vibe. The apparel on display ranges from outdoor classics like Patagonia and The North Face to sturdy Merrell footwear and high-end Kühl fabrics.   

“We throw everything together,” said Monteiro-Lopes, a Cranston native. “We have the rugged, the classy, then everyday wear for people who are leisurely but always on the go. These are pieces that are going to last for a very long time.”

The Thayer Street Denali store wants to find ways to connect with the surrounding community by hosting free clinics to teach outdoor skills like orienteering and day hiking safety, Devine said. Of Denali’s 14 employees, nine are from Rhode Island, he added.

Denali also plans to work with local organizations like Save the Bay and the Brown Outing Club to help publicize environmental awareness and clean-up campaigns, he added.

“The Brown Outing Club for a long time has been trying to give back more for the community,” said Ethan Taswell, a member of the BOC. “We’re looking to expand beyond Brown, (and) we’re hoping to develop a partnership with companies on Thayer Street like Denali.”


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