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G.I. Joe's gears up for resurgence

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High Five
Monday, May 03, 2010

After going under last spring, Oregon retailer G.I. Joe's is eyeing a comeback under a seasoned team of company veterans.

The former executives are hoping to reconnect with the community while facing down the increasingly competitive retail landscape that the company struggled with before.

"We're going back to the auto and boat parts and fishing and hunting gear," said Ron Menconi, former senior vice president of marketing and merchandise who started with the original company at 16. "'The lower prices every day.' The G and the I. Everything like it was before the financial firms got involved."

And, as the G.I. implies, the new company is prepared for battle on several fronts. It faces increased retail competition, must win over younger shoppers and may have to fight for the name it needs to bring back its base.

Read the full story at OregonLive.com.

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0 #1 G I Joes an Oregon IconLisa 2010-05-03 13:13:10
I'm happy the name has been resurrected with the emphasis on their original core business. I knew GI Joe's would fail. The service was HORRIBLE. Usually a bored teen could barely be bothered to direct you to the area of the store where the merchandise you sought was located. Generally they knew little or nothing about the products (sportswear) and I would only go to GI Joe's if a) they were having a great sale or b) I couldn't find the merchandise elsewhere. Once the competition came in ([blocked]'s, Sports Authority) they were toast.

Hopefully the new/old owners have learned from the experience.
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0 #2 How is GI Joes an excellent name for a store?Melvis 2010-05-03 14:11:30
Can someone explain to me, who is not a native Oregonian, how GI Joes is such a great name for a store? It sounds like a military surplus store, which I'm told it originally was. Why would you want a 40's WWII name for a store selling auto parts and fishing and hunting gear?

And, to take it a little further, why would you sell auto parts in the same store where you sell fishing and hunting gear? I never understood that about GI Joes (before it transformed into just "Joes."
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thinking out loud
0 #3 Good Luckthinking out loud 2010-05-03 21:15:36
[blocked]'s is upscale and moving into the Pac NW quickly now. Sports Authority has focused on special buys, last years items at low prices and generally chasing the market, but says they're now focused on being more upscale. Baxter's drives auto parts retail around PDX for shade tree mechanics. This could leave the hole Menconi and colleagues look to capitalize on - low end guy and families. Their product mix won't draw the teenager.

They're banking the GI name means something to their main target in the Pac NW (although means nothing to transplants). Too bad they gave up all their real estate - it'll be tough to land somewhere they don't have to fight with a higher end retailer in auto parts, fishing and $39.99 tennis shoes. The hunting angle could generate cash flow, but low margins. Maybe they'll try to make it work online first.
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0 #4 I wish them luck.Mac 2010-05-05 14:32:57
Joes died because the core values were not carried forward as the chain expanded. Its demise started several years ago. GI Joe's was not the lowest-priced, but the staff were there for the long term, and understood that higher price = more service.

When Joes expanded, new employees did not get that message. When I would ask about the location or availability of something, in an old store (say Beaverton Mall/Cedar Hills Crossing) I'd be walked through to whatever I was looking for - the interaction wasn't done until I was satisfied. Contrast that to a newer store, say Cornelius Pass or Sherwood - most of the time, my request would be met with a shrug. Well, that's fine if you're the price leader. But Joes was not. It's no surprise that folks tired of paying premium prices for subpar service.
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David Smotrys
0 #5 David Smotrys 2011-07-21 09:04:00
I have loved GI Joes from the day I first walked into the front door and have been wishing for their return ever since they closed shop. Everytime I need an auto part or camping gear of any type I find myself realizing that I cant get it at Joes anymore. I would be a loyal customer forever if they came back.
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