The Gear Den brings business to Water St.

This week The Gear Den opened at 130 Water Street, replacing The Mountain Goat, an outdoor sporting goods store that closed last January. Under new management, the revamped version still offers outdoor gear and equipment, but now emphasizes sustainability and humanitarianism. The Gear Den also hopes to occupy a prominent role in the Williamstown community.

Alums Katy Gathright ’12 and Imran Khoja ’12 opened the Gear Den as a secondary business venture: Last year, the pair won a business planning competition sponsored by the College, earning $15,000 to launch their online business, Designed Good (“Pitching plans, Ephs hit home run,” April 11).

The Designed Good mission is to offer “functional, high-quality items that are good for the world,” Khoja said. This means stocking products that are “organic, recycled and cost-driven,” such as bottle openers made from discarded skateboards and t-shirts made from organic cotton. The company also offers products whose sales will benefit groups in need.

The Gear Den is a natural extension of Designed Good. As part of their mission to foster sustainability, Gathright and Khoja plan to sell outdoor goods on consignment at The Gear Den.

To do this, they partnered with local business owner Steve Hinchliffe, who owns Spring Street’s Nature’s Closet. “Our first task is to get a ton of stuff to offer to people,” Hinchliffe said. “It’s a lot of work, but it’s definitely exciting.”

Gathright, Khoja and Hinchliffe claimed they are particularly invested in the new project out of a dedication to the College  and to the Williamstown communities. As former students, Gathright and Khoja seek to contribute to the continuation of “all the things we loved about [Williams],” as well as institute “things we wish we had [loved about Williams].” The three hope the Gear Den will become a successful store, but also a community gathering place, where Williamstown residents and students alike can meet up to go for a run, socialize or study. They also hope to host communitity events such as tag sales and clothing swaps.

One of the primary goals of the Gear Den is to share a passion for sustainable and socially responsible goods with students. “We want to make sure we’re connecting with students,” Khoja said. “We see an opportunity to make [the community] better through the work we’re doing, and hopefully students will get excited about what we’re trying to do.”