Nature Outfitters Owner Tim McMannis knows about blazing trails through unfamiliar territory, whether it’s on a wilderness hike or in a business venture.

When McMannis first earned a degree in natural resources from Wilmington College, he had firm plans to become a naturalist or park ranger. Soon, however, he found himself drawn to the recreational side of nature and took a part-time job as manager of Wilderness Trace Outfitters.
The thought to open his own business evolved over time, McMannis says. When Wilderness Trace Outfitters closed in 1988, McMannis became inspired. At only 30 years old, with almost no collateral and no formal business education, he found it impossible to get a bank loan. McMannis perservered, maxing out his credit cards for the down payment on the store. In 1989, “with two or three tents and a couple kayaks in the door,” Nature Outfitters was born.The retailer “began very humbly and survived on a shoestring,” McMannis remembers.

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