The Gear Closet Offers Outdoor Gear And Clothing

  • Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Jim Ledbetter
Jim Ledbetter

The Tennessee Student Environmental Alliance (TenneSEA) Clean Water Project and Caribbean SEA have opened a resale shop for outdoor gear and clothing called The Gear Closet. The shop will serve as a fundraiser for the clean water projects done by Caribbean SEA  and TenneSEA, two affiliated organizations that empower kids and their communities to work for clean water in developing countries and in Tennessee.

The Gear Closet officially debuted at Outdoor Chattanooga’s Outdoor Expo and Gear Swap, during the City of Chattanooga Spring Fest last Saturday, as well as at the Chattanooga Market’s Opening Day on Earth Day last Sunday. 

Organizers said, "We have had an overwhelming response from the community so far.  It is truly a community project, which has included help from Outdoor Chattanooga, Tommy Austin, Rock Creek Outfitters, the Raines Group, Northside Neighborhood House, Little Piggies Consignment Sale and all the folks who have cleaned out their closets so far to supply the shop with gear. Jim Ledbetter donated an old canoe and his creative genius to design the store logo and sign. Carlos Pride and David Vine and lots of CSAS alumni are involved (Chris Calhoun, store manager, graduated in the first graduating class of CSAS.) 

The store is manned by volunteers and the inventory comes from the community. All proceeds go to support the kids and communities who are eager to take better care of their water. Several local schools are also having Gear Drives to help out, including Boyd Buchanan, Notre Dame, Signal Mountain and GPS. 

The Gear Closet is really a reuse and recycling program, allowing one to donate or consign his or her old outdoor gear and clothing so others can put it to use. This is encouraged by Patagonia and their local sales rep is consigning a lot of new gear at the store.

Mary Beth Sutton, executive director of both Caribbean SEA and TenneSEA explained the concept: “We are starting as a pop up type store to minimize expense, create a good following and find just the right long term location for our resale shop.  This will be a long term, more sustainable funding source for our clean water projects. Everyone benefits from clean water.”

Store Manager Chris Calhoun, retired Marine Corps, praised the store site, saying, “The Clyde’s Auto Glass location on West Main Street is a great location for a pop up to get a feel for the activity in the area.  Who knows where we will pop up next, but I suspect it will be on East Main or in North Chattanooga.”

The Gear Closet will be open at the present location at 122 West Main Street until May 20, at which time it will close up, be restocked and then by the end of June, re-open in its next location.  Check out the Gear Closet on Facebook or on the website ( to keep up with the next move.

The Gear Closet can always use more donations, which can be dropped at  
-Outdoor Chattanooga, 200 River St. in Coolidge Park, Chattanooga, Tn., 643-6888 
-Leisure Time Dive, Ski and Travel, 3520 Brainerd Road, Chattanooga, Tn. 37411, 622-1335  
-Mountain Arts Community Center, 809 Kentucky Ave., Signal Mtn., 886-1959
-The Gear Closet during open hours which are Wednesday through Friday, from 2-7 p.m., Saturday, from 11 a.m.-5 p.m., and Sunday from 1-5 p.m.

Consignment items must be brought to the store.

All donations are tax deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law.

For consignment items or more information, please contact Chris Calhoun at 414-1292 or or Mary Beth Sutton at 413-0471 or

To learn more about our programs, please visit

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