The end of an era: after decades of sales, the PCTA has closed our online store.

UPDATE: As of April 13, 2020, the PCTA Store is officially closed.

In the days before the internet, the PCTA store was a “bricks and mortar” operation: in 1992, volunteer and board member Laraine Downer managed the store out of her garage. The Communicator magazine once had several pages in every issue showcasing store products with a mail-in order form. Later, the store moved to the PCTA office, which doubled as a distribution center for PCT-branded products purchased by fans of the trail. Eventually, with the rise of the web and e-commerce, the store moved online.

Two pages from the 1999 PCTA store mail-order catalog.

In recent years, visitors to the PCTA website have seen a link that says “Shop.” This was the virtual entrance to our online store, where we continued to sell a variety of PCT and trail-related merchandise—such as PCT emblem pins, t-shirts, socks, mugs, guidebooks, and maps. Online shoppers have also purchased memberships and made donations through the store.

As the retail world and our community has evolved, we have evolved with it—from Laraine’s garage, to the PCTA office, to cyberspace.

Though thousands of us have shown our love for the trail by purchasing products through the PCTA website, running an online store is costly and time-consuming, and requires significant effort in areas like product selection, inventory maintenance, setting up the virtual storefront, tracking orders, and order fulfillment and shipping. In recent years the PCTA store was made possible through a partnership with Sacramento nonprofit PRIDE Industries.

At the end of 2019 (before the COVID-19 pandemic), we were informed that the e-commerce software platform behind the store required a mandatory upgrade to keep it running. The cost of the upgrade was substantial. After weighing the costs and benefits of maintaining the store through 2020 and beyond, we made the hard decision to close the store. We recognize that some in our community may be disappointed.

Stay tuned as we explore new ways to connect our community with PCT maps, books, hats, and more while supporting the trail.

Author: Scott Wilkinson

Scott Wilkinson is the PCTA’s Content Development Director. A former professional musician, Scott has 20+ years of experience in almost every marketing role. Before joining the PCTA he was a marketing/creative director at West Virginia University and the University of Oregon. A serious outdoor addict, Scott is an experienced whitewater paddler, hang glider pilot, flyfisher, mountain biker, and (of course) hiker and backpacker.