Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - - Front Page - By Bob Batz Jr.

With their April 23 Gear Fest, Chris Kamin­ski and Chris­tine Ik­sic are test­ing the wa­ters — and splash­ing in a lit­tle beer.

The two Pitts­burgh-area friends are host­ing a con­sign­ment sale of used out­doors gear — packs and tents, bikes and kayaks, snow­shoes, cross-coun­try skis, hik­ing boots and out­doors wear, camp stoves, etc. — that Sun­day in the gym­na­sium at the Ace Ho­tel in East Lib­erty. They’ve in­vited more than 20 ven­dors and ex­hibitors, as well as sev­eral lo­cal brew­eries whose beer will be for sale, with a back­drop of live mu­sic and prize raf­fles.

They’re billing it as a cel­e­bra­tion of the re­gion’s out­doors scene, of Earth Day and of Pitts­burgh Craft Beer Week.

But it’s also a pop-up pre­view of the busi­ness they plan to open, re­tail­ing both used and new spe­cialty gear for out­doors­peo­ple like them­selves: 3 Rivers Out­door Co.

“We re­ally want it to be a com­mu­nity cen­ter and not just a re­tail store,” says Ms. Ik­sic, 36, of Aspin­wall, who en­vi­sions a place where peo­ple can come and plan their next ad­ven­ture over a mug of lo­cal beer. She says that she and Mr. Kamin­ski, who lives in Shaler, al­ready are look­ing for fi­nanc­ing at a lo­ca­tion in Lawrenceville that could open next spring.

Mean­while, she now works sell­ing GPS equip­ment; he just started work­ing for the forth­com­ing Main Event En­ter­tain­ment venue in North Fayette af­ter other recre­ation-ori­ented jobs. They’re both boomerang Pitts­burghers who pur­sued their out­doors pas­sions else­where — in­clud­ing Colorado for him, New Zealand and be­yond for her — be­fore they wound up back in Pitts­burgh and re­al­ized all of the out­door charms that this re­gion has to of­fer, from white­wa­ter pad­dling to ice climb­ing.

They’d like 3 Rivers Out­door to be a hub for con­nect­ing peo­ple who do and want to do stuff like that. Ms. Ik­sic ex­plains that their ethos will be sus­tain­abil­ity, hence their in­ter­est in sell­ing used gear; the new gear they sell will be from com­pa­nies that share their vi­sion.

That’s the idea be­hind Gear Fest, too: Par­tic­i­pants can clean out their base­ments and garages and make a lit­tle green, while keep­ing their old gear out of the land­fill, and maybe pick up gear they can use with­out buy­ing some­thing brand new.

“Get­ting into the out­doors can be re­ally ex­pen­sive,” she says. “Get­ting used gear helps peo­ple jump that hur­dle,” es­pe­cially if they’re not yet sure if they’ll like a par­tic­u­lar ac­tiv­ity.

Plus, if you’re like her and imag­ine the un­used gear fill­ing your clos­ets as hav­ing per­son­al­i­ties, a la the movie “Toy Story,” “Now your prod­uct is go­ing to some­one lo­cally who is go­ing to bring more sto­ries and more life to that prod­uct.”

The sale is to work like this: At reg­is­tra­tion, sell­ers set the price they want to get for each item. If it sells, they get 80 per­cent of the amount, via check or PayPal, soon af­ter the day of the sale. The cou­ple keep 19 per­cent and do­nate 1 per­cent to First Waves, a lo­cal non­profit that uses standup pad­dle­board­ing, the art of film­mak­ing and dig­i­tal me­dia to in­spire con­ser­va­tion of lo­cal wa­ter­ways and men­tor­ship for atrisk youth.

Sell­ers are asked to clean and wash all gear and to let the cou­ple know in ad­vance if they are bring­ing very large items such as ca­noes, or a lot of items, to make sure there will be room for them.

Cer­tain items can­not be sold at sale, in­clud­ing safety equip­ment — such as hel­mets, har­nesses and life jack­ets — and nonout­doors cloth­ing.

The cou­ple have held in­for­ma­tional nights at sev­eral brew­eries where peo­ple could pre­reg­is­ter and drop off gear for the sale. They’ll be do­ing an­other one Satur­day night and Sun­day for tick­ethold­ers at the Banff Moun­tain Film Fes­ti­val at the By­ham Theater, Down­town, pre­sented by Ven­ture Out­doors (ven­ture­out­doors.

Shop­pers can get an ad­vance look at some of the items that are for sale that the cou­ple are post­ing on their web­site and on so­cial me­dia (sell­ers are in­vited to post pho­tos on In­sta­gram tagged #gear­festpgh, #3rocpgh or #usedgearnew­beer).

The day of the Gear Fest, sell­ers can bring their gear to the Ace Ho­tel to reg­is­ter for sale from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The ac­tual sales and other fun will run from noon to 5 p.m. Sell­ers need to pick up un­sold gear from 5 to 7 p.m. or con­sider it do­nated.

Beers will be avail­able from East End Brew­ing Co. of Larimer, Grist House Craft Brew­ery of Mil­l­vale, Hop Farm Brew­ing Co. of Lawrenceville and Spoon­wood Brew­ing Co. of Bethel Park.

Also par­tic­i­pat­ing will be sev­eral mak­ers and ven­dors of nat­u­ral and/or out­doorsy goods, clubs and out­fit­ters such as Three Rivers Row­ing As­so­ci­a­tion and the new As­cend climb­ing/yoga/fit­ness stu­dio, and non­profit groups in­clud­ing Al­legheny County Parks and the state De­part­ment of Con­ser­va­tion and Nat­u­ral Re­sources.

Read all about it at gear­

One of the out­fit­ters, Wilder­ness Voyageurs of Ohiopyle, still is spon­sor­ing the big an­nual Beer and Gear Fest in that Youghiogheny River mecca on June 17. De­tails can be found at wilder­ aboutwv/ohiopyle-events/ beer-and-gear.

Ms. Ik­sic says she and Mr. Kamin­ski might hold an­other Gear Fest in the fall and might make it an an­nual event — at their store.

Stephanie Stras­burg/Post-Gazette

Gear Fest co-founder Chris­tine Ik­sic talks with Paul Pis­tella of Mil­l­vale while col­lect­ing used out­doors gear Sun­day at Grist House Craft Brew­ery in Mil­l­vale. The goods will be sold on con­sign­ment at Gear Fest.

Stephanie Stras­burg/Post-Gazette

Chris­tine Ik­sic and Scott Fer­rari, left, both of Aspin­wall, col­lect used out­doors gear at Grist House Craft Brew­ery in Mil­l­vale in prepa­ra­tion for this month’s Gear Fest, co-founded by Ms. Ik­sic. The event will fea­ture a con­sign­ment sale of out­door equip­ment and ap­parel and also beer from lo­cal brew­eries.

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