Dan's Outside

I go, I see, I do, I walk, I think, I like…

Mel Cotton

Tom Mangan of Two-Heel Drive notes that Mel Cotton passed away recently. (“RIP, Mel Cotton“)

That won’t mean much to people from outside the Santa Clara Valley, or even to folks from the Valley who have come to think of REI as the One and Only Outdoor Store in the area. But the Mel Cotton’s store on San Carlos was one of the first (and perhaps the longest surviving?) outdoor stores in the San Jose area, having opened in the late 1950s or so.

I was brought up not too far from that store, and despite having shopped at the whole lineage of South Bay outdoor shops (Freemans, Western Mountaineering, Mountain Equipage, and more) Mel’s was the first place where I learned to lust after outdoor gear and dream of becoming a hiker, backpacker, skier and more. (No, Mel’s hunting section never did tempt me… :-)

The store lives on and retains a certain appealing funkiness lacking at the more modern and corporate outdoor stores.

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February 19, 2008 - Posted by | Commentary

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