Growing up in Western North Carolina, Ryan Griffin has never strayed far from the natural beauty and endless opportunities for outdoor recreation in his backyard.
“I love to spend time on the rivers, on the trails mountain biking and hiking, along the winding routes on my road bike,” Griffin said. “We’ve got so many incredible things to do outside in these mountains—the possibilities are endless.”
Originally from Sylva, Griffin was a Boy Scout who found himself in nature often, whether it was camping or traversing the high peaks and low valleys of the Great Smoky and Blue Ridge mountain ranges. After starting a family of his own, Griffin eventually found his way to Saluda, a beloved outdoor hotspot for adventure. While residing in the small mountain town, he soon realized there wasn’t a place nearby to buy outdoor gear or clothing.
“I’m an entrepreneur at heart. I like to invest in things that I think will better the community and the world,” Griffin said. “There was a need for an outdoors store in Saluda, and I wanted to take the chance in making that a reality.”
Acquiring an old log building on a hillside in the town, Griffin saw the potential of the structure. After doing an extensive restoration of the property, he opened Saluda Outfitters.
“What we wanted to create was a destination for people to come and hang, to shop for gear and clothing, to have a beer, and listen to live music while enjoying great food,” Griffin said.
Quickly becoming a social hub of the community, Saluda Outfitters complements the already welcoming nature and hospitality of the town and its thriving business sector.
“Saluda is a very easy-going place. It’s relaxed,” Griffin said. “It’s a great town to spend a day or week in because there is this intersection of outdoor activities and multiple spots to have a glass of wine and listen to live music.”
Griffin noted the array of majestic waterfalls and tranquil rivers that folks can enjoy and immerse themselves in. Just up the road from Downtown Saluda is the Green River, home to some of the finest and most challenging kayaking in the Southeast and beyond.
“If you’re a person in touch with nature, then there are infinite places here that you can engage with nature,” Griffin said.
On any given afternoon or evening, the patio of Saluda Outfitters is buzzing with locals and visitors. It has become a haven for hearty conversation and kinship through nature.
“This store is meant to help people get the things they need in an effort to fully enjoy our mountains and what they offer for activities,” Griffin said. “And this is a business where people want to spend their time hanging out, too. It’s a pretty great feeling to know we can provide that.”