Business

Boise’s Benchmark outdoor store to close after sale

Emil Hutton, shown in 2005, owned other Benchmark stores for 15 years before moving to Boise.
Emil Hutton, shown in 2005, owned other Benchmark stores for 15 years before moving to Boise. jjaszewski@idahostatesman.com

Boise outdoor gear store The Benchmark at 625 Vista Ave. will close as soon as it sells its inventory, owner Emil Hutton said Thursday.

The store has sold outdoor apparel and gear for backpacking and climbing for 31 years. It ran an ad promoting a “big sale” in Thursday’s Idaho Statesman.

Hutton, 70, said he’s closing shop and “retiring to the Idaho mountains.”

He opened the original The Benchmark store in Tuscon, Ariz., in 1970. Since then, he has owned and operated 10 stores, including the Boise store starting in 1985. The Benchmark has eight employees. Hutton said he will find a buyer or tenant for the building.

Hutton said he’s frustrated by the rise of online shopping.

“Without people, life is pretty hollow,” Hutton said. “Just think, if life was just point-and-click.”

Hutton said he expects shoppers to turn away from online retailers when they realize they need help buying hiking boots with a proper fit.

“The pendulum will return,” he said. “People will get pretty tired of no help. You don’t have time to make all of the mistakes you’ll make without help.”

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