Sometimes all i want to do in the winter is cozy up by the fire with a cup of cocoa and never leave the house. However, that joy of curling up by the fire is ten times more satisfying if it’s done after a long day of snowy expeditions, be it skiing, snowboarding, hiking or snowshoeing. And that’s exactly the kind of winter fun I got excited about when I visited Downcity Outfitters.
The relatively small space downtown on Washington Street is any outdoor enthusiast’s dream – all the walls are stacked high with shelves full of eye-catching boots and shoes, outdoor gear of all kinds and even a playfully hung bicycle, all of which really hit the store’s overall blend of outdoorsy and stylish. Downcity is primarily a menswear store, but carries many products for women and kids as well. As I browsed the authentic, hardy-looking flannels and denim, I was suddenly filled with the thought of the singular pleasure of winter in New England, and felt the urge to organize a camping trip with my friends.
Owner Henry Tingley describes the space as “an outdoor lifestyle store with an emphasis on authentic goods, American-made goods and good quality products.” A Providence native with a strong background in retail, Henry seeks to guide everyone towards the perfect outdoor product for them and find exactly what they’re looking for. “With a locally run store you get that sort of old world fantastic customer service that you can’t really get in another setting. All the staff here are incredibly well- versed in everything from the technical uses of a North Face jacket to how the leather is going to break in on a pair of
Red Wing shoes,” he said.
I definitely got the vibe that everyone there was not only eager and willing to help, but also really knew all about the clothes and gear that they were working with.
Clearly, it’s no ordinary outdoor outfitters. With an emphasis on quality as well as a love for the Providence area, I found products from popular nationwide brands like slick and stylish boots from Red Wing, insulated winter coats from Canada Goose and some classic Hunter boots, as well as local products that are made in Providence or designed by Providence locals, like jackets from Cleverhood. There are also a host of well-known international brands and smaller fair trade products from around the globe.
The goal of Downcity is to provide the gear that’ll last you a lifetime – as Henry says, “Buy it once, buy it right.” Whether it’s a local Gob Shop T-shirt or boots that were handmade in Portugal, it’s going to not only be beautiful, but long-lasting.
I left feeling eager to embrace the winter weather and the unique activities only this season can bring. Maybe I’ll even try some winter camping this year. Either way, I’ll make sure to head over to Downcity or browse their website when I’m prepping for my next big outdoor adventure.
65 Washington Street