Friends launch outdoors store

Published online: Jun 25, 2011 News

When Josh Soholt and Tyler Matthews were randomly paired as roommates their freshman year at the University of Wyoming, the two were unaware they would become lifelong friends and eventual business partners.

Soholt and Matthews on June 17 launched Gannett Ridge Hunting Equipment in Old Town, an outfitting store specializing in mountain backcountry hunting.

"We saw a lot of stores going toward more mass appeal, and we thought there might be a gap for the hard-core backcountry mountain hunter and we went after it," Soholt said. The store doesn't stock anything that "won't benefit mountain hunters," he said, including bowhunters.

The two have shared a passion for hunting "as long as we can both remember," Soholt said Wednesday. "It's all we've ever thought about and done. We thought we better figure out how to make money at it or we'd be in trouble."

After wandering about a bit separately in South Dakota, Idaho, Wyoming, Arizona and Colorado, the two brought their fascination with the sport and the gear that goes with it to Fort Collins. After living and hunting in so many western states, Soholt said, they had a really broad view of western hunting in general. While the store is in Northern Colorado, Soholt said "we're really after the entire western market."

Rumor has it they settled in Fort Collins to appease their wives, who didn't like Wyoming. That's not completely true, Soholt said, but admitted Matthews' wife, Shawna, from South Dakota and his wife, Kate, from Wisconsin, "are a bit happier being down the hill in warmer, calmer, sunnier Fort Collins."