Thrift store Sierra Trading Post parka

Yesterday at local thrift store I was choosing between a North Face goretex shell and a Sierra Trading Post midweight parka. The NF was missing its zip in liner and I already have 2 other GT shells so I opted for the STP for $3 and in perfect condition with lots of pockets, double front zipper and stowable hood.

Does anyone know when STP sold their own brand label of clothing?

I am surprised to hear that you found a product labeled by them. They had a handful of stores around the mountain west in the mid 80s into the early 2000s and their outlet in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, was my first exposure to them in 2002 when I was working on an archaeology site in the nearby National Elk Refuge and would root around in their bins of discounted name brand “overstock” on my days off in town for Gramicci shorts, Royal Robbins tee shirts and Hi Tec hiking boots. And over the next 15 years or so I regularly bought items from their on line store, at least until they shifted to fashion clothing and dry goods and drifted away from outdoor sports gear.

They started out and continued as an “off price” retailer, buying up bulk discontinued and overstocked goods from other retailers and manufacturers. I am not aware of them having done any manufacturing or self branding but maybe they did so at some point. They were acquired some time in the past 10 years by the TJ Maxx conglomerate and now operate as “Sierra” in some malls with their sister stores. But, like TJ Maxx and Marshall’s, I don’t believe they ever did their own production or branding. At least I never saw any in their stores or print or on line catalogs. In-house labelling is a whole different business than off price and “remainder” selling. My sister in law’s family were among the off-price pioneers in the 70’s and 80’s, founding Burlington Coat Factory and the NY local fashion chain, Cohoe’s. It’s a business model based on the serendipity of selling what you can harvest from other sellers, not on the whole other more complicated process of designing and ordering your own lines of goods.

However, there have long been overseas garment makers who copy logos from established companies and sew them into their products. So it may be a case of that. I worked in the 70s for a local indie outfitter who had a rather unique logo that a designer friend had made for them. I was surprised to find a down vest (made in Taiwan) at a discount store that had an EXACT copy of their logo and business name inside of it (we did not produce our own products). I am not surprised when I find rip off copies of national brands like North Face and Columbia, but a knockoff of one tiny store in Pittsburgh, PA, was kind of weird and too exact to be a coincidence.

Thank you for sharing your experinces with STP. I have ordered items many items over the years prior and like you found it good value. I had not considered the counterfeit possibility. My new parka appears to be well made with good materials. Regardless of its DNA, a good deal for $3.

Your history reminds me of being stationed in the Navy in Alameda in 1983. North Face and REI has shops in Berkley with amazing deals. Likewise in Boston around 1979 with EMS.

These days $3 will barely buy you a cup of coffee, so it sounds like a good deal to me!

Yes, that is a deal. My best clothing snag to date was a Class 5 goretex mountain parka in pristine shape at the local veterans thrift store for $5.95. And at that same store I found an REI expedition baffled down jacket with integral hood. It was only $20 (at the time the catalog price of one of those was about $225) and too big for me. But I bought it and took it to my outdoor club meeting that evening and sold it to a fellow member who was going to be climbing Huascaran in the Peruvian Andes. He was thrilled to pay me $60 for it and reported several months later after the expedition that it had served him well.

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We have a regional chain of “off price” stores called Gabe’s here in PA that often has good brands of outdoor gear for ridiculously low prices – I think they buy bulk lots of returned and surplus goods from catalog retailers. They have had Marmot and Mountain Hard Wear Goretex shell jackets (for under $40), and various outdoor clothing items and shoes from Royal Robbins, Columbia, Patagonia and Merrell all for a fraction of list price. I even have a really nice windblock fleece jacket that is EMS house brand that found its way to the store – cost me $14.99…