Adventures closing after nearly 14 yearsJune 4, 2020
By ALLEN LAMAN
JASPER — We call it Adventures Recreation and Gear.
But that storefront at the corner of Third and Jackson streets, the one that has built a reputation for supplying niche outdoor equipment and supplies not usually found in a city of Jasper’s size — it actually has a different legal name.
Mundy Family Fun.
For nearly 14 years, the Mundys brought just that to Dubois County. That stretch will soon end.
The shop’s doors will permanently close on July 31. Adventures’ shuttering was prompted by the combination of a severe COVID-19-induced supply chain disruption and an uncertain future. Owners had no choice but to hang it up.
“It’s been a fun ride,” Phil Mundy, one of the shop’s four co-owners, said in a Tuesday phone interview. “And we enjoyed it.”
The business was launched by Phil, his wife, Karen, and Phil’s nephew and niece, Chad and Holly, with a clear goal in mind. Bring in quality recreational products that typically aren’t found in small markets.
Adventures also offered items that appealed to wider audiences, like basketball goals, trampolines and swingsets. Cycling products were introduced about a year after it launched.
The family roots of the business run deep; products sold inside its walls reflected the Mundys’ interests and their own love of the outdoors. Phil doesn’t see sales as purely monetary transactions — he sees them as a way of equipping buyers with the tools they need to have fun.
But as the pandemic hit and persisted, continuing to be that area hub for items typically found only in big cities became harder and harder for the Mundys.
“Unfortunately, when this virus thing hit, it was less of us making the decision, and more of the COVID virus making the decision for us,” Phil said of the impending closure. “It literally flipped the recreational world upside down.”
The issue wasn’t a lack of support from a shortage of customers. It, instead, came from a stalled supply chain, which Phil said made many of the big-ticket items that “make the wheels go around” impossible to stock.
Friday, he tracked how many callers phoned in to inquire about products that he can’t currently bring in due to shortages. Before lunch, 16 people had called, with money ready, and “were almost begging” to purchase trampolines, Phil recalled.
“And I’m like, ‘You don’t understand,’” he said. “‘And I tried not to be rude, but I was sitting there going, ‘There are none out there. Literally, you will not find a trampoline for sale [on] this side of the Mississippi.’”
Other hard-to-find goods include bicycles, swingsets, kayaks and basketball hoops.
“When they’re all gone,” Phil said, “we got nothing to keep us in business anymore.”
Interested buyers have called Adventures from as far away as Boulder, Colorado; Chicago; New York City; Portland, Maine; Louisiana; and Mississippi.
Mundy has had to turn them all away.
Everybody asks him why this shortage exists. And the answer, Phil said, is relatively simple. Unfortunately, as in many fields, too many recreational products are made in China. And when the virus hit, those overseas plants shut down for two to three months, causing a zeroing out of exports to stores like Adventures.
Suppliers could not tell Adventures leadership when their products would be back in stock because they just don’t know. And because Jasper isn’t located in a major market like New York or Los Angeles, Adventures isn’t high up on the receiving list when they return to the United States.
“And without any type of answer, without any type of knowledge or confirmation or anything from our manufacturers saying that their products will be available at a certain time, it left us no choice,” Phil said.
Throughout the interview conducted for this story, Mundy consistently praised the community for the continued support it has showed Adventures over the years. He encouraged readers to shop at local businesses because they are the ones supporting the community.
Adventures will operate normally until its closing date. Footwear, clothing, camping supplies and bicycle accessories are still available for purchase, and high-demand stock will continue to be ordered in the nearly two months ahead.