A new sports consignment store wants to make sports gear environmentally friendly by recycling gear — and make sports gear more affordable. Eugene Gear Traders, owned and managed by Bevin Helm, opened March 1.
Helm grew up in all over the U.S., including Eugene, and now she says she has come back to town with a goal of helping people try new sports, get gear and not break the bank.
“Don’t buy an expensive mountain bike before knowing if you even like the sport,” Helm says.
Customers can consign gear and apparel — meaning sellers make a deal with the storeowner who sells the item and then both consignee and the store itself make a profit.
Born in Bellevue, Washington, Helm quickly started a life of travel. At eight, Helm moved to the Big Island of Hawaii with her parents, where she soon became an athlete.
Helm had an untraditional childhood — her father was a triathlon trainer and the family grew up in a sports hostel on the Big Island. When she was 16, the family picked up and moved to Eugene.
Helm has been involved in sports throughout her life, and that influenced her decision to open a sporting goods consignment shop.
“I was 19 when I managed and was a buyer for a surf shop in North Bend,” she says, “The shop was called Oregon Surf Shop. I began saving, traveling and surfing during that time. I spent a lot of time in Mexico and also traveled back to Hawaii and Indonesia.” Helm says she returned to retail after moving to Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
Over the years, Helm homed in on her favorite sports to participate in: skiing, mountain biking and surfing. With the store opening, she hopes to make a small difference not just in the community but also around the world.
“I believe in creating a business that will help as many people as possible explore new sports and the outdoors,” she says. “It is also really important for me to have an environmentally friendly business. The apparel industry has been very cruel environmentally.”
For the past five years, Helm and her family lived in Bend, where she says there were already too many consignment stores, so, when the opportunity came up to move to Eugene, Helm took the chance to open a shop on this side of the Cascades.
“The outdoor industry with brands like Patagonia, Prana and Outerknown, are just a few that are leading the way,” Helm says. “I hope to be a part of reusing all the great, still very good gear that is more affordable so people can start or try sports they may not know if they want to invest in yet.”
Helm’s advice for those who may want to try a new sport but are possibly intimidated is to start out with how comfortable you are, figure out what you want to do and then go with people who are excited to show you.
“Rent the gear you are using before you buy the expensive gear,” she says
Eugene Gear Traders is located at 233 W. 5th Avenue. For more information, visit EugeneGearTraders.com. Helm says in light of the COVID-19 pandemic she is temporarily shutting her doors, but can be reached during normal work hours via firstname.lastname@example.org or 541-780-6073. Helm says she will maintain some unscheduled shop hours as well, continuing to receive product and add interior upgrades and design.