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Writer / Seth Johnson

Photographer / Michael Durr

Rusted Moon Outfitters is much more than your average outdoor retailer.

“I’m really uncomfortable saying we have a sales staff because we don’t have a sales team – that’s not what we’re here to do,” says Ron Lewis, manager. “We’re here to help. We’re here to educate. We’re here to facilitate the outdoor lifestyle. I like to think that’s why we’re still here after 19 years.”

Rusted Moon OutfittersFounded in March of 2002, the Broad Ripple shop celebrates its 19th anniversary in 2021 as it continues to serve the outdoor needs of central Indiana. With more than 75 brands in stock, Rusted Moon carries all things outdoors, including camping gear, apparel, footwear and much more, with an expert staff on hand to answer questions.

After years of working at the now-defunct sporting goods chain Galyan’s, Henry Miller founded Rusted Moon Outfitters in 2002, choosing to make outdoor living the primary focus of his store.

“The dream over the long haul was to bring something more intimate, personalized and focused towards what we do – hiking, skiing, paddling and the outdoor life,” Lewis says

Early on, the business certainly benefited from its location on the Monon Trail.

“In the early days, I think just having our sign in the front of the store pointed towards the Monon was how half of our first customers found their way in the door,” Lewis says. “Social media, phones and all of that have really changed life a lot, and that wasn’t a big part of our early growth like you could guess it is now.”

Like most small businesses, the Rusted Moon staff closed the shop’s doors at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, before eventually figuring out a way to safely resume business.

“When we were allowed to come back in, we stopped and said, ‘Not only do we need to exist as a business, we need to offer our customer base and our community what we can do to help them through these weird times,’” Lewis says. “When we weren’t allowed to or chose not to have people inside the building, we were helping a lot of people from out front.”

Throughout the pandemic, Lewis says the business has focused on helping people “stay healthy, be outside and enjoy themselves in a safe and responsible manner.”

Rusted Moon Outfitters“Make no mistake, we acknowledge how lucky we are,” he says. “I don’t want to say how this has played out has been beneficial to us. It’s not like we flourished, but we existed. We’re lucky that we’re in a segment of society and business that people use as a release.”

Heading into the spring, Rusted Moon will continue serving central Indiana’s outdoor needs, as patrons begin to get outside yet again with warmer weather on the horizon.

“We’re moving right back into life on the water,” Lewis says. “Kayaking and all things paddling are what we’re charging ahead into right now. If the people reading this are interested in doing that, they should act sooner rather than later because I do predict product flow issues.”

“With warmer weather coming, people who aren’t so fond of the cold weather are going to be able to get out and do some family camping, or even just hiking,” adds Shiron Miller, co-owner. “We’re making sure that we have everything available that you would need for that, whether it’s tents, sleeping bags, daypacks or backpacks.”

Rusted Moon Outfitters is located at 6410 Cornell Avenue in Indianapolis. You can reach them via phone at 317-253-4453, or visit their website at RustedMoonIndy.com.

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