Business Enterprise Award 2012
Presented to John Graham, Managing Director of Go Outdoors by Jane Kielty, Area Director, Aon UK Limited.
From humble beginnings after a management buy-out of CCC Outdoors in Sheffield in 1998, GO Outdoors is now the UK’s fastest growing outdoor retailer with 40 stores UK-wide.
The first GO Outdoors opened in Coventry in 2004, and became established as a benchmark for the future. Success in Coventry led to new departments such as cycling, fishing, running, riding, and climbing, as well as innovations such as indoor tent displays and climbing walls. A series of store openings followed, bringing GO Outdoors to new areas of the UK.
Four more new stores have opened already this year in Swansea, Chester, Penrith and Poole – each focused on the original vision to offer the UK’s widest range of outdoor goods at the lowest prices.
Led by managing director John Graham and president Paul Caplan, the Sheffield-based company now employs more than 1,200 staff.
GO Outdoors board and managers share a passion for the outdoors that goes beyond the business. John Graham is a passionate climber who believes if you don’t share your customer’s passion and knowledge you risk being quickly found out. It’s that passion that inspires customers to seek out more new outdoor adventures using the best kit for the job!
John Graham, originally from North Wales, was drawn to Sheffield by his passion for climbing in the Peak District.
While working at a climbing shop in Derbyshire he first came up with his own plans for an outdoor retail business.
For John, his remarkable story almost never happened. In March 2007, Graham almost died when the motorcycle he was riding was involved in a serious accident. He suffered a broken neck, a shattered right arm and also broke his pelvis in two places.
Yet he was back working inside three weeks. And back climbing again too.