What's It Like to Stock the Greystone Store?

If you’re anything like us, holiday shopping is in full swing at your house! ‘Tis the season for making your list, checking it twice, and finding the perfect gifts for all the Greystone Girls in your life.

But did you know that this is also the time of year that The Greystone Store shops for their summer items? Summer may still feel far away, but they have already picked out so many great items that you will love seeing in the Store next year!

So to contine our “What’s it like?” series, we’re spending a few minutes with Katie Miller Grant, who, in addition to directing Junior Camp, also manages The Greystone Store. She’ll take you behind the scenes and tell you all about the process of selecting and purchasing items that you will love. She may even give a few hints at what you might see next summer!

Much of her shopping for the Store is done in the fall, but if you have an item that you would love to see The Greystone Store carry, She is always looking for new items that our camp community will enjoy. In the meantime, read on to hear what it’s like to buy for The Greystone Store!

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When do you start selecting items for the store each year?

I start during the summer of the current session (so I started during Main Camp 2022 for summer of 2023). Some of our suppliers like Cotopaxi ask us to place our orders for the next summer almost 9 months ahead of delivery! Our friend, former camper, counselor and now camper parent, Patty Douglass, ran the Store for several years and taught us the ins and outs of the retail world. It is a lot of work to run a store, but it is also so much fun!

How do you know if an item is right for camp?

We consider anything that might be useful at camp or remind us of camp! I was a camper and counselor for many years a long time ago, and even though a lot has changed, there are still always certain things that a camper needs. We love to find cute and colorful items that make us smile. We always love inspirational things that will uplift. Most of the time our picks are right on target for what our campers like, but sometimes we choose a “dud!”

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Tell us about the process from beginning to end!

First of all we like to see what the current trends in styles and colors are. Not every camper is the same so we try to have a lot of styles, colors and price points. We then attend several shows throughout the fall and winter. At these shows, all of the people selling items for stores will have their products on display, including all of their new items for the next season. That is where we get a lot of great ideas for clothes and accessories that campers will like.

Clothing is a little more complicated! We start most of the work on clothing in September. First of all we choose the styles of clothing we want. T-shirts are pretty simple - Comfort Colors shirts are always a hit, but we will also throw in other companies if their colors are good! When we get to Sweatshirts and nicer tees, we also have to consider the style, materials and fit of that item. It takes a lot of looking through things to choose the best pieces of clothing!

We have about 4 main clothing vendors and they do such a great job with all of our designs. Some designs are exclusive to Greystone. We throw out an idea and they will custom design it for us. For other vendors, we choose from hundreds of designs that they already have in stock, looking for the perfect graphic for our girls.

After you choose an item of clothing and then design, you then need to decide what colors to put that design on. We most always offer 2 or 3 choices of colors!

The hardest part is then deciding on how many of each size to order! We have youth sizes and adult sizes at camp. It really is a guessing game because you never know what shirt is going to be the favorite at camp!

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What happens once you know you want to sell something in the store?

It is a pretty long process to open new accounts so that we can place orders for new products. If I see something new and exciting, then I will contact the seller and open an account. You have to be approved to be able to order from a vendor, and some of them are very picky about who they will let open accounts! After you have an account, then you look through all of the products that they sell and choose the things that will fit the store best.

We will place our orders in the fall and winter for delivery to camp in March & April. The company will then send us web images that we can put on our website. We upload the information and web image to our website, and in March, we unveil all of our NEW PRODUCTS for the summer of 2023, and start taking orders that will be either sent home in later April or delivered in camp.

Can you give any hints at what might be available in the store next year?

We have some GREAT new brands that will be coming in March 2023. We will be carrying Chaco, Hydroflask, Fjallraven backpacks, ENO hammocks, and more!

Anything else you want to share?

We work hard to choose cute items in all price points so that there are plenty of choices. We LOVE suggestions and welcome all parent and camper input into items that would be good for the store so please feel free to contact us at any time!