On Wednesday, April 18th, our Gregory crew of BK, Wayne and Dion left our Beijing hotel at 6:00AM to fly to Xian, approximately 2 /12 hours north of Beijing. Our plan was to visit Xian and present our show to customers, fans and media. Xian is an ancient city with a long and illustrious history. Most of us in the west may not know the name of Xian, but we have likely heard of the Terracotta warriors, which were discovered in underground tombs just outside of Xian. Xian was the capital of the first dynasty in China, the Qin, and it was during the first emperor’s rule that the tombs were constructed. Today Xian is a busy city of about 8 million that straddles the Yellow River and is surrounded by the Qinling Mountains. Tourism is a major industry, as visitors from all over the world come to see the ancient Terracotta warriors.
Upon arriving in Xian, we were greeted at the airport by staff from our Gregory retailer in Xian and Shanxi province, Green Ants. The group was waiting at the arrival gate with bouquets of flowers for us! We felt a bit sheepish, like ordinary folks mistaken for royalty, when the young women presented us with flowers!
That afternoon, we played tourists and visited the Shanxi Museum of Natural History. It is filled with information about the long history of this ancient city. The discovery of the Qin tombs in 1974 began a process of discovery that has yielded an unbelievable amount of archaeological artifacts that have helped to create a richly detailed history of what life was like over 2000 years ago. In the museum are a number of treasures uncovered at the tombs, but the actual trove of these relics are found at the site itself, about 15 km outside of the city, which we also visited.
The following day we spent the morning visiting a variety of outdoor shops in Xian. There are smaller “mom-and-pop” shops and also some much larger stores. The equipment for sale in the shops is a mix of Chinese, European and American brands. Even 10 years ago, it was hard to find global brands in China’s few outdoor stores, but that has changed dramatically in the past decade and now you can find most of the major brands that one would find in stores in North America or Europe.
In the afternoon, we arrived at the Green Ants flagship store, where we presented our show to outdoor enthusiasts, Gregory fans and journalists. A nice crowd of approximately 50 people came out to see Wayne and spend time with us. After our presentation, we again did the “oldest pack contest” and this time didn’t have an 800-pound gorilla like Ninja in the contest, but we did have some old packs going back to the mid-90’s. The winning pack was one of our original mid-sized packs from the Escape Series, called the Reality, which debuted around 1994. After the contest, there was more pack signing for Wayne and we wrapped up our visit to Green Ants and the city of Xian.
Once again, we immensely enjoyed our visit to China. It has been interesting to witness the changes in the country first-hand over the past few years as we’ve traveled there and we look forward to continuing to grow and nurture our relationships there in the years to come.