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INTERVIEW: Adventure Bound onthefly

John Rounds brings a family passion back to Ellicottville

Interview with:




SNOWED-IN: John, welcome back to Ellicottville! What were some of the reasons you decided to come back and reopen Adventure Bound?

ROUNDS: It’s good to be back! Reopening Adventure Bound as Adventure Bound onthefly was a combination of several factors. The first, and most obvious, was that the space is one of the nicest retail locations available in the Village. You walk around and you see Dina’s, Dekdebruns, Earth Arts, etc. - these are decade type scenarios. So we knew that if we wanted to open, it would be now or never. Secondly, the way Ellicottville has developed into a true four-seasons destination. There’s that really authentic downtown experience, and we’re surrounded by huge metro areas like Toronto, Cleveland, Buffalo and Pittsburgh. There was a certain … desire to keep the family legacy alive as well. What I’ve found over the last couple of months is how profound an impact my family’s store had on so many people. Whether it was them getting their start in the winter or outdoor sports business, going on the Adventure Bound camps or having their boots fit by Chris Rounds, it’s been overwhelming to see. Every day that unfolds, it continues to stoke the fire that makes the impact.

(Some quick background: John’s parents, Chris and Heidi Rounds, owned and operated Adventure Bound through the 1970s and 80s — a full-service ski and outdoors shop.)


SNOWED-IN: People really underestimate how much there is to explore in the area. How important is it to be able to give someone that true, outdoor-specific retail experience?

ROUNDS: What’s great about the shop is that we’re going to appeal to such a broad range of people. There’s that aspirational, outdoor/lifestyle theme that people look for and a lot of people resonate with. When a family comes in, we want to be able to offer something for everyone. We’re not really crossing over brands with the other shops in town, so it’s going to be a pretty unique experience. You don’t have to be the sky-diving, white-water rafting outdoors person to find something - you can be a very casual outdoors person and find something great.  For instance, you don’t have to spend 5 days at Everest to find uses for a Swiss Army knife. You don’t have to be going on a 3-day excursion to drink water from a Klean Kanteen - maybe you forgot your water bottle, maybe you’re conscious of your carbon footprint and want to reduce plastic usage. If your idea of being outdoors is hiking up the hills at Holiday Valley or HoliMont, that’s awesome. So we want to be able to offer those types of people proper footwear, layering, things that will be applicable for everyday use. What’s cool will be that the parent’s eyes will light up when they see the assortment of jackets, SUPs, Osprey brand bags … but then they’ll see what we’ve got for the kids. We’re going to have Klutz, which makes activity-based, hands-on toys. Columbia outerwear and Chaco footwear. It’s going to be an all-encompassing family experience. 


SNOWED-IN: It sounds like you’re going to have a heavy emphasis on SUPs, including the newer ones that are inflatable. 

ROUNDS: We are. I know that Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP) isn’t huge around here as of right now, but it’s one of the fastest growing sports in the country. So we’re going to offer introductions to the sport, including demos and group outings. We’re going to have a room dedicated to SUPs. The industry has evolved and progressed so much over the past couple of seasons, and the inflatable boards are really cool because you don’t need a roof rack, truck or trailer (although we will have Yakima racks!) You can throw it in your sedan, drive to the spot you want to paddle at and inflate it on the spot. Not to mention, they’re super easy to store when you’re done. You can even check it as luggage when you travel on a plane. And there are so many great places to paddleboard around here! So we’re trying to cultivate that business and grow a really cool SUP community here. 


SNOWED-IN: What’s unique about Ellicottville that you haven’t seen elsewhere?

ROUNDS: What a special place this is. Whether you’re on a river, lake, snowshoes, snowboard, etc., you can experience four truly different seasons here. But unlike other places, Ellicottville backs it up with great lodging, dining and the vibe. Most individuals or families that vacation are looking for that diversity, which Ellicottville offers. Dad can go golf, mom can go shopping, the kids can go to HV’s Adventure Park then all reconvene for a nice dinner. 


SNOWED-IN: And you’re partnering with The Boardroom …

ROUNDS: Mike Timkey (of The Boardroom) worked for my parents at the original Adventure Bound. The retail space is so big, I knew I couldn’t fill it with just my stuff. So I approached Mike to see if he’d be interested in opening a downtown location. It’s going to make for a really cool dynamic. When people are walking by the windows, and they see MSR, or Osprey, or Oakley, or GoPro, they’re going to come in and see two completely different shops - but two that have the same attitude towards customer service and providing that great experience.



16 Washington Street, Ellicottville, NY 14731