Dana Davis Submitted Photo

Tucson-based outdoor-gear retailer Summit Hut has a new owner.

Don't expect any major changes in operations, though. Dave Baker - Summit Hut's previous owner and its co-founder - sold his business to longtime employee Dana Davis.

Baker and Davis had been planning the transfer of ownership for several years, and Baker plans to stay on as an employee for the next 18 months to ease the transition, Davis said Wednesday.

"He was ready for the change, and I was excited to take on new challenges," she said.

The financial terms of the sale, which was completed Feb. 1, were not disclosed.

Summit Hut has a location at 605 E. Wetmore Road, near North First Avenue, and another at 5045 E. Speedway, near North Rosemont Boulevard.

Davis, who has worked at Summit Hut for 13 years, said business has slowed recently, likely due to the economic downturn and the arrival at Tucson Mall of outdoor giant Recreational Equipment Inc., more widely known as REI.

The drop was expected, and Summit Hut was able to adjust its inventory to make it through the slow times, Davis said.

"There's enough difference between us and REI," she said. "There's room for both of us."

Summit Hut also has an online presence, www.summithut.com, to supplement its in-store sales. The site allows the business to sell products throughout the country and internationally and provides a resource of outdoor information for local shoppers, Davis said.

Did you know

Dave Baker started Summit Hut in the late 1960s while still in high school in Tucson. He and his friend Jeff Conn, both outdoor enthusiasts, stored inventory from equipment suppliers in their bedrooms before opening a storefront in 1969. Both too young to drive when starting the business, they had their parents drive them to obtain a business license, set up a post-office box and get a letterhead. SOURCE: Star archives

STORES HONORED

Summit Hut recently won a Retailer of the Year award in the conservation category from SNEWS, an outdoor-industry news provider, and Backpacker magazine. Summit Hut was recognized in part for its "decline-a-bag" program that allows customers to turn down a bag for purchased items. Summit Hut then donates the cost of the bag to an outdoor-oriented charity.

Contact reporter Dale Quinn at dquinn@azstarnet.com or 573-4197.