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Our Story

We are locally and family owned, and Clayton's Best Outdoor Store.

December 2015
Wander North Georgia Blog Created
Josh and Alex Brown moved to North Georgia from Athens in December of 2015 into a quiet 900 square foot cabin with no heating and air. They got some chickens, made an attempt at a garden, and started a blog writing about all the restaurants, shops, waterfalls and trails they were discovering along with their reflections on moving to the mountains. After visiting the area for 15 years and seeing it through the eyes of a visitor, they hoped their blog would help visitors get a glimpse of what it was like to be a “local” and give them a deeper appreciation for the people and places that called North Georgia home.
December 2015
January 2016
Wander North Georgia Social Media Created
We started posting on social media regularly by sharing some of our favorite photos and videos from North Georgia. It blew up overnigh. We went from posting photos to remind our parents know we were still alive to adding thousands of followers a month. We started to get the feeling that we might have stumbled into something.
January 2016
April 2016
Brown's & Scott's Meet
The Brown's meet Jake & Courtney Scott at kids' story time at the local library. They hit it off, decide to grab some lunch at Universal Joint, and by the time lunch is over, they decide to rent a small 300 square foot building for office space for their respective day jobs. In less than a few hours, the foundation for Wander and a new friendship had been set with people who had been strangers earlier in the day.
April 2016
June 2016
Created Online Store
Our followers on social media started asking us to make a sticker with our logo. So we got 25 of them made, posted them online, and sold all of them in a couple of days. So we took the same logo and put it on a t-shirt and ordered 25 of them. It took us a little bit longer but we sold all 25 of those shirts in a few weeks. Anytime we sold something online, we took every dime and reinvested it back into the "company" and bought more shirts or more stickers.
June 2016
June 2016
Hosted First "Meet-Up"
At the same time that we started the online store, we hosted our first “meet-up” for hiking and camping at Raven Cliff Falls. We expected a half dozen people to show up but almost 50 folks ended up hanging out for the weekend. We began doing "meet-ups" regularly. Sometimes we would hike and pick up trash. Sometimes we would whitewater raft. Sometimes we do a zip lines course. We'd organize an event, people would show up, and we'd make new friends.
June 2016
August 2016
First Party on the Porch
After these events and "meet-ups", we started hosting "parties" at the office for our day jobs. It started with a few friends bringing a chair and having a beer while our kids ran around in the grass. Then we started throwing movies on the old brick wall with a projector. We had birthday parties on the lawn, hosted live music, smashed piñatas on Fridays, and started grilling out after our hiking “meet-ups”. We called it “Party on the Porch” and our little tribe of folks started to coalesce.
August 2016
September 2016
Decided to Open a Shop
After one of our Parties On The Porch, we were walking back to our cars and we saw a new For Rent sign on an old building in town that was about 1,400 square feet. We called the number and while rent wasn't cheap, it was less than what we were expecting. We ran some numbers and figured we could carve the space in half. The front 700 square feet of the space would be the Wander shop and the back 700 square feet would be the office for our day jobs. We painted over some crazy murals, vacuumed dust that was an inch thick, and spruced it up by maxing out credit cards. We strung up a curtain to divide the space, had our day jobs pay most of the rent, and put our dream into the world.
September 2016
November 2016
Grand Opening of Store
We opened our doors for the first time a few days before Black Friday in 2016. We worked all the shifts ourselves and when we weren’t helping customers, we were working on our day jobs. We would be hard at work doing those and a customer would come in. We'd close our laptop, help our customers, and when they left, we went back to the jobs that paid the bills.

We bought a huge chunk of astro turf and created an indoor bocce ball court. We bought some corn hole boards and called it a lounge. We showed movies on a projector and when our kids were working with us at the shop, way too many Pixar movies. We tried to treat every customer like an old friend. We smiled and meant it. We bragged on our neighboring businesses and restaurants. We sent people into the woods looking for a good fishing spot, or a kid friendly hike, or the darkest place to view stars. We hosted sleep overs in the back during snow days and sled down empty city streets at midnight. We printed free maps, hand drew hundreds more, told stories, and thanked people endlessly for their support that was making our world spin.
November 2016
January 2017
First Reseller Partner
Shortly after opening our store, we got the wild idea to sell Wander to other small businesses. We hoped this would help us connect our brand with other stores and customers who loved the outdoors but who weren't local to Clayton. We are now proud partners with 30+ small businesses across the state of Georgia.
January 2017
August 2017
Hosted Eclipse Event
We got our first big chance to serve as a hub for the community for the Total Solar Eclipse event that passed over Rabun County. We put on an eclipse festival with 300+ campers from across the world as we experienced a once in a lifetime eclipse. The event also served as our first big fundraiser where we were able to raise $1,306.34 for 2 local Rabun County non-profits. This stirred something in us and gave us ideas about what might be possible if we paired our brand and platform with initiatives for social good.
August 2017
November 2017
Quit Day Jobs
We decided to finally take the leap and 3 of the 4 owners quit their day jobs to try and make Wander more than a hobby. Courtney was a small business owner who managed Quickbooks, accounting and payroll for other small businesses and Josh and Alex quit freelancing on web, design, and photo projects. They finally got the opportunity to spend 40 hours a week completely focused on Wander and it was glorious.
November 2017
January 2018
Hired First Employee
We made one of our scariest decisions to that point and decided to hire our first employee. A couple of years later we are now a team of 14 people. It ended up being one of the best decisions we ever made as it allowed us to scale our business, off load some responsibility and welcome some amazing new people into our family.
January 2018
March 2018
Moved Across the Street
Around this time we started getting crazy ideas about how we could leverage our little corner of the universe to be a relational and cultural hub for the thousands of visitors who come to North Georgia. We needed more room to carry our friend’s art. And their pottery. And their honey. We wanted to carry a larger assortment of hiking and camping goods alongside the same great selection of shirts, hats, and gifts we had at our old shop. We wanted to have a place where people could let their kids run out without worrying about breaking something. We wanted to have a place where we could have ice cream on a hot day and unwind after dinner downtown. We wanted enough space that we could host workshops and events. Most importantly we wanted a place where we could plant our flag in the ground and put roots down for the long haul.
March 2018
March 2018
Launched 1% for Rabun County Initiative
Beginning in March of 2018, we started donating 1% of our overall sales each month to a different local Rabun County non-profit so that our mission could support theirs. This is on our total sales and not profit so even when there are months that we are not profitable, we still donate 1% based off our total sales each month. This is a helpful reminder for us to ensure that our community always comes first in our decision making. Our donations have now raised over $50,000 that have gone directly back to local non-profits, civic groups and fundraisers.
March 2018
April 2019
Opened Admiral Axe
A year into our new and expanded Wander location, we started to get restless. We realized there was a massive need in the area for something safe and family friendly entertainment. Something you could do before or after dinner or on days that it rained and made going outdoors difficult. So we opened the doors to Admiral Axe, an indoor axe throwing venue in downtown Clayton. It allowed us to create 3 additional jobs while allowing us to extend the same spirit of hospitality that we worked hard to create at Wander into another environment that is be fun for both locals and visitors of the area. In our first year in business we had almost 10,000 participants throw 225,000 axes - and not a single scratch!
April 2019
May 2019
Switched to Reusable Bags
In May of 2019, we made the switch away from single use shopping bags to free reusable bags with every purchase. While they certainly don't solve every environmental problem, we hope the bags make a small dent in the 100 billion single use bags that get disposed of every year in the United States. To incentivize customers to use it over and over again, you get $1 off your next purchase if you bring it back for future shopping. They also make great bags to bring with you as part of our Bring A Bag Challenge.
May 2019
March 2020
Closed Due to Coronavirus
We had to temporarily close our brick and mortar store in downtown Clayton due to COVID-19. While it was pretty painful being closed for almost 3 months, our customers showed up big time for us with online orders and we were fortunate enough to make it to the other side.
March 2020
June 2020
Opened Back Up
After being closed 72 days, we reopened on June 1st, 2020. Excited and grateful are the understatements of the year.
June 2020

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