In the 5th episode of The Innovation Project, Summit Hut’s Dana Davis explains why they pay their employees to go hiking.

** To watch more episodes of The Innovation Project, click here.

Dana Davis was a longtime employee of Summit Hut in Tuscon, Ariz., when she and her husband, Jeremy, bought it from founder David Baker in 2011.

Summit Hut started an e-commerce website in 1998—early for a specialty retail shop—and the shop relaunched its web platform two years ago.

Summit Hut

Jeremy and Dana Davis bought Summit Hut from its founder in 2011. // Photo: Courtesy Dana Davis

But what really makes Summit Hut unique is that it pays its employees to test gear, which has helped establish the two locations as regionally relevant retailers.

“We work really hard to make sure all of our staff know the trails really well, that they know the area and that they’ve tried out the product,” Davis says in this episode of The Innovation Project. “It gives us a chance to really be able to communicate with the customer.”

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This nine-part series was produced in partnership with Mountain Hardwear.