Sierra Nevada Adventure Co.

Nestled between granite peaks, wineries, and excellent river kayaking, SNAC Murphys and its owners, husband-wife team Jill and Shawn, embody small town charm.

Like many of our partner retailers, SNAC is a small, family-run business that is obsessed with the outdoors.

Since 2008, the Sierra Nevada Adventure Co. (SNAC) Murphys, California location has been a retail partner of Aventura. SNAC is like many of our partner retailers in that they are a small, family-run business that is obsessed with the outdoors. On a call with Jill, one-half of the husband-wife team that owns the business, we found much more to bond over than just this, however. We got lost in a phone call of unconventional business foundings, the importance of local business, wine, outdoor adventure, care for the beautiful spaces around us, and a warm invitation to visit the quaint village of Murphys.

SNAC storefront with classic car parked in front.SNAC storefront with classic car parked in front.

“Our motto,” says Jill, “is to spend more time using your gear than paying for it."

In 2008, Jill and her husband, Shawn, opened their third SNAC store in Murphys, California, which is a small, unincorporated town on the breathtaking highway 4 that rolls, twists, and curves around stately evergreen trees, crystal blue lakes, and towering granite peaks from California’s Central Valley to Nevada’s Washoe Valley. “The drive from Reno to here is spectacular!” Jill comments during our call. The couple found themselves in the area to care for Jill’s sick mother, but the access to outdoor recreation made them stick around.

“In the beginning, it was river kayaking and river rafting,” Jill explains of their shared outdoor passion, and it was through this love that SNAC was founded. In the early 90s, Shawn was working as a river guide and saw that people needed gear and supplies to fully and safely enjoy their day on the water. He had a truck and a vision, and thus it was: he started selling important items for rafting including life jackets, river shorts, sandals, river knives, hats, and sunscreen from the back of his truck.

This bootstrap mentality is no stranger to Aventura - Shawn’s entrepreneurial spirit reads like that of John Kirsch Sr.’s who founded Sportif in the back of the Kirsch family’s station wagon!

This tailgate shop was growing quickly, as was the couple’s want to expand their offerings to include kayaks. SNAC’s first brick-and-mortar store opened in Downtown Sonora, California, followed shortly by a second location in nearby Arnold, and finally by a location in Murphys.

“Our motto,” says Jill, “is to spend more time using your gear than paying for it. We want to offer something that the average person, like our locals, can afford to buy.” This value for quality was one of the reasons Aventura stood out to Jill and Shawn. “I think that back then, I just liked that it looked like what everyday women would wear to work,” she continues. “It’s beautiful on and I love that the brand can make women of all sizes feel good. Whoever the designers are they do a great job because it can be flattering on many different body types!” 

Black and white photo of the SNAC storefront when first built and now.Black and white photo of the SNAC storefront when first built and now.
SNAC then and now.

Living and working in Murphys, the SNAC couple puts utmost value in small business.

Jill admits to me that Aventura has even taken over her personal wardrobe. When I asked Jill what her favorite Aventura pieces are, she says: “I have every color of the Arden Capris. My rep, Paige, laughs and says, ‘you need to get some new pants!’” 

In addition to the style and functionality, Jill and Shawn were also attracted to values that Aventura shares with them, both excited to partner with a small, family business. “[Aventura] is a great company because they have heart, and it’s a family business just like our family business,” she says. Living and working in Murphys, the SNAC couple puts utmost value in small business.

Jill and Shawn find importance in keeping the dollars circulating locally, going back to their dedicated team of employees instead of sending it off to a large corporation.

“Murphys is a really unique town in our county where we don’t have any big box [stores] and we don’t have any chains,” explains Jill. “No Starbucks, you just go to the artisan bakery. No Baskin Robbins you go to your artisan ice cream.” Jill and Shawn find importance in keeping the dollars circulating locally, going back to their dedicated team of employees instead of sending it off to a large corporation. 

The use of organic cotton caught Jill’s attention as well. Jill and Shawn’s passion for outdoor adventures feeds their motivation to shop sustainably. “We always believed in how healing nature can be,” and as Jill says, “if a person doesn’t have that connection then good luck with the world we're trying to save from all of the environmental problems.” In helping people in the area get out and enjoy the stunning offerings of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, she puts grave importance on being able to ‘walk your talk.’ The shop is regularly stocked with quality eco-friendly products that are made to last. We are very proud to be one of the companies SNAC partners with! 

When they aren’t in one of their stores, you can find this couple taking their canoe on camping trips or their inflatable paddleboard out into the local wilderness areas for a getaway with their chocolate lab. And if you ever find yourself in the area, Jill says to “come [to Murphys] for wine tasting or for the [gold rush] history. There is lots of live music, it’s great for girls’ trips. It’s a great getaway.”

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