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37 North Expeditions charts course for next 5 years

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Danny Collins, founder of 37 North Expeditions LLC, is charting the course for the next five years of the business.

Collins spoke yesterday during a live interview by Springfield Business Journal Editorial Vice President Eric Olson. Collins was the featured guest for SBJ's 12 People You Need to Know series at The Backlot, Alamo Drafthouse Springfield's restaurant and bar.

Collins said 37 North Expeditions, a guided outdoor experience company he founded in 2018, has taken off since the pandemic – so much so that Collins is strategizing for the future of the business after getting over the typical five-year hump for startups.

"I'm thinking about five years right now. That's not something I was a year, 18 months ago," he said. "I'm 100% confident that we are going to be existing in five years.

"That's a big deal just to have that mindset."

Collins said 37 North Expeditions offers single-ticket sales experiences through which customers can book outings on weekends. Growth areas of the business are in corporate and youth, private bookings and tourism, he said, pointing to customers such as Walmart and CoxHealth.

"Our goal is on the retention side to help organizations retain employees by connecting them to the outdoors ... and connecting to each other," Collins said.

The youth sector of the business is picking up, as well.

"This summer, I think we'll do about 700-plus kids in summer camps," he said, noting the organization additionally serves 30-80 kids after school each day. "That's just happening organically."

The 37 North Expeditions business that operates guided tours has seven full-time employees.

37 North Expeditions primarily operates in southwest Missouri and northwest Arkansas. Because of this, Collins said the company doesn't view state lines as barriers.

The same can be said for regionalism. He said a visitor to the Ozarks who goes to northwest Arkansas may likely be interested in southwest Missouri, as well.

"To me, I just think that if you really want to compare us to other outdoor tourist destinations, we're probably going to never really compete with the Grand Canyon or Yellowstone or Yosemite, and we shouldn't," Collins said. "But as a complete package region, there's an argument."

Northwest Arkansas, Collins said, is reaping the benefits of its natural assets by going "all in."

"They are investing in the physical assets and the infrastructure to support those assets that other organizations, such as 37 North or outdoor suppliers or even outdoor manufacturers, can come and utilize those assets," he said. "My opinion is Springfield as a community should just be all in."


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