If you’re a lover of the outdoors, a stop at the American Terrain Outdoors store on East Post Road in White Plains is in order. Owned by husband and wife team Manny and Rosanna Polloni, the store has become the go-to place for folks seeking camping equipment and accessories, backpacks, travel clothing, footwear and much more
Based in White Plains for the past 19 years, the Pollonis have a wealth of experience in the planning of outdoor activities and the kinds of equipment one might need before going on a hiking or camping trip. They are also experienced in international travel, providing valuable advice on how and what to pack for an extended journey and what to expect when one gets there.
Take a look at the dry erasable board that’s located behind the main counter and you’ll get an idea of where American Terrain’s customers have been lately: the Arctic Circle, Costa Rica, the Mount Everest base camp, Machu Picchu and more. “Whenever a customer is going on a trip, they will usually think of us,” said Manny Polloni, who worked as a clothing buyer in New York City before opening up American Terrain. Rosanna Polloni also has experience in the clothing industry, having worked as a department store manager.
The Pollonis serve different types of clients, including teens or young adults interested in outdoor adventure trips, baby boomers attracted to “soft adventure travel,” including safaris, trips to the Amazon, heritage tours, and bicycling and boating tours, as well as serving scout troops throughout the region by collaborating closely with the Hudson Valley Council Boy Scouts of America and the Westchester/Putnam Council of Boy Scouts.
Doling out free advice comes naturally to this friendly couple. Perhaps it’s a worried parent whose college-age daughter is traveling abroad for the first time. The Pollonis, who are actively involved in promoting economic growth throughout the City of White Plains, will set that parent’s fears at ease by suggesting how the young traveler should pack, what medications to bring, if water purification tablets are needed, and any other pitfalls they might encounter.
The Pollonis embrace the lifestyle that’s reflected in their business by spending weekends hiking with their two children in the Catskill Mountains or kayaking on the Hudson River. They have also traveled out West to explore some of the country’s national parks. In fact, the lower level of their store is filled with kayaks from a variety of leading manufacturers, such as Eddyline, Necky, Ocean Kayak and Perception.
Customers buying their first kayak have many questions, said Manny Polloni, from choosing the right type of kayak, depending on whether one wants to kayak on the ocean, a lake or a slow-moving river or bay, to the different styles of kayak available.
If it’s comfortable, protective clothing and footwear you’re looking for, American Terrain has that covered too. All of their clothing lines include a UVP rating that offers protection by filtering the ultraviolet rays of the sun, particularly beneficial for fair-skinned people. Protective tee shirts, sun hats and swim wear are just some of the items you’ll find on the first-floor space.
The shopping experience at American Terrain is always an enjoyable one, said the Pollonis. If they’re not available to assist customers, any one of their five part-time workers can still provide that “personal shopping experience,” said Manny Polloni.
Most of their workers are college-age men and women who have traveled extensively themselves, some of them with experience as tour guides. “We definitely look for people who have a good personality, but we also like to hire people who have a love of the outdoors, a passion for it,” said Manny Polloni, a Yonkers native.
It’s clear the Pollonis, who currently reside in Putnam County, love what they do. “We don’t approach this as selling at all,” said Manny Polloni. “It’s about teaching our customers how to purchase the right kind of product and then helping them understand the product and how to use it.”
Other high-quality clothing lines for sale at American Terrain include Patagonia, Northface, Ibex and the popular Uggs line. The Pollonis make a special effort to purchase merchandise that is made in America.
While working together as husband and wife might present its own set of problems, Manny Polloni said it has proved to be the perfect combination for them. While Rosanna Polloni handles much of the back office and merchandising duties, Manny Polloni takes take care of purchasing and operations. “What it comes down to is the fact that we respect one another’s opinions,” he said.
American Terrain Outdoors is located at 175 East Post Road. They can be reached at (914) 682-3971. The store is open Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and 12 to 5 p.m. on Sundays. For more information, check out the website at www.americanterrain.com.