ERIC STERN

Owner

About Us

Greetings from Eric, the fourth-generation member of the Stern family to run Casual Adventure Outfitters, a family-owned and –operated outdoor specialty outfitting store with a focus on community and dedication to our customers.

Casual Adventure is located in the Virginia Square neighborhood of Arlington, Virginia (its original location, dating back to 1945) and has a rich history of adaptation, perseverance and service to the community. As the store changed hands over the years, each generation has had the opportunity to modify the business to their strengths so that it can continue to succeed in an ever-changing society. My great grandfather started our business back in the 1940’s as a grocery store. My grandfather took over in the 1950s changing the business to Army/Navy surplus. From 1955 until 1985, we were known as “The Surplus Center”. Our shelves were stocked with military fatigues, field jackets, canteens, and other GI merchandise. My father took over in the early 1980’s adding workwear and outdoor gear. As the marketplace changed, and outdoor gear evolved from military surplus to the cutting edge technology of today, we reinvented ourselves, changing from “The Surplus Center” to “Casual Adventure” in 1985. And I’ve been here for over 20 years adding sporting goods to our inventory mix.  

Our business has grown into one of the leading outdoor outfitters in the Washington metropolitan area, focusing on a strong tradition of customer service, dedication to premier outdoor and tactical brands, and a unique merchandise mix that few stores its size can duplicate. Our collection includes: Benchmade, Mountain Hardwear, The North Face, Kuhl, Arc'teryx LEAF, Osprey and more. Our main customer base consists of adventure travelers, youth sports, scouts, outdoor enthusiasts, and government employees.

Customer service is the defining characteristic of Casual Adventure. Our friendly staff knows many of our customers by face, name, and gear preference. Because of this, our store has been compared to the TV show “Cheers”…but without the beers!

Enhancing our strong local roots and environmental consciousness, Casual Adventure has long been a member of the Better Business Bureau, the Arlington Chamber of Commerce, and most recently through Grassroots Outdoor Alliance.

Our staff is like family, and we’ve been blessed with having them come through our doors on a continuous basis for decades. A myriad of photos of staff and customers, past and present, adorn our walls showcasing local and international travels. Some have traveled to all 50 states, all seven continents, and even the top of the world. Several of our customers have even successfully summited Mount Everest, in addition to various other tall peaks around the globe.

At Casual Adventure, we hike, bike, backpack, ski, run, race, camp out, and hang out. We frequent Skyline Drive, Signal Knob, and Shenandoah. We venture out to the Grand Canyon, the Cayman Islands, and Mount Catoctin. We are community oriented and dog friendly.

We sponsor outdoor enthusiasts like Andrew Towne, Dave "Dash" Ashley, and Saeed Toosi. We support outdoor organizations like the PATC, the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, and the Arlington Outdoor Lab. We donate to local Arlington schools, scout troops, and events. And we sponsor the local baseball leagues, coining the title of “community partner”, a level that allows us to engage with the house and travel teams, collect for and donate to local sports charities, and promote involvement with other local businesses. Our knowledge and expertise are derived from the activities we love, and we share that passion with our customers—many of whom know us by name.

We look forward to helping you prepare for your next outdoor experience. As our motto states: At Casual Adventure Outfitters, We Can Outfit YOU from Great Falls to Nepal.

From Eric

Growing up, the last place I thought I’d work was at…the store. The store was a place my dad went after his morning jog, and before his evening swim. It had a name, but we never used that. It wasn’t the place, the job, or the work site, it was always the store. As a kid, I visited the store on occasion with my sister, pretending to punch transactions into the register, creating crayon-filled signage, and masquerading as a mannequin in the display window.

Almost 80 years ago, my great-grandfather stared out at Washington Boulevard from behind the butcher block that still sits in front of our register. Little did he know that three generations would subsequently build upon his initial vision. Like “The Giving Tree” the deep roots he established in Arlington, provided the raw materials each of us needed to grow, evolve, and enjoy the fruits of our labor.

I was fortunate to work with my father everyday for 15 years. He worked with my grandfather, who previously worked with my great grandfather. We started everyday with a hug, and celebrated the end of every holiday season by turning off the Christmas music and cranking up Springsteen, the only other Boss I listen to.

The store has always been a family business with a focus on our community and our staff shares this sentiment. I’m constantly amazed by how our little footprint continues to make such large impacts. But I’m also constantly reminded that I get to stand on the shoulders of those before me and those around me.

  • Staring at Washington Blvd.

  • Oscar Stern

  • Surplus Center

Meet the Staff