Whole Earth Provision Co.
In December 1970 an exciting new store, Whole Earth Provision Co., opened in Bluebonnet Plaza near the University of Texas campus in Austin. Inspired by the Whole Earth Catalog, it was a place to lay hands on items that before you could only read about in the Catalog. Sales were brisk, so brisk the store was emptied and temporarily closed to reorder and restock.
"The staff may or may not have
celebrated by running off to Mexico!"
The Whole Earth Catalog was a compendium of tools and books for creating new ways of living and learning in the 1960s and 70s. The Catalog used a set of guidelines to help determine what items to include: useful as a tool, relevant to independent education, high quality and/or low cost and easily available by mail.
Whole Earth Provision Co. took these criteria to heart and even added one of our own: fun.
Our customers, inspired by the Nomadics section of the Catalog, requested that we add outdoor gear to the mix of merchandise. And so we became an early source for specially designed backpacks, tents, sleeping bags, hiking boots, rugged clothing and other gear being created by new, small independent companies like Patagonia and The North Face to meet the demand for high tech outdoor adventure clothing and equipment.
Our stores are filled with quality clothing and shoes for men, women and children, travel and outdoor gear, toys, books and gifts both zany and beautiful. For years we’ve been a one-stop shop for holiday gifts and stocking stuffers, the last stop on the way to a kid’s birthday party to find the standout present, and the source of gifts for the whole family that are treasured and used.
Whole Earth has a long history of supporting groups focused on experiencing, and enjoying outdoor activities...
and preserving the environment, including the Texas Land Conservancy, local parks and schools, the Boy Scouts and climbing competitions to name only a few. Our largest fundraising effort is for Texas State Parks. Over the last nine years, the proceeds from the Austin shows of the Banff Mountain Film Festival combined with in-store donations made during April is Texas State Parks Month have raised over $245,000 for the parks.
One of the great joys of working at Whole Earth is helping people prepare for adventures near and far, like finding comfortable shoes for a day hike at Enchanted Rock, gearing up for a backpacking trip on the Pacific Crest trail or the trip of a lifetime to visit the great museums of Europe or an expedition to far distant lands to add new birds to a life list.
And best of all, we get to hear the stories and see the photos when the travelers return home.
As we celebrate our 50th birthday, we’re also looking forward to our hopes for the future. We’ll continue to offer innovative and quality clothing, shoes and goods for outdoor living, travel, work and home for the whole family. We’ve made wonderful friends in our first 50 years and hope to make even more in the years to come.
Here’s to 50 more years of friendship, great stories, and a shared commitment to the earth and our communities.
Whole Earth Provision Co.