Pittsburgh 5.11 Store
I wanted to send you guys and the readers on the site a review of the Pittsburgh 5.11 store. They had a grand opening last week which I missed, but I was able to get in there yesterday. Let's just say I was excited to hear that they were finally opening a store in the Pittsburgh area since I have been buying 5.11 gear for several years now. I own several backpacks, patches, t-shirts, and pants that I ordered online. But I am the kind of guy who likes to be able to see the gear up close and personal so I made the trip to McKnight Road ready to spend some money.
First of all, the parking lot is tiny. Luckily I was able to grab the last open spot. Parking shouldn't be an issue on most days but come weekends or holidays it's probably going to be an issue if you want to visit. The store itself looks clean and modern and like most of the other stores from what I have seen. It's pretty obvious that 5.11 is pushing itself as a lifestyle brand and the store looks like a clothing store first. Clothing lines the side walls with a cash wrap in the center. I was there to get a look at the recently released AMP and LV (Low Visibility) series of backpacks and hoped to add a few patches to my collection. The plan was to spend money on one of those and maybe a t-shirt.
I walked into the store with my girlfriend and we immediately started looking for stuff. No one greeted us, but we understood because there were some other people in the store. After looking at some hats I headed over to check the backpacks. An employee (older guy) was in a conversation with another customer. As I walked by he looked at me but continued their conversation. I proceeded to try on a few packs, then pants. The selection of morale patches was pretty picked over and I couldn't find any of the new releases that I saw online. I figured they had yet to restock since the grand opening. Then I went to look at t-shirts. There were a few I wanted but the selection of sizes was limited and I couldn't find what I wanted in my size.
I went back over to check out the backpacks to decide on which one I wanted. I was having trouble figuring out how to convert the AMP 10 into a sling, but my girlfriend was able to. I was really impressed by the LV10 and wanted to buy it. That's when my girlfriend commented "have you noticed that no one has even acknowledged that were here?". I said yes because I had noticed as well. I am not the kind of guy who needs a lot of attention when shopping, in fact I prefer to be left to browse. But having worked retail and sales, I do think its a good idea to at least say 'hi' to a customer and let them know you are there to help if they have questions. We had been in the store 30 minutes or so and no one had done that. There was a second employee (blonde female) we saw ring up someone at the counter, and another guy who we think was an employee who was in the back hallway by the dressing room. None of the three ever greeted us or said hello.
I have read some things online which say that 5.11 has had some customer service issues with online customers. I didn't expect that to be the case in an actual store front. We ended up leaving without spending any money. I figured I could just order it later and didn't want to spend my money there. All in all, I have mixed feeling over the brand now. Sure, I am happy to see an actual store front in my city but on the other hand there isn't much of a reason to visit. I will buy more 5.11 products but have to admit that I expected a little more customer service especially from a new store that is trying to build their presence in the community.
If anyone plans to visit a 5.11 store keep my experience in mind. Also, be sure to do some research online and see what other people have said. If the store is close by it might be worth the trip, but if you are planning a long drive you're probably better off staying home.
What is your experience with the 5.11 brand? Does their customer service leave something to be desired?