An Outdoors for All: Celebrating 5 Years with Slim Pickins Outfitters

From two small towns in northwest Texas, Heather and Jahmicah Dawes both grew up with different, but important experiences in the outdoors. 

Heather is from a town of 700 people, and while her outdoor experience might not seem conventional, it played a critical role in her upbringing. Whether it was tending to the family garden, fishing in the summers or camping on a mattress on a flatbed trailer—these experiences helped shape the Heather Dawes we know today.

For Jahmicah, his introduction to the outdoors through organized youth programs didn’t start him off on the most positive terms, but he eventually found his way back to the outdoors in college. His group of friends reintroduced Jahmicah to the more traditional outdoor activities such as mountain biking, fishing and hiking, and together they fostered a community that he is still passionate about to this day.

But while the great outdoors played a big part in their lives, one of the many threads that weave Heather and Jahmicah together is their shared sense of community. Both prioritizing inclusivity in the outdoors and the outdoor industry, they set out on a journey that would become one of the most memorable roller coasters of their lives. 

A man and woman holding their two kids and posing with their basset hound Jahmicah, Heather, Silas, Finis, and their pup Bill Murray - image courtesy of Wondercamp

Slim Pickins

Slim Pickins Outfitters (SPO)—the first Black-owned, independent outdoor retailer in the nation—can be found on the corner of Washington St. and Belknap Ave in Stephenville, Texas. It’s a place where anyone is welcome, and serves as far more than just a gear shop.

SPO is a community where everyone can feel safe, comfortable and be themselves. Their mission—Act Justly, Serve Kindly, Love Humbly, and Adventure Out—applies to all.

But Slim Pickins Outfitters was not always the plan for Jahmicah. He started his first business out of his dorm room in college. Called Slim Pickins Vintage, Jahmicah would tap his background in fashion merchandising to provide styling services for clients—making sure they were dressed for success for date nights and other events around town. 

Catch a little déjà vu with the name Slim Pickins? We did too. 

Jahmicah’s grandfather on his mother’s side was a 6-foot-10-inch, 375-pound mountain of a man, according to Jahmicah. But that didn’t stop him from having incredible style. After he passed, Jahmicah asked his uncle how and where his grandfather adopted such taste, to which his uncle replied: “Style and quality clothes for us big guys, you know, it’s slim pickin’s out here. Man, I’ve been slim pickin’ it all my life.” And thus the Slim Pickins moniker was born.

If you look for Stephenville on a map, you might wonder how and why an outdoor gear shop landed there. Heather says, “Simply because there wasn’t one.” Surrounded by nine state parks within an 80-mile radius, there are so many different ways to spend time in the outdoors. The SPO team hoped to eliminate the need for people to drive hours just to buy or rent gear required to spend time outside. In addition to outfitting people for success in the outdoors, SPO hopes to encourage folks to explore the special and unique public lands, particularly in Texas.