In 1993, three businessmen, all Western Kentucky natives and Murray State graduates–Craig Sims, Dean Cherry, and Dave Hinkle–united to launch a hometown entrepreneurial dream that became Hooper’s Outdoor Center of Paducah, KY. Under the store leadership of Craig Sims, Hooper’s cast a vision to provide the Western Kentucky area with high quality outdoor specialty equipment and apparel. A key component of the vision was to provide world class customer service in the form of a highly trained staff led by Craig and wife, Vicki. The sales staff was trained to not only provide personalized service to every customer but to offer Paducah and Western KY higher quality educated options in outdoor apparel and technical gear while also fueling the enthusiasm for greater outdoor recreational pursuits–camping, hiking, kayaking, cycling, rock climbing, snow skiing for local activities as well as more exotic adventures across the country and world.
Craig’s passion was born of experience. His athletic experience was exhibited early in life in all sports but especially in football where he was a star member of the 1977 Mayfield Cardinal State Championship high school football team. After college, while enjoying a successful business career, Craig broadened his athletic pursuits to every outdoor activity possible. His primary passion was mountain climbing, where he conquered mountains around the world trusting the equipment and apparel that would later be featured in his retail environment–legendary brands such as North Face and Patagonia that appeared in the Paducah retail world for the first time.
Craig named Hooper’s Outdoor Center after his charismatic chocolate lab, Hooper, who originally was a daily and beloved presence in the store and the canine star of a highly successful regional media campaign. Hooper’s has now thrived for 24 years and is currently located in a gorgeous 5,500 square foot home as an anchor retailer in the renovated shopping district of downtown Paducah.
A portrait of Hooper is prominently displayed at Hooper’s, as well as a portrait of Craig, who was promoted to heaven in 2009 after a valiant battle with cancer. Craig’s entrepreneurial vision and retail passion lives on today through Hooper’s Outdoor Center and the steady leadership of wife Vicki Sims, co-founder Dean Cherry, and his nephew Matthew Cherry (manager), along with Craig’s son, Adam. Of course, the same friendly professionally trained staff stands ready to serve you in a retail experience that you will not forget. Come see us! You’ll be glad you did.