by Ashley Daniels
Chris Wait is the new manager at the Market Common’s cornerstone store Orvis. But he’s in no way new to retail— he has a career in the industry that tracks back to age 16, working at Dick’s Sporting Goods and Galyan’s Trading Company.
Hailing from Buffalo, N.Y., Chris moved to Myrtle Beach in 2016 post-Hurricane Matthew. After a 15-year career as a legal assistant, he made a career change back to retail once again, this time, with Orvis. Over the past few years, he’s grown with the company, and as of February 1, is the store manager.
“I’ve always been an avid hiker, enjoy camping, and really all outdoor pursuits,” says Chris. “I learned fly-fishing as an Orvis associate with the help and patience of our amazing assistant manager, Michael Matthews.”
Orvis is one of the oldest retailers in the United States. Founded in 1856, it is, of course, synonymous with the sporting traditions of fly-fishing and wingshooting. But the store offers so much more than equipment for specialized pursuits.
Orvis is also known for its diverse, high-quality selections of men’s and women’s clothing— from outdoor techwear, to classic chinos and wrinkle-free shirts to wear to the office. And there’s also their dog department, stocked with everything from toys to treats, beds to harnesses, and much more.
“I make sure we always have free treats, so I encourage all of our customers to bring their dogs inside to shop with them,” says Chris.
Something else you can expect at Orvis is its tradition of hosting adoption events at the store.
“We also occasionally host catered events featuring food and beer from our partners— Tupelo Honey and Gordon Biersch,” Chris says.
“It keeps with our core values of giving back within the community, and it’s tremendously rewarding for my team. As an associate, I spearheaded our efforts with local animal rescues, organizing and hosting events several times a month. We’ve undertaken some really awesome fundraising efforts on behalf of our partners at All4Paws and Kind Keeper Animal Rescue in the past year.”
In fact, Orvis commits 5% of its pre-tax profits to protecting nature, supporting communities, and advancing canine health and well-being.
It’s all part of what Chris calls the highlight of every Orvis shopping trip—the experience.
“We believe, as a company, that our customers remain loyal because we provide them with an unrivaled shopping experience with the absolute best in customer service,” he says. “The people who work here love what they do and support Orvis’ mission, and that translates to a more cohesive, fun-filled experience for our customers.
“We greet our customers with a smiling face, and truly listen to what they want to ensure that they are getting exactly what they need. And that’s what our goal is.
“I want our customers to leave our store not only with a quality product that fits their needs, but with the intention of coming back, again and again.”
When Chris isn’t on the job ensuring that customers have the Orvis Experience, he enjoys spending time with his girlfriend, Elizabeth; her soon-to-be 8-year-old son, Keith; his parents, Chuck and Paula; and his sweet dog, Bailey.
You’ll also catch him doing yoga, reading, listening to music, or throwing a fly, when time allows.