One on One- August 2011

People. Talking.

This month our one–on–one conversation brought together the seemingly dissimilar worlds of the great outdoors and television. Sure, they co–exist on the National Geographic Channel, but we weren’t sure about real life. What we discovered in this conversation between television promotion exec Karen Swann and outdoor-gear guru Christopher Grooms is that the two worlds are not all that far apart after all.

Christopher Grooms, owner of Mountain High Outfitters, grew up in Virginia but has been in the Birmingham area since the 1990s. After a time spent in Wyoming fly-fishing and selling backpacking and camping equipment, Grooms was bitten hard by the outdoor bug and has not recovered.

“Getting outdoors, getting active and bringing that culture back to Birmingham is really important to me,” Grooms says. His company, Mountain High Outfitters, is a group of dedicated outdoor enthusiasts operating four specialty outdoor retail stores in Birmingham and Huntsville, and an online business. “We pride ourselves on giving the highest level of customer service and products like The North Face, Patagonia, Arc’Teryx and Icebreaker. Our outreach programs include regular free Boy Scout clinics, rock climbing classes, sponsorship and support of hundreds of local events. Mountain High Outfitters has combined knowledge with enthusiasm to create an organization that is much more than just another retail store.”

Karen Swann is the promotions and production manager for WTTO/WABM Television. A Birmingham native and graduate of Jacksonville State University, she started working in local television in 1989 and has worked at WTTO since except for a short stint in the advertising world.

“I have done TV my whole life,” Swann says. “It doesn’t feel like work. If you can go in every day and not feel like work is a burden at all, you are blessed. And I am.”

One of the high points of her career has been the Emmy her team won for the creation of promotional spots for The Andy Griffith Show.

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