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Women’s History Month – April Peterson, River Rock Outfitter

WHM - April Peterson River RockRiver Rock Outfitter, an outdoor adventure store on William Street, is celebrating its 10th year in business this year. And April Peterson, who co-owns River Rock with her husband, Keith, has made it an essential goal of hers to elevate and empower both the women who work for River Rock, and the women outdoor enthusiasts in Fredericksburg. 

The Petersons first visited Fredericksburg in 2001, while Keith was stationed at Quantico. April began working at Fredericksburg Area Museum, and fully experienced the beauty of this city first-hand. The two of them decided that once both of them retired from the Marine Corps, they would move to Fredericksburg and open a new business. And as avid outdoor enthusiasts, with a love for the Rappahannock River, they opened River Rock Outfitter in 2014. 

River Rock mainly sells hiking and camping gear including backpacks, tents, shoes, and much more. Additionally, River Rock has opened a consignment section, and sells used gear that is reasonably priced and accessible to use. More than River Rock, however, April feels that their biggest impact on the Fredericksburg community has been building new trails and access points, and getting people to experience and enjoy the Rappahannock. 

“Fredericksburg is the best 101 outdoor location,” April said. “It is the gateway to adventure.”

April attributes her success as a woman business owner to the current, and past, women Mayors of Fredericksburg. Mayors Kerry Devine and Mary Katherine Greenlaw have inspired April to thrive with her business, and have motivated her to teach women how to overcome barriers, including the barriers of the outdoors. She has launched an initiative called Girls Get Outside, where she brings in women outdoor leaders who speak to women about the best and safest ways to experience the outdoors. 

“It’s building confidence through competence,” April said. Since launching this initiative, she has seen so many women thrive in outdoor activities. 80% of the staff at River Rock Outfitter are women, and April wants to show her staff that success in starting a business as a woman is more than possible. She wants to be a mentor to the women on her staff, and wants to support them in their own opportunities. 

“I fight to be at the table,” April said. “This isn’t an issue of men and against women. It’s just…why can’t we make the table bigger?”

River Rock Outfitter is located at 215 William Street. Follow them on Facebook.

💻 Read more about the amazing women in Fredericksburg on our Women’s History Month page here.