Case Study

Adapting to Demands Through a Customer-Centric Retail Landscape

Nestled near the banks of the Rock River, Rocktown Adventures has been serving its community as a specialty outdoor retailer and outfitter since 2014. What started out as a simple idea to increase the health, economy, and appreciation for Rockford, Illinois, has evolved into a lifestyle brand, complete with selling gear and equipment in-store and online, providing workshops and how-to instructional classes, and leading overnight excursions for kayakers and backpackers.

But with exponential growth comes a price. Kevin Versino, Rocktown Adventures’ general manager, admits that “it was easy to get tactic-oriented instead of strategy-oriented,” especially in 2020 when the popularity of outdoor activities skyrocketed.

To combat the focus of working in the business instead of on it, Versino and the executive management team chose to implement MPOWR Envision, a strategy execution software, to help them achieve their long- and short-term strategy goals.


“We can both communicate on our own time through the platform.”

Staying on Top of High-Level Strategy Execution Through the Daily Grind

As one can imagine, the unpredictability of nature can make an unpredictable day at Rocktown Adventures. “Many days,” Versino notes, “I have ten things on my to-do list. By 10:30 a.m., it becomes twenty-one. When we get customers in the store or it snows or there’s a pandemic, I don’t have the time to sit and collect my thoughts.”

A growing list of priorities means that some items are shifted or even forgotten. Luckily, MPOWR Envision helps Versino stay on top of what matters. The software visually presents the company’s goals by designated colors, assigned to urgent needs versus what’s on track.

This visual health check reminds Versino to stay aligned to the big picture: “By simply making an update and navigating through MPOWR Envision, I’m forced to read our high-level strategy goals, which ensures that what I do isn’t just noise to stay busy, but to move forward to achieve the goal.”

Mobile Reminders and KPI

Since his schedule can be hectic, Versino explains that one of the biggest benefits of using MPOWR Envision is that it allows him to update management and communicate with the leadership team. “If they have a question for me because of a pending deal, or a company decision is made that will affect the storefront, we can both communicate on our own time through the platform.”

Similarly, the cloud-based software helps all Rocktown Adventures stakeholders stay on top of action items while not having to attend dozens of meetings. The team has recently been discussing mandating a wake-free zone in the Rock River for kayakers. Since this isn’t a one-person decision, MPOWR Envision helps Versino stay updated on how things are progressing with the company’s government affairs partner and alerts him when it’s his turn to act.

The fact that Versino can communicate when it’s most ideal for him makes it easier to be a proactive leader of strategy execution and influence the direction of the brand. Knowing the management team has seen his updates and can respond in real time allows Versino to stay focused on his strategy as well as the day-to-day action items. It also gives him time to collaborate with strategic experts to continue to develop and execute the company’s strategic plan.

Receiving Support for Strategy Development and Execution

While Rocktown Adventures now has an effective strategic plan, it wasn’t always that way. Versino relates the initial beginnings to dreams jotted down on a cocktail napkin, needing guidance:

“We were really high level, not too detailed. How do I turn these three to four ideas into a business plan? MPOWR Envision helped us do that. It enables you to take high level, disparate ideas and narrow them down to the pillars required to run a successful business. We had these crazy ideas, and MPOWR Envision helped us organize the craziness and turned it into reality.”
mpowr support

Versino not only credits MPOWR Envision for initially helping to organize Rocktown Adventures’ strategy, but he also appreciates the continued support provided by the software team. Acknowledging how easy it is to lose objectivity when you’re in the “thick of it,” Versino often reaches out to Lauren Zerey, Manager of Strategic Support at MPOWR Envision. He explains: “Everyone needs to bounce ideas off of somebody else. Lauren knows how other businesses are set up, so she helps me organize my thoughts and understand how to structure the strategy.”

Working on strategy with an unbiased partner like Lauren has helped Versino execute his goals while remaining focused on the customer. At the end of the day, Rocktown Adventures is there for the community to “help people embrace an active lifestyle,” and the flexibility, organization, and communication available within the software allows Versino to keep up with customer satisfaction and demands.

“Customers don’t see what we do in MPOWR Envision, but they benefit from it, because we think about them first."

Connecting Daily Activities to the Strategic Plan

In June 2020, it was hard to find a basketball, kayak, or bicycle at any outdoor retailer. Wishing to respond to customer demand, Versino turned to MPOWR Envision to speed up the approval, purchase, and decision-making processes. “There were a number of conversations via MPOWR Envision about the size of deals we should do, as well as buying from vendors or with payment terms, that are outside our usual paradigm,” Versino explains.


Being able to collaborate and extrapolate data in real-time allowed Versino to then communicate with customers. By keeping them in the loop on product availability, Rocktown Adventures was able to grow in-store and online business, including selling products throughout the Midwest and Northwestern states.

While 2020’s demand was an exception to the rule, Versino continues to use MPOWR Envision on a weekly basis to better meet the needs of customers. “Every week even before the pandemic, I produce a sales report, a comparison between this week’s sales and sales from this week last year, customers in-store versus last year, and month-to-date traffic.

At the end of the month, I produce a summary of where we are in terms of sales and customers compared to last year. I also highlight sales drivers for the year, like snow. It takes me two seconds to produce these progress notes with MPOWR Envision,” he says.

Generating data so quickly means Versino can spend most of his time serving customers and executing his strategy.

Looking at these reports also helps Versino and management “understand whether traffic and sales are increasing or decreasing over the long haul,” as well as ensuring specific products are in stock and popular program events are scheduled.

By reflecting on sales and KPIs, MPOWR Envision helps create forecasts for the team’s coming year. Having recently analyzed this quarter’s data, Versino happily reports that, due to the company’s success, he needs to “expand the roster of outdoor experts who help us provide quality customer experiences.”

Looking Towards the Future and Seeing Execution Happen

Rocktown Adventures is no longer “the best kept secret in Rockford,” and with the recent purchase of Rock Cut State Park’s Rentals and Concessions business, Versino predicts even busier future seasons.

Now in competition with larger outdoor retailers, Versino is excited to enter the new territory of keeping tabs on competitors. One step is signing up for newsletters and documenting his discoveries within Envision. “For example,” Versino says, “I discovered that the proliferation of outdoor activities is leading to outdoor startups. By inputting that in Envision, I can show management that there’s demand. So now there’s a discussion: Should we stay within our silo? Or should we expand and capture that demand?”

That discussion of new trends, analysis of old ones, and review of strategy all happen within MPOWR Envision. And it’s where he and the Rockford Adventures team makes sure strategy actually gets executed.

Rocktown Adventures Expands into Rock Cut State Park

We want to extend a huge congratulations to Rocktown Adventures for their purchase of Rock Cut State Park Rentals and Concession! Rocktown Adventures’ management team attributes its ability to acquire the Outdoor Store, Café, and Camp Store to MPOWR Envision, which allowed the team to stay in constant communication and make informed decisions throughout the process.

Thanks to MPOWR Envision, acquiring an additional business to expand Rocktown Adventures’ operations and brand wasn’t just a dream; it’s now a reality!

How to Start Creating a Culture of Execution

Your organizational culture is a critical part of successful strategy execution. Without the right environment, your strategy will remain simply ideas in a spreadsheet or
dusty binder.

  1. A culture of execution takes commitment from the top. If leaders do not make the plan a priority, their teams won’t either. Leadership has to be a strong advocate for focusing on the plan goals.
  2. Before you can begin to realize strategy execution, assess your current culture. Where are you on your strategic journey?
    Take our Strategy Readiness Assessment to find out.
  3. Strategy execution takes work. Cultural shifts do not happen overnight, but if leadership commits to dedicating time and resources to the governance of your strategy and its execution, you will see results happen.

See It Happen

Request a Demo to see your plan in action

See how MPOWR Envision can help you create a culture of execution that instills accountability, ownership, and decision-making.

See It Happen

Request a Demo to see your plan in action

See how MPOWR Envision can help you create a culture of execution that instills accountability, ownership, and decision-making.