Why do outdoor businesses locate in Sheffield?

Why do outdoor businesses locate in Sheffield?

23 May 2016

Businesses are lining up to support Sheffield’s growing reputation as The Outdoor City with the message: “It pays to be outdoors.”


In 2014 an independent study, carried out by the Sport Industry Research Centre at Sheffield Hallam University, found that outdoor recreation in Sheffield generates more than £53m in economic output a year.


There are more than 1500 full time equivalent (FTE) jobs created because of outdoor businesses in Sheffield and an additional 2647 outdoor volunteers in the city; equivalent to 700 extra FTE's.


Sheffield’s own Buffalo Systems is one of The Outdoor City’s original outdoor brands. Known throughout the world for inventing the innovating Pertex material (technology that draws moisture away from a person’s skin rather than trapping it underneath an external waterproof layer), they literally revolutionised the outdoor kit available in the marketplace today.


Set up in the 70’s by Mountaineer Hamish Hamilton, the business has maintained its original purpose of providing specialist clothing to outdoor types. Located, just off Abbeydale Road, a stone’s throw from the Peak District, they are a proud Sheffield company who cite the outdoor adventure on their doorsteps as the inspiration and motivation for their clothing and sleeping bag lines.


 Joint owner Sue Mansell said: “As a team we are all inspired by the outdoors. Amongst us you’ll find keen mountain bikers, walkers, water-sport enthusiasts, cyclists, runners and mountaineers. We live and breathe the outdoor lifestyle and the products we design and manufacture here in Sheffield are based on an-in-depth understanding of what people, who, like us, take to the outdoors whatever the elements, need. I couldn’t think of a better UK city for a business like ours.”


Buffalo Systems design, manufacture and distribute to retailers from their base in Sheffield. Their specialist kit is sold through 60 independent retailers UK-wide as well as two larger chains; Cotswold and Scottish based Tiso.


Buffalo Systems employ 26 people in Sheffield, in a range of highly skilled technical, creative, manufacturing and sales roles. An authentic ‘Made in Sheffield’ brand, they have strong ties with Sheffield College and have made a commitment to keep the specialist skills they use within the business alive by working with apprentices in the city.



Sheffield launched as The Outdoor City at the European Outdoor Summit last year and this year published the final Outdoor Economic Strategy behind the brand. This is used to support and promote the people, places, businesses and events that help grow participation in outdoor activities for improved health and well-being, conserve Sheffield’s green open spaces, drive the outdoor economy and attract and retain talent and trade to the city.


Deputy Leader of Sheffield City Council and Cabinet Member for Business and Economy, Cllr Leigh Bramall said: “The outdoor industry in Sheffield generates £53million a year, and the sector provides employment for 1597 people. Buffalo Systems is a great example of an outdoor business that started in Sheffield and has been successful here because of our unique outdoor lifestyle. It is our proximity between big city life and outdoor adventure that enables Sheffield to attract the talented people that work in this sector and the consumers that drive demand for these products.”

Creative Sheffield, Sheffield City Council’s economic development arm, support and promote business growth within the city. Through Business Sheffield work with inward investors, indigenous start-ups, SME’s and the city’s biggest employers to help them re-locate, expand, reach new markets and create jobs. To learn more call 0800 043 5522