Yasser Sharaf, the managing director of the eponymous electronics store, was holidaying in Australia when he stumbled across a concept he believed would be perfect for Dubai.
It was Anaconda, Australia's largest outdoor and adventure store. Three years later, Mr Sharaf launched Adventure HQ, a local version of the concept, last month. He hopes to attract adrenaline junkies of all stripes, whether they are into camping, kite surfing, diving, rock climbing or falconry.
Adventure HQ has a 9-metre climbing wall where enthusiasts can try products before they buy, and a chiller room at minus 25C for shoppers to test their skiing attire.
Although Dubai has many stores selling similar types of goods, no others have such a wide range in one place or offer a recreational element. "We saw a similar concept called Anaconda in Australia and saw that we did not have something like that in the market," says Mr Sharaf. "If you want camping gear or kite surfing gear, you have to go to many stores. We thought Dubai needs something like this."
Mr Sharaf sought the help of a recruiter to headhunt one of the Anaconda team and was introduced to Sam Whittam, then the company's operations and buying director. Mr Whittam was given the responsibilty of turning Mr Sharaf's beliefs into reality.
"The store is two and half years in the making," he says. "In October 2008 I started on the business model.
"What we are trying to do is make people aware that all these activities are here on your doorstep. We're here to shake people up."
Mr Whittam has spent that time developing a back office IT team, hiring staff, deciding on pricing and looking at suppliers. The store uses a combination of local and global suppliers to offer a range of prices in each product category.
"Be it kite surfing or mountain bikes, we cater for first-time users to mid-level enthusiasts to the high-end, accomplished adventurer," Mr Whittam says.
The Sharaf Group has invested wholly in setting up the store, but Mr Sharaf would not disclose how much. Mr Whittam expects to give Mr Sharaf a return on his investment in two to three years.
"We foresee opening more of these, but we have to wait and see and then decide where is the next step," says Mr Sharaf. "Depending on the uptake, that's our plan."
Charging Dh50 (US$13.60) for half an hour, the climbing wall will not be a huge revenue earner for the store, but is designed to be an attraction to get people through the doors. The store is targeting schools, corporate parties and birthdays to entice customers to climb the wall during the week.
"We're not going to generate huge revenue from [the wall], we're just trying to generate interest and excitement and give reason for people to come to the store to do something rather than just shop," Mr Whittam says.
Located in Times Square Mall, Adventure HQ is not in one of Dubai's shopping hotspots, but this is not a concern for Mr Whittam. He says he is expecting enthusiasts, not casual shoppers. Besides, he says the outlet is well-positioned.
"The location is bang on Sheikh Zayed Road, central between old and new Dubai," he says. "It's convenient to get here."