March 08, 2001 11:00 pm

Besides penning 11 books that give readers the lowdown on outdoor adventures, Maurizio Valerio and his wife, Allison Mickens, have established a pair of virtual niches from their Baker City office on Campbell Street.

Theyre Web sites and databases that serve outdoor enthusiasts worldwide.

Their newest venture is a Web site called outdoorbuyingclub.com.

Through it, Valerio, himself an avid outdoorsman, hopes to outfit the outfitters. The new Web site, set to go online earlier this month, will allow outdoor professionals to purchase clothing and equipment directly from manufacturers at wholesale prices or slightly below.

The idea came to him, Valerio said, when he saw how professional golfers and tennis players never pay for their rackets or clubs. Sporting equipment and clothing manufacturers fall all over themselves getting complimentary items into the hands of club and touring professionals, he says, because they know tens of thousands of amateurs will emulate their heroes and buy the equipment that they think will make their game on par with their favorite pros.

Why not, Valerio noted, offer the same courtesy to outdoor professionals?

Over the years, Valerio has added upwards of 100,000 outdoor professionals to his database, which is the largest collection of outdoor service providers in the world.

Members will be able to enjoy their freedom and individuality, yet enjoy the convenience, professionalism and savings that only a large buying club can offer, Valerio said of his newest concept. Companies like to plug into the power that we have anyway, and I wanted these professionals to receive some of the same consideration that professional athletes receive.

The database itself also makes Valerio money under the name B2B Outdoors. Companies that manufacture clothing and equipment for outdoorsmen and women as well as companies that offer outdoor adventures are willing to pay good money to affix Valerios Top-Rated seal to the products advertised on their Web sites and other sales literature.

Valerios books, Web sites and databases windows to the world of the great outdoors are gathered in places scattered from La Grande to Maryland, but the company is run from a small office in Baker City.

Its a virtual corporation, and we outsource what we can, including graphic design, Valerio said. But we love doing what we do right here in Baker City. Its the largest collection of who does what where in the great outdoors.