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Clarus Corp., parent company of Black Diamond, doubles down on Utah

The news is welcomed by Utah in the wake of Outdoor Retailer's exodus and the president's cuts to national monuments last year.


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Black Diamond Equipment’s parent company is expanding in Utah over the next decade, adding high-paying jobs and nearly $50 million in value, according to the Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED).

Needless to say, the growth of Clarus Corporation bodes well for Utah in the wake of last year’s Outdoor Retailer exodus and president-sanctioned cuts to two treasured national monuments.

“Clarus Corporation is a bedrock partner and an anchor of Utah’s outdoor industry,” said Val Hale, executive director of GOED. “We couldn’t be more pleased with their decision to expand in the state of Utah. We look forward to future partnership opportunities with Clarus Corporation as we help advance the state’s outdoor recreation economy.”

Utah’s outdoor recreation economy has been the topic of much contention recently with President Trump’s reduction of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments and the departure of Outdoor Retailer for Denver. 

And a few months after Winter Sports Market said it was hosting its event in Utah, the organizers quickly pivoted when OR pushed the future Snow Show dates out two weeks to be more convenient for the snow sports communities.

However, Utah’s travel and tourism industries have reported steady growth of the global destination, despite the public’s perception and ongoing infrastructure challenges.

As part of the expansion, Clarus plans to create 147 jobs over the next eight years, with wages exceeding 110 percent of the Salt Lake County average wage. The projected new state wages over the life of the agreement are expected to be more than $91 million. Projected new state tax revenues, as a result of corporate, payroll and sales taxes, are estimated to be nearly $9 million over eight years.

Additionally, the development is expected to generate $8.9 million in new state revenue and $40 million in capital investment, according to the GOED.

The state welcomes the expansion, especially after losing the $40 to $50 million in direct economic annual impact from Outdoor Retailer pulling out of Utah in search of a state more aligned with the outdoor industry’s views on protecting public lands.

Tom Adams, Office of Outdoor Recreation Director, said he’s thrilled about the success. He worked for Black Diamond 15 years ago and said that having BD as well as Petzl, two of the leading climbing brands, says a lot about Utah’s culture and values.

“Utah is a public lands state,” Adams said. “Utahans, they truly care about the area and Black Diamond brings a culture that does the same. You can see their employees on any number of weekends doing community service in Joe’s Valley or Cottonwood helping to better the areas that we all love, especially for climbers and hikers and skiers.”

Back in 1991, Black Diamond left Ventura, California, for Salt Lake City for better access to climbing, skiing, and various mountain and canyon pursuits.

In May 2010, Clarus and Black Diamond Equipment merged. A previous incentive agreement with GOED assisted Clarus in moving its headquarters to Utah.

“Salt Lake City has been home to Black Diamond Equipment, and now Clarus, for over 25 years,” said John Walbrecht, president of Clarus. “We are excited about the future of the outdoor industry in Utah, and expect to play an important role in its growth for years to come.”

Clarus also owns Austrian-based PIEPS, the beacon technology and avalanche safety equipment brand. Clarus recently acquired Missouri-based Sierra Bullets, an iconic American manufacturer of high performance bullets.