Salomon announced today that the company is closing its Boulder, Colorado-based design center by September of this year. Salomon also announced that all the design functions and an as-yet-to-be-determined number of employees will relocate to Salomon’s Global Design Center in Annecy, France, joining the current staff of 750 there. SNEWS® has learned that the current 45 (approximately) Colorado-based employees have until Feb. 15 to decide if Annecy is where they might like to call home for the next couple of years — not a bad gig at all if you are single, without kids, or can relocate easily. Apparently no positions were offered in Salomon USA’s Portland offices. SNEWS® View: It does not surprise us that Salomon is closing the Boulder facility for cost reasons. Where Salomon chose to base the design center was in the second-highest rent district in Boulder with an average per-square-foot rate of $24-25. Add in other costs, and we were not surprised to learn that Salomon was spending an estimated $35,000 a month. Too, Salomon never publicized or leveraged the facility either in terms of being a supporting community member or as a key element in the success of Salomon’s product development. Insiders have told us that Jean-Luc Diard, Salomon’s president and CEO, told the Boulder staff earlier this week that the company was shutting down the center to save cash following the Arc’Teryx purchase. To its credit, Salomon does appear to be treating employees very fairly with nice severance packages. However, nothing is in writing yet, we have learned, so details regarding promises of new positions for employees in France are, at best, vague in their scope. What we do hope is that this does not affect Fall 2003 designs that are just now underway.