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>> Mountain Sports Media, publishers of Ski and Skiing magazines, has shut down SnowTradeNews.com (STN), the online ski industry newsletter that it ran for the last two years with financial support from SnowSports Industries America (SIA). Seth Masia, editor of STN, told SNEWS that he will be launching his own online ski industry newsletter, SIN (Seth Industry News), to replace STN. That venture will be free for the first few months and then revert to a subscription-only format similar to SNEWS. SNEWS View: SIA funded the launch of STN with the mandate that Mountain Sports Media begin to sell advertising and create a self-supporting venture. That did not happen, even to a small degree. SIA reduced its contributions in the second year as planned and this year, with no sales support and no SIA support, the writing was on the wall. Masia could do very well operating his own news venture as he has the writing talent and the insider connections to make such a newsletter work. The question remains, though, will ski and snowboard retailers be willing to go from a free news source to a pay-to-read one, even if the quality of the read and information presented is so much better? Masia hopes so.
>> L’Aventurier, a Quebec, Canada-based, outdoor retailer is shutting down its retail operations, but working with creditors and a Canadian bankruptcy court to continue the manufacturing operations of the company’s Chlorophylle sportswear line, SNEWS has learned. Insiders tell us the retail side of the company has filed documents with the Canadian courts, outlining nearly $4.4 million (Canadian) in debt to secured creditors. The bankruptcy proceedings are complicated by the fact that while Chlorophylle is reportedly not filing for bankruptcy protection, the bank loans for the retail operations are jointly owned with Chlorophylle. Insiders close to Forzani have indicated to SNEWS that the giant retail conglomerate has or will be acquiring L’Aventurier’s name, the company’s five stores as well as the company’s remaining inventory for approximately $3 million (Canadian). Forzani just reported company net earnings were up 48 percent and that corporate sales eclipsed $1 billion (Canadian) for the first time in company history. The company attributed some of the boom to Olympic apparel and licensed goods sales following hockey and figure skating golds.
>> Wacoal Sports Science Corp.’s CW-X Performance Conditioning Wear has expanded to 17 states with an independent sales representative force that now covers over half the country. Agencies representing Wacoal Sports Science Corp. in the United States are: Atlantic Sports Inc. (908-782-7111); Roger Jones & Associates (205-939-3879); Highland Sales Inc. (800-757-9374); OTR Sales Inc. (817-488-3244); and The Hammond Group, Inc. (847-359-9372). For more information on Wacoal Sports Science, click on www.cw-x.com.
>> Following the near collapse of their building (reported in last week’s SNEWS), Lowe Alpine’s staff pulled virtual rabbit out of the hat and is running at 100 percent. “Our team worked miracles last week and put out several huge shipments,” company President Geoff O’Keeffe told SNEWS.
>> PrimaLoft has a new website designed to help manufacturers, retailers and consumers learn more about PrimaLoft insulation easily. Click on www.primaloft.com to learn more.
>> Jack Harding, president of J Harding Associates, has been named sales rep of the year by Buck Knives. Harding’s agency represents Buck in nine Western states. Harding has been with the Buck family for 23 years and, according to a company statement, “epitomizes the commitment and service excellence Buck’s retail partners have come to expect. Buck Knives achieved a 10 percent increase in overall sales in 2002 and Jack’s efforts were largely responsible for that success.”
>> Salamander Paddle Gear, a division of American Outdoor Products, has named Backbone Media as the company’s official PR agency. The company joins other American Outdoor Products brands that Backbone currently handles including Backpacker’s Pantry, Campfood, Evolution Cookware and Outback Oven.
>> Werner Paddles has hired industry veteran Kelly Stone as a sales and marketing consultant. Stone, an avid paddler, worked most recently for Cascade Designs as that company’s director of sales. Stone can be reached by email at email@example.com.
>> Outpac Designs, Inc., the creators of Pacsafe travel security products and accessories, has hired six new sales reps to help with the national sales of its extensive line of travel products. The new sales force includes: Keith Reis in the Rockies, Allyn Morton in the Southeast, Fastlane Associates, Ltd. in the mid-Atlantic region (Eric Cleaveland, Rick Neill, Sarah Trachy), and Peter Whitney in the New England states. These reps join the long-serving Gage Donoho Group in the Southwest and Walter Earnest in the South. The new hires represent a variety of brands in the outdoor and travel industry including (but not limited to) Big Agnes, Cascade Designs, Ex Officio, and MountainSmith. Before securing the new sales team, most of the U.S. sales were conducted out of Outpac Designs’ California office. As well as securing new accounts for Pacsafe, the rep force will focus on in-store branding by promoting POP’s and merchandising opportunities and help train and clinic retail staff.
>> Horny Toad Activewear has promoted Cari Carmean to the creative department and Maureen Hennessy to the operations department. According to a statement from the chief toad himself, Gordon Seabury, both promotions signal company growth, an emphasis on design innovation and the expansion of the operations department for improved Horny Toad customer service.