>> With 20 years of financial, textile and apparel experience, Michael Spillane has been named the president and CEO of Malden Mills. Previously, he was the president of children’s apparel and men’s underwear and loungewear at Tommy Hilfiger U.S.A. Spillane’s immediate priorities will be to work with the board of directors on recruiting key personnel, including a CFO, increasing profitability through sales growth and cost controls, and developing new markets for the company’s products. “Malden has been positioning itself for growth on several fronts and Michael has the right skills and experience, to lead the company to the next level,” said Richard McCaffery, chairman of the board’s management selection committee that led the CEO search. “We conducted an exhaustive search over the last nine months and Michael was a clear standout. His ability to grow revenue and create value makes him an ideal leader for Malden Mills.” One of Spillane’s immediate goals will be exploring new marketing, branding and product development initiatives. “The Polartec and Polarfleece brands stand for quality and performance and represent tremendous opportunities for growing in new directions,” Spillane said. “With the kind of long-term, top-quality trade customers Malden Mills is so fortunate to enjoy relationships with, along with the avid support among consumers, the opportunities for extension and expansion of Malden Mills’ portfolio of products and brands are plentiful and exciting.” Spillane has also held senior positions at Jockey International and Missbrenner Inc.
>> Pacific Trail has signed a three-year licensing agreement with Tuned In Sports and will soon offer tents and cots. Tuned In Sports manufactures, markets and distributes tents and camping furniture and will begin distributing Pacific Trail’s tents and cots to sporting goods retailers in November 2004. “We are a recreational outdoor wear brand, so this agreement is a natural extension for us,” Gary Hansen, president of Pacific Trail, said. “The tent line offers a distinct point of difference with its Boing technology, an easy-to-assemble process for setting up a tent. This will establish a strong niche for us in the recreational equipment marketplace.” The collection of tents was developed with the car camper and recreational user in mind and includes four different tent styles: the Cub, which sleeps one person; the Klondike, which sleeps two to three people; the Bighorn, which sleeps four people and packs flat; and the Teton dome, which sleeps up to five people. Pacific Trail will also offer the Moosum cot, which is lightweight and holds up to 600 pounds.
>> Mountain Hardwear has created a company based in Thalwil, Switzerland, to handle sales, marketing and distribution of products in Germany, Austria, France, Italy, Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg. Although Mountain Hardwear will function independently in Europe, it will use some facilities and infrastructure that has already been established by its parent company Columbia Sportswear. “With the increased involvement of our European sales agencies and distributors over the last several years, the line as a whole has been greatly influenced by their needs and tastes,” Mike Wallenfels, vice president of marketing and sales for the U.S., said. “If you compared the line five years ago with the line today, you would realize the newer products have a decidedly global look to them…but they are doing well here too. The outdoor market is becoming more of a global market than ever before.” Several products, such as the Volcano series of synthetic sleeping bags and the Refuge two-person Superlight tent, have been developed for exclusive distribution in Europe.
>> Lowa Boots has taken a step up in Adventure 16’s West Los Angeles store with its recently designed and installed concept shop. It’s a first for A16, and the store has the largest selection of Lowa footwear in the country. “We’re excited to partner with Lowa to help us increase sales in the undersold area of backpacking and mountaineering boots here in Southern California,” John Mead, A16’s president, said. “Our goal with the concept shop is to tell a complete Lowa story. The visual impact, breadth of the line, and heightened dedication to educating our retail customers and our own sales team will help us achieve this goal.” A dedicated Lowa wall at the heart of the boot department is the focal point of the shop.
>> C.A.M.P. USA recently announced that Bill Crouse will be the company’s new Rocky Mountain region sales rep. Crouse is a respected climber and Everest guide, as well as a sales rep and manager who has pioneered brands such as The North Face. “With Bill’s extensive background in both mountaineering and the rep business, he brings even greater recognition to the C.A.M.P. brand in the U.S.,” said Tommy Knoll, marketing and sales director for C.A.M.P. USA. “I am impressed by the history of C.A.M.P.,” Crouse said. “It is a third generation family-owned business.” Broomfield, Colo., is C.A.M.P. USA’s American headquarters, but the company is more than 115 years old and originated in Premana, Italy.
>> Marmot has signed Beth Rodden and Tommy Caldwell to long-term endorsement and design contracts. Rodden and Caldwell will work as members of Marmot’s design team to develop and test in-line and forward-concept products, including sportswear items. Rodden and Caldwell will also introduce a signature collection of sportswear to be launched in spring 2006. The relationship between the climbers and Marmot began almost six years ago. “We worked with Tommy this year in the development of an ultra light shell jacket — the 8.6-ounce Essence Jacket,” Jim Frazier, vice president of design, said in a statement. “Now we begin work with both Tommy and Beth in the development of their individual signature collection of Marmot sportswear as well as packs, tents, bags, gloves and the full range of Marmot outerwear.”
>> Recreational Equipment Inc. (REI) and the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics have created a new program to educate children about the outdoors and the responsible use of public lands. The program, christened Promoting Environmental Awareness in Kids (PEAK), is free and packaged in REI backpacks. It is based on Leave No Trace’s seven principles of environmental ethics and includes four lessons with activities designed for 6 to 12 year olds. The lessons integrate illustrated characters, such as Trek and Track (a pair of hiking boots), Pointer (a compass) and Sparks (a camp stove), with hands-on activities and games. Two versions are on offer, one for community presentations or for REI employees to use in stores, and another for educators, camp directors, youth group leaders, outdoor guides and others. “The new PEAK packs are an easy way to incorporate lessons on environmental ethics to existing youth programs,” Dennis Madsen, REI’s president and CEO, said in a statement. “We’re expecting to reach more than 20,000 youth with these important messages this year in hopes of helping create the next generation of environmental stewards.”
>> Steve Rendle and Todd Spaletto have been appointed positions at The North Face. Rendle is president of The North Face — Americas, and Spaletto is vice president of sales for the United States. Rendle has been with the company since 1999; Spaletto joined the company in May 2003 as national sales director after leaving sister company JanSport.
>> Nikwax has launched a UV testing facility for fabrics at the Miquelina Foundation in Bogota, Columbia. The charitable foundation that supports single mothers has agreed to install a computer-controlled light meter at the 9,000-foot-high facility, which receives 12 hours of intense sunlight per day. Money paid by outdoor industry companies to test fabric swatches for UV degradation will go to the facility. Naturally, Nikwax hopes this will also result in increased sales for its new product, UV Proof, which the company claims will double a fabric’s resistance to UV. For more information, contact Nikwax North America at 800-563-3057.
>> Gilles Lapierre of Mountain Sports in Boulder, Colo., is closing the company’s doors after seven years of business. A saturated market, sagging economy, and debt from acquisitions have all taken their toll. Read more by visiting http://dailycamera.com/bdc/local_business/article/0,1713,BDC_2461_3060660,00.html.
>> GERMANY — The awards bestowed at the Friedrichshafen OutDoor show for great products went this year to Mountain Equipment and Schoeller. U.K.-based Mountain Equipment took the top prize for “best product of the year” for its sleeping bag series called Moonwalker. Switzerland-based Schoeller was awarded the prize for “innovation of the year” for its Nanosphere technology. The jury for the awards consists of editors from top magazines including Germany’s Outdoor, Great Britain’s TGO, Op Pad from Holland and Ute Magasinet from Sweden.
>> Karim Pine has been names vice president of sales and marketing for Arctic Edge LLC, the North American distributors of 66º North. Before joining 66º North, Pine worked as promotions and marketing manager for CW-X (Wacoal Sports Science Corp.) in New York City. He is a former elite cross-country skier and road cyclist and has more than 10 years of retail, sales and marketing experience in the outdoor industry. Pine will handle several marketing and sales initiatives and will lead the company’s athlete/event sponsorship program.
>> Royal Robbins recently announced the winner of its annual Yosemite trip giveaway — Katherine Anderson of Ithaca, N.Y. Each year the company runs the contest on its website, www.royalrobbins.com. Customers can enter throughout the year, and a winner is chosen in mid-June.