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>> We were a bit surprised when we read the quote from Base Camp PR’s Mike Geraci in the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market daily, then later in Bicycle Retailer, referring to the popularity of the yellow Live Strong bracelets sold to benefit the Lance Armstrong Foundation: “It’s reached mass hysteria stupidness.” We were wondering what Geraci was thinking and caught up with him to ask. “Generally, it’s lost its meaning. When fashionistas in Soho are wearing them, people don’t remember what the meaning was originally for. It’s kinda gotten to a pop culture feeding frenzy,” Geraci told SNEWS®. He also sent out a letter to his friends in the cycling industry explaining his comment and sharing that his father has also fought prostate and bladder cancer: “While the quote was in reference to the feeding frenzy for the Live Strong bands that the campaign has generated and that, in my mind, the bands have lost much of their original symbolism, admittedly, it was a poor choice of words to express the success of the program. For that, I offer my sincere apologies to those whom I have offended with my careless remarks…. Anyone and everyone that supports cancer research, in whatever way they choose, deserves sincere thanks and support and not flippant social commentary.” Geraci added that he is pledging $5,000 to the Lance Armstrong Foundation for cancer research, and will work in conjunction with his local hospital and healthcare agencies to develop and promote a LAF fund-raising ride. “This is a little bit for contrition, but mostly because I am reminded that I prefer to be part of the solution, not part of the problem,” he wrote. The goal of the Live Strong campaign is to raise $5 million for people living with cancer and the bracelets are now on back order. www.wearyellow.com
>> Broform, owned by Influence Technology, earned major karma points while on the way to the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market Open Air Demo. As they were roaring up the Interstate, the Broform RV blasted by Riot Kayak’s broken down Dodge Ram, still loaded with boats clearly intended for the water and not the breakdown lane. Reacting quickly, Broform zipped over to the side of the freeway and began reversing down the breakdown lane until they arrived back at the truck. “Loading boats from the truck into our RV was kind of sketchy as we actually needed to pop the side of the RV out in order to get the boats in,” Influence Technology’s VP of Sales Adam Hostetter told SNEWS®. “The side of our RV and the points of the boats were only inches away from 18 wheelers and SUV’s screaming by.” Once the boats were loaded Broform added a UK Riot distributor to the load and headed up the canyon. Chad Sorenson, Broform’s account services manager, was kind enough to let Riot use his AAA card to get the rep’s truck hauled off to a garage for repair. When we asked Sorenson for a comment, he simply told us, “Wouldn’t you be stoked if someone did that for you?”
>> Colorado Kayak Supply (CKS) and Rocky Mountain Outdoor Center (RMOC), both headquartered in Colorado’s Arkansas River Valley, are smoking the peace pipe and agreeing to quit competing against each other. Instead, the two whitewater paddlesport businesses will work together to deliver a strong combination of retail service and instruction. Formerly, retailer CKS (www.coloradokayak.com) has offered lessons through its Summit Kayak School, while RMOC (www.rmoc.com) paddling school has sold paddlesports gear through its sister company, Headwaters Outdoors Equipment. Beginning Jan. 1, CKS will focus strictly on retail sales and RMOC will concentrate exclusively on instruction. Although still separate businesses, they will share three store locations and cross-promote their catalogs, websites and other marketing programs. CKS will begin operating a new whitewater center in the RMOC/Headwaters building in Salida, while RMOC will have a school presence at CKS’s Silverthorne and Buena Vista location. The new Buena Vista store replaces the Nathrop location, which will close in the fall. “Our knowledge and appreciation for rivers and the outdoors, coupled with our collective experiences as retail leaders and professional guides, gives us the ability to create a truly effective and rewarding paddlesports experience for both our companies and our clients,” said Chad Gorby, co-owner of CKS. RMOC General Manager Hank Bevington added that CKS and RMOC will now be able to direct their resources to not only strengthen their respective businesses but also better position the Arkansas Valley as the premier whitewater paddling destination in the country.
>> Going where most others have never gone before, Columbia Sportswear has signed distribution agreements with South Africa’s Foschini Retail Group and Philippines’ Kenrich International Distributor Corp. (KIDC). Columbia spokespeople said the new relationships further the company’s strategy to distribute apparel and footwear to countries in which its products have never been sold. Foschini Retail Group, a subsidiary of Foschini Ltd., will distribute Columbia products throughout South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Swaziland and Lesotho. It will start showing Columbia in its new Due South retail concept shops in seven stores located in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Pretoria. KIDC, a retailer and wholesaler throughout the Philippines, plans to sell Columbia in several of its select corporate stores, concept shops and through key wholesale accounts. Shipments will start with the fall 2004 product lines.
>> Part of the XML bandwagon, Wildcat Software and Montrail have launched OIConnect.com to help retailers in the outdoor industry connect with distributors and manufacturers. “We are very excited to offer a solution for the outdoor industry to help companies lower their operating costs by providing a simple, web-based marketplace to interact with their trading partners. Companies now can reduce the overhead associated with multiple calls, faxes and catalogs, and use a single, easy-to-use website for the interactions,” said Stewart Vassau, CEO of Wildcat Software. OIConnect (www.OIConnect.com) allows suppliers to share their catalogs and key company information with prospective buyers, who in-turn can place secure orders with those suppliers. OIConnect is available to any buyer or supplier in the industry, and leverages the open XML standards driven by the industry’s B2Bi group. Companies that are XML compliant can integrate internal systems with OIConnect to further automate the catalog and order exchange processes. “For 18 months we have been working with key companies in the industry to help promote the use of open XML standards for common B2B transactions, and through OIConnect.com we are able to provide a means for industry companies to use those open standards to communicate with their trading partners,” said Montrail President Scott Tucker.
>> Outlast offered a sneak preview of its latest TV commercials during Summer Market. According to Outlast, the tongue-in-cheek TV commercial pokes fun at Outlast models during a photo shoot, while promoting its Smart Fabric Technology. “We took this entertaining approach because we believe it to be more memorable than straightforward product advertising,” said Brad Poorman, senior vice president of global sales and marketing. “We’re essentially launching a new brand to consumers, and unexpected humor always helps make the message stick. We can change the billboard at the end to feature various brands using Smart Fabric Technology by Outlast based on their commitment to the program. We’ll measure response to the ad before rolling it out along with the accompanying print campaign this fall.” If you missed it at OR, you can catch a glimpse during the MAGIC trade show in Las Vegas, where it will air on CNN, CNBC and ESPN to take advantage of viewer ship among MAGIC show attendees as they watch news updates of the Republican National Convention and sports highlights that week. Thomas Dooley Advertising in Boulder, Colo., produced the TV commercial and print ads.
>> Smith Optics has extended the warranty on all its sunglasses from one year to the life of the product. The company said the change shows its commitment to quality and performance and hopes customers will further develop trust in the brand. Sunglasses will be repaired or replaced at no charge for manufacturer defects. “Smith has built its reputation on high quality eyewear,” said Ned Post, president of Smith Optics. “We want our customers to feel secure with a Smith Optics purchase, and our new lifetime warranty shows we stand behind our product and value our customers.” Smith also offers a repair and replacement policy covering sunglasses that are damaged for any reason other than loss or manufacturer defect, and will repair or replace the sunglasses for a nominal fee. For more information, go to www.smithoptics.com/customerservice/warranty.htm.
>> Honoring the premier Polartec-based garments and accessories, Polartec’s Apex Design Awards weren’t short on winners this year. Winners were selected based on the style, function and fit of the garment, as well as the most innovative and appropriate uses of Polartec fabrics in the designs. According to Polartec, Mountain Hardwear’s Poodle Jacket, Arc’Teryx’s Covert Cardigan, EMS’ Quadzilla Jacket, Ojai’s Winter-Tec Hoody, Prana’s Women’s Microfleece Hoody and Patagonia’s R2 Granular are examples of a new trend in technical insulation and offer unique textures, attention to detail and can easily make the transition from the backcountry to the city. In soft shell, Mountain Equipment Coop took honors with the women’s Pamir soft shell jacket with clean lines; REI for the Groove parka designed for climbers and skiers; and Ground’s Zephyr hooded jacket with unique color blocking for street appeal without sacrificing function. Soft shell accessory winners were Timberland’s Snow Lizard Soft Shell Mid Shoe and Seirus Soft Shell Glove System with two integrated pairs of gloves in one package. Other winners in 2004 include: Mountain Sprouts’ Zippy Maternity Top and Baby Polar Gear Nuzzler, Ariat’s Insulated Tek Grip Glove, HYP Golf’s Double Zip Women’s Jacket , 180’s Exolite ear warmer, Patagonia’s R2 Body Rug, Sheebeest’s vest and tight with Polartec Wind Pro and Power Stretch, Outdoor Research’s Rucker gloves, Scentlok’s Dakotah Fleece Jacket, Browning’s Gatorfleece, and Simms Fishing Products’ fishing top. Pieces will be available to consumers in the fall.
>> David Presley has been named vice president of distribution and logistics for REI. Presley will oversee the operation of REI’s 500,000-square-foot distribution center in Sumner, Wash., and the center’s 350 employees. In addition, he will head warehousing, order processing and product distribution operations supporting REI’s online and retail businesses. Presley comes from the global air cargo division of Expeditors International. Prior to that, he was a managing director at FedEx.
>> Rutabaga handed out Teeny Trophies to coveted vendors while at Outdoor Retailer Summer Market. For the fourth time in as many years, Rutabaga turned to plastic trophies worth a couple of bucks each to recognize valuable vendors. In no particular order then, the award winners are: Outstanding New Vendor Partner – Boats goes to Hobie; Outstanding New Vendor Partner – Accessories goes to Astral Bouyancy; Outstanding Rep/Vendor Team Partnership goes to Pete Huseboe and Teva; Accessory Vendor Partnership Award goes to Werner Paddles; Herbert Kornfeld Accountz Receevabo Accounting Award (don’t ask) goes to Barb Marshall at Wenonah for the fewest invoicing mistakes and quickest credits processed; Outstanding Boat Rep Partner goes to Dave Larsen; Vendor Partner Award for Best In-House Rep goes to Kristin Toy at Peregrine; Most Successful New Boat Introduction goes to Current Designs’ Kestral; Best Vendor We Don’t Buy Stuff From goes to Impex Kayaks; and Best In Show goes to Team NRS. Congrats to all.
>> Two-year-old Ground, an apparel and equipment manufacturer in Emeryville, Calif.,
has hired Ryan Clark as vice president of sales and marketing. Clark will handle the development and implementation of brand initiatives, manage the sales operations, and oversee the company’s domestic and international sales and marketing plans. Clark’s background includes independent sales and marketing. When asked about the state of business and the tasks at hand, Clark said in a statement, “Our industry is on the verge of a big turn around. All of us are positioning for the upswing and the business environment has become exceptionally competitive. Ground is situated in a wonderful position, as the product is truly unique and cutting edge. The industry has seemingly lost some of that edge and these guys are bringing it back. Yesterday’s marketing tactics, mediocre product but phenomenal marketing, no longer work. Today and tomorrow’s consumers are driven by exceptional product. I believe Ground is ready to take full advantage of this shift.” Clark can be reached at 614-309-3676 or email@example.com.
>> The Timberland Company ranks. It was No. 38 in Industry Week magazine’s list of “50 Best-Managed Manufacturing Companies.” Members of the Industry Week U.S. 500, the largest publicly traded manufacturing companies in the United States, were considered for the annual list. Top-performing manufacturers were identified based on revenue growth and profit margin over the past three years, with 2003 results weighted most heavily. Industry Week also considered three-year performance in inventory turns, asset turnover, return on assets and return on equity. Timberland (www.timberland.com) is ranked No. 388 in the Industry Week U.S. 500. Fore more info, visit www.industryweek.com.