>> Omega Pacific has hired four new people for its sales and marketing department. The new positions are a mix of independent reps and in-house account managers as the company continues to implement its new dealer-direct distribution program, which was announced late last year. J. David Ripley of Rep First will be covering the Mid-Atlantic territory. Ripley also represents Bluewater Ropes, Nike ACG, Seattle Sports and Adventure Medical Kits. Mark Wilford will be handling sales for the Mid-America region. His other lines include La Sportiva and Patagonia. In-house, Omega has added Gary Peterson and Shannon Quine as account managers who will provide support to the field reps and service to dealers.
>> Among finalists for the BrandNew awards at ispo in early February were three other American companies that didn’t get the big hoopla as overall winners but were nevertheless raking in contacts and doing good business. Speed Pac had sold off almost all of the samples of the hard-shell backpacks it specializes in and creator Jim Shook said, “I’ve been overwhelmed.” Suncepts was showing its fabric eyeglass keepers that become protectors and was going to start immediate distribution in Europe based on contacts found during the show, SNEWS was told. And High Gear was showing off its Altitech Altimeter. Tim Morgan, sourcing director, said he’d signed German and UK distributors.
>> Mountainsmith has added two more names to the growing international division. Effective immediately, Vezar and Associates, based in Montreal, assumes distribution responsibilities for Mountainsmith products in Canada. Katsuhiko Harada has been appointed to the newly created position of vice president of marketing for Mountainsmith in Japan. “The collective agenda for both appointments is to further establish Mountainsmith as a leading pack and sleeping bag brand in each respective market,” stated Mike Valvano, vice president of sales for the company. Mountainsmith is owned by Pacifica LTM, a private equity firm based in California with corporate offices in Golden, Colo.
>> BackcountryStore.com’s co-founders, Jim Holland and John Bresee, were featured as two of Utah’s rising business stars under the age of 40 by Utah Business Magazine in the publication’s February 2003 story, “Rising Stars: Top 40 under 40.” The feature profiles 40 of the most influential people under the age of 40 in Utah that are “dynamic young professionals with demonstrated records of success.”
>> Web advertising and newspaper ads are statistically tied as the No. 1 media for influencing the purchasing decisions of affluent adults, according to a new study conducted jointly by WashingtonPost.com and Nielsen/NetRatings. The survey found that adults with household incomes of more than $100,000 rely heavily on the Internet to make and research purchases. According to the survey, more than 90 percent of the 956 people queried, research and/or make automobile, computer and travel purchases online. Additionally, the majority of those surveyed said the Web is the best place for advertisers to reach them.
>> Mark your calendars for the 25th annual MountainFilm in Telluride Festival May 23-26 in Telluride, Colorado. The festival of mountain, adventure, cultural and environmental film and video will stage its largest event ever over Memorial Day weekend. The Festival combines the screening of approximately 80 films in five venues with a major symposium, book signings, gallery shows, ethnic food, open-air lectures and, according to event organizers, “the biggest birthday party Telluride has seen in a long time.” The 2003 Festival also celebrates the 50th anniversary of the first ascent of Mount Everest, the 40th anniversary of the first ascent of K2, and the 25th anniversary of the first American ascent of K2. Festival passes go on sale March 15. Visit www.mountainfilm.org for updates on films, special guests and programs, and to purchase passes and make lodging reservations.
>> WaterMark has named Tom Fumarelli as the company’s chief financial officer. Fumarelli will be based at the company’s headquarters in Arcata, Calif., and, according to the official release, will be responsible for WaterMark’s financial operations (ed note: umm, is having a CFO responsible for a company’s financial operations so unique that it required pointing this out?) Fumarelli will assume his new duties on March 10. Prior to joining WaterMark, Fumarelli, who is a C.P.A., worked at The Chanel Co. Ltd., in New York for 14 years, most recently as senior vice president of finance and operations and then as a consultant.
>> Barry T. Ryan has joined Fletcher Ltd., as vice president of sales and marketing with immediate responsibilities to spearhead its new sales, marketing and product development campaign. Fletcher Ltd. is the U.S. distributor for Blundstone footwear of Australia, Helix footwear of Germany, and owner of JiBS USA and Undertow USA.
>> Bending Branches is focusing all of the company’s future energy on the manufacture, sales and distribution of its watersports line as of this month. As a result, the company is selling off its hockey stick line, a product created in 1986 to help the small company offset a dip in sales during the off-season. Thanks to paddlesport growth, Bending Branches no longer has an off-season from paddling and needs every square foot of production space to meet current customer demand.
>> Noting that “an alarming number of Americans suffer from obesity, heart disease and other ailments brought on by a sedentary lifestyle,” the American Hiking Society (AHS) is hanging the promotion of this year’s National Trails Day on a healthy theme: “Healthy Trails, Healthy People.” Now celebrating its 11th year, National Trails Day is expected to bring over one million trail enthusiasts outdoors this year on June 7. AHS is encouraging hikers, backpackers, walkers, cyclists, canoeists and equestrians to register their organizations’ National Trails Day events on AHS’s website at www.AmericanHiking.org. “The ‘Healthy Trails, Healthy People’ theme recognizes our country’s need to combat the obesity epidemic,” says AHS President Mary Margaret Sloan. “In the past year, President Bush launched his ‘HealthierUS Initiative’ and re-introduced the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports to encourage physical activity. National Trails Day presents a great opportunity to get out and celebrate all the ways our trails promote exercise and healthy living.”