For the week of Nov. 15-21
>> 3point5 has secured venture capital financing from vSpring Capital, a venture capital firm operating in the general Internet space. As a result of the investment, 3point5 has also added to its board of directors: Scott Petty, managing partner for vSpring who specializes in retail; Mike Levinthal, who has experience growing start-ups having been involved with 30 of them, mostly in the software space; and Tom Stockham, the former CEO of MyFamily.com who is credited with guiding the organization from a money-loser to a very successful Internet company. In addition, the company has hired Matt Hoffman as operations director, Jeremy Knudsen as technology director, Dave Stockham as sales director, and Sara Whitner as project manager for the 3point5 site.
>> Jackson Kayak’s Super Hero swept the podium in the short boat class at the recent 10th annual Green River Narrows Race near Asheville, N.C. Jackson Kayak founder and namesake Eric “EJ” Jackson finished first in 5:05 followed by Team JK paddler Clay Wright who earned second place finishing a second behind Jackson. Chris Stafford placed third, tying with Bo Wallace. Stafford’s maiden voyage in the Super Hero came when his own boat (a Necky our sources on the scene tell us) broke and he had to find a replacement pronto. Prijon’s Tornado swept the long boat division with Tommy Hilleke setting a course record of 4:34, followed by Chris Grattmans at 4:40 and John Grace at 4:44. The event, which begins with competitors launching themselves off an 18-foot waterfall, attracted 70 competitors and 350 lookers-on. In a quote that appeared in the Greenville News, Woody Callaway of Liquid Logic, one of the first to compete in this event when it began, dubbed the Green River Narrows, “The best extreme race in the world.”
>> The Nov. 4 edition of the Puget Sound Business Journal named its picks for “20 local women of influence” and Sally Jewell, president and CEO of REI, is one. Jewell, age 49, offered up this bit of wisdom, “Don’t sacrifice life for a career. Find a job that you like in a place that you like, and you’ll have a better chance of balance and good health.” To read the complete story with much more on Jewell, click here.
>> Here today, gone tomorrow. That’s the fate of Paddle Press Magazine, which, with one magazine out, and three more scheduled for publication in 2006, pulled the plug following the departure of its editor Steve Metcalf. “It’s an unfortunate situation because the response to Paddle Press Magazine has been tremendous,” said Publisher Ken Whiting. Whiting hopes to relaunch the magazine in 2007. The Heliconia Press, which produced Paddle Press, will continue with the production of its books and DVDs. Metcalf, the former editor in chief of Powder told SNEWSÂ® that he was happy to help his friend Whiting with the launch of the paddling magazine venture, but when a “chance of a lifetime” came along to move back to ski country, his first love, he couldn’t pass it up. Metcalf is now working with Aspen/Snowmass as the resort’s senior marketing manager.
>> Umpqua Feather Merchants, a leading manufacturer of fishing flies, is leaving its namesake North Umpqua river location and moving to Louisville, Colo. The company cited, as reasons for the move: Availability of a larger labor pool, many of whom are skilled practitioners of the sport Umpqua serves; three-day shipping to almost anywhere in the United States, ensuring quicker service to all customers; reduced transit time to and from overseas suppliers; and easier and shorter travel time for Umpqua personnel to all customer locations. The company also stated that this was simply a continuation of the strategy owner Hans Bosch outlined when he purchased Umpqua two years ago, which included the construction of a new physical plant, designed for operational efficiency and growth in the 21st century. Over the years add-ons, to what was essentially an old metal barn, have been made to the Oregon facility. This provided an increase in space but did not enhance workplace efficiency. What Umpqua needed was a new, state-of-the-art facility housing all operations under one roof, it said. That new building will be in Colorado. The relocation will be carried out in two phases lasting up to 18 months, with elements of management moving immediately.
>> According to the National Retail Federation 2005 Holiday Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey, more consumers will be leaving their credit cards at home as they hit the stores for holiday shopping. While debit/check cards will remain the favored form of payment this holiday season at 34.3 percent, fewer people said they will be relying on credit cards when purchasing holiday merchandise (28.2 percent vs. 29.5 percent in 2004). In fact, cash has replaced credit cards as the second most-popular payment method, as one in four shoppers (28.5 percent) plans to primarily use cash during the winter holidays, up from 25.9 percent last year. Nine percent of shoppers said they will be writing checks at the register. NRF continues to project that holiday sales will increase 5 percent this year to $435.3 billion. The study was conducted for NRF by BIGresearch.
>> After a year on the Web, Snowshoe Magazine is ready to go to press. The first print issue of the only magazine devoted to the sport of snowshoeing will debut in December, with plans for a second season issue in January. It intends to publish four issues for the 2006/2007 winter season. After finding success on the Internet and prodding from its website visitors to publish a magazine, it’ll be available throughout North America with a small representation in Europe, New Zealand and Australia. As the go-to resource for snowshoers, Snowshoe Magazine targets all areas of the sport — racers/ competitors, backcountry enthusiasts/casual hikers and beginners/first-timers. The launch of the print magazine has sparked the launch of a new website design for SnowshoeMag.com, and will feature a free e-mail newsletter, online content, discussion forums and event calendar. Check it out at www.snowshoemag.com.
>> Time Magazine’s annual issue introducing the most amazing inventions of 2005 included TrapTek technology incorporated in Cannondale’s Carbon LE garments. TrapTek’s invention permanently embeds activated carbon, derived from coconut shells, into fiber and yarns to enhance the performance of fabrics. The new fabrics, engineered by United Knitting, exhibit a significant breakthrough by not only managing or wicking moisture, but also drying at unprecedented rates keeping cyclists cool and dry. Additionally, these knits naturally trap odor and UV in the carbon pore structure, keeping the finished products fresh and lightweight with superior UPF qualities.
>> Not to be outdone, NEMO Equipment’s AirSupported Technology has also been recognized by Time Magazine’s amazing inventions section, as well as Popular Science Magazine’s “Best of What’s New.” NEMO AirSupported tents are low-pressure pneumatic backpacking tents that offer reduced weight and better packability.
>> Gander Mountain has signed leases for three new outdoor lifestyle specialty stores to open in the spring of 2006. The new 65,000-square-foot stores, scheduled to open in April and May, will be located in: Blaine, Minn. (replaces the Fridley store); Mooresville, N.C.; and Tyler, Texas.
>> Retail sales of almost everything but autos were surprisingly strong in October, the U.S. Commerce Department said, suggesting consumer uneasiness may not cloud the holiday shopping season as much as some forecasters feared. Overall, the nation’s retail sales slipped a seasonally adjusted 0.1 percent in October after rising 0.3 percent in September, the Commerce Department said. Auto sales dropped 3.6 percent, following a surge during the summer, when auto makers were offering hefty incentives. Excluding sales of autos and auto parts, retail sales increased 0.9 percent. Excluding automobile and gasoline sales, which dropped 0.8 percent last month as pump prices fell, sales increased 1.1 percent. Clothing stores, building-material and garden stores showed the greatest sales increases, the department said.
>> Meanwhile, the producer-price index, which tracks the change in prices for domestic wholesalers and manufacturers, rose 0.7 percent last month after climbing 1.9 percent in September and 0.6 percent in August, the Labor Department said. Excluding food and energy prices, the core producer-price index slipped 0.3 percent, reversing September’s 0.3 percent increase and signaling that high-energy prices aren’t fueling broader wholesale inflation.
>> Royal Robbins has hired Scott Hamlin as its new director of product, responsible for all product design, development and product marketing. Hamlin has more than 13 years of solid product and branding experience, working with major international brands, including adidas and Jockey. Â
>> Optic Nerve has launched a completely integrated interactive campaign to support its retail partners. Using its completely redesigned website and targeted online banner ad campaign, it said it’s hoping to drive new consumers through www.nerveusa.com to dealers nationwide.
>> VF Corp., parent of The North Face, JanSport and Eastpak to name a few, awarded a consolidated $110 million media buying contract to mediaedge:cia. It will be in charge of buying advertising space for VF marketing efforts across its various brands. Mediaedge:cia is a part of the WPP Group, a large conglomerate of marketing agencies. Brand management and creative work will still be handled separately by VF and its other advertising agencies.