John Schweizer, president of Garmont NA, the North American distribution partner of Italian-based Garmont, and his business partner Bill Hill, have sold their interest as of July 1 in both Garmont NA and Garmont to Achille Morlin, president of Garmont.
Gord Bailey will take over as the new president of Garmont NA, which now will operate as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Garmont.
In an email to friends, Schweizer stated, “We have had a very satisfying and financially successful 12 years running Garmont NA, Inc. and developing the Garmont, Bridgedale, 7tm and Life-Link brands. However, with the changing business environment and with diverse opinions on company direction, we concluded it was the best time to take our investment and pursue new interests. Our plan is to take a long summer vacation and then return to the business world in the fall to explore these new opportunities.”
Bailey has been an executive vice president with the company until this promotion. Seven years ago, he moved from Canada where he ran the Canadian distributorship for Garmont prior to its merger with Garmont NA.
As far as retailers and customers of Garmont brands are concerned, nothing will really change, he told SNEWS. “The only folks departing from the company are shareholders. All other staff, our customer service, and our rep force will continue as before.”
Life-Link, which was acquired by Garmont NA almost exactly a year ago to the day (click here to read story — http://www.outsidebusinessjournal.com/cgi-bin/snews/09292.html) is now owned by Garmont and Bailey said he sees great opportunity there, both domestically and internationally.
Bridgedale and 7tm brands will also continue to be distributed by Garmont NA.
Previously, Gary Richter, former sales and marketing manager, had parted ways with the company, going his own way as of May 1.
For those wanting to stay in touch with Schweizer, he can be reached by email at email@example.com.
SNEWS View: Ahhh, yet another example of what we can continue to see with the shifting values of the dollar and Euro coupled with the global economic climate. Such was the case earlier this month with it was announced by Black Diamond that it would no longer continue to distribute Beal ropes in North America. We expect to see more such shifts in the distributor network in the months to come.
It will become much harder economically for standard independent distributor models to work, especially in relationship to European parent companies who almost always think the U.S. distributor should be selling more and doing more – but with less profit.
With the investment European companies such as Garmont continue to make in R&D, marketing and manufacturing and, at the same time, trying to establish a global pricing model, it doesn’t take long to realize that unless the company controls the distribution outlets in every country it wishes to be in, success and profit are increasingly difficult to manage for.
With Garmont in Italy now the owner of Garmont NA, it is solely responsible for the brand direction, sales, marketing and distribution in North America. That also means it has cut out a small slice of the pie it was having to serve up to other distributor owners and partners giving it a bit more wiggle room in margins.