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Park City, Utah (Oct. 25, 2010) — Online retailer of outdoor gear, Backcountry.com, is beefing up its leadership team with a guy who has probably never heard his name and “beefing up” in the same sentence before. Lean though he may be, Mark Koppes is a product business heavyweight, with more than 25 years of head-of-operations experience at some of the most renowned names in sports apparel. He joins Backcountry.com as Vice President of Merchandising.
Koppes is fresh off a five-year stint at Columbia Sportswear, where he held three consecutive VP positions: Men’s Apparel, USA Apparel, and, ultimately, Global Apparel. To earn his big boss chops, he spent the 15 previous years at Nike. During the company’s heyday 90s, Koppes worked his way up from Product Line Manager, through high posts in merchandising and marketing at Nike Europe, to GM of Sport Apparel back at company HQ in Portland. He started off his career at a little retailer called Nordstrom.
Koppes’s knowledge of the apparel business with a finger on the pulse of consumer behavior is teamed with a passion for Brand with a capital B.
“Customers are the true test of any brand. Marketers can easily breathe too much of their own air, and that keeps them from recognizing opportunity,” he said. “If you’re, say, a national outdoor retailer based in Utah and you talk to hikers at a trailhead in North Carolina or skiers in the lift line at Sugarbush and they don’t know who you are, you have some work to do. I really like engaging customers and companies together to get things right.”
With his instatement as Merchandising VP, the execs at Backcountry.com obviously think the skinny guy is on to something.