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“When one of his best personal running stories included being literally frozen to the road in Northern Saskatchewan after a fall, and the most significant injury of his running life being a slip/overuse injury during what he called a 22 mile ‘slushfest’,…. I knew he was an Icebug kind of guy. And while personal passion and experiences are important to our brand, his 25+ years of experience in the North American footwear at many levels are a significant and tangible asset.”
This, from David Ekelund, CEO of Icebug AB, based in Göteborg, Sweden, in announcing the hiring of Gary Richter to manage the brand in the US. Richter will immediately begin groundwork for a more focused strategy for the brand, which produces outdoor, running, heavy duty winter and casual footwear that emphasizes traction above all. But with fit, function and style.
“We feel that Gary’s understanding and ability to relate to sell-through challenges at the retail forefront, and ultimately end-consumer issues, are key skills for a brand like Icebug.”, commented Ekelund. Richter got his foothold in the retail end of the sporting goods industry in the mid’70s in Saskatchewan, headed west as all young men are supposed to do, then transitioned from retail to rep with veteran agency Andrea Dillon and Associates. Here he started an 8 year history with Merrell working out of Vancouver, B.C, Lachine, Quebec, Burlington, VT, Bristol in the U.K. and Kiefersfelden, Germany. Then, and during his 13 years balancing duties for Garmont North America and Garmont International, he always maintained his quest for the spirit of Al Bundy,… jumping in retail for a sale, an hour or a day in footwear departments when opportunity arose.
Since first spotting Icebug at ISPO in 2001, where the brand received the ‘Brand New’ award, he has maintained a relationship with them, championing the brand at the former distributor. These years of experience have clarified his current charge: To demonstrate the passion of the current Icebug community to retailers and to provide a simple, solid, easy to deal with distribution structure.
“Gary’s academic background, experience and belief in the aftermarket footbed market are a major plus also, as our US plans for 2010 include our AFS (ArchFlexSystem®) footbed program, which we have just successfully launched in Scandinavia.”, continues Ekelund.
From a base in Vermont (land of Ben & Jerry’s – “if it’s not fun, why do it?!”) he will run the operation in a manner that will respect and include the style and corporate culture of the parent Swedish company (aside from the 5 weeks vacation and ABBA background music ).
Icebug will be exhibiting in the Scandinavian Village at the Outdoor Retailer Winter Market January 21st – 24th, 2010 in Salt Lake City.
Gary Richter. firstname.lastname@example.org t: 802-434-7222
About Icebug: Icebug is an independent Swedish footwear company that started challenging the giant brands in 2001. Icebug is driven by innovation, creativity and integrity – a passion for making functional and stylish outdoor footwear. But it started out of frustration: Having to choose between slipping and putting off stuff we enjoyed doing outdoors because the risk of accidents. Safe, secure traction via our carbide studded BUGrip outsole and other traction strategies enable users to have ‘always on’ traction that provides security on challenging surfaces yet is wearable on typical everyday urban terrain. We produce a range of styles from running, walking, warm winter boots, occupational, casual and fashion.