The new distributor of Boreal products in the United States is The Ralph Libonati Company with offices in New Jersey and Southern Calif. President Stephen Libonati told SNEWS that his company is in the process of sending out letters announcing the change and outlining his plans for marketing and sales of the brand to current and past Boreal dealers.
SNEWS was also contacted by JesÃºs GarcÃa, general manager of Calzados Boreal, S.L., to inform us that it was Boreal which terminated the distribution agreement with Steve West.
"What really happened is that our contract with our distributor until March 20th, 2003, SW Partners Inc., was rescinded by our side due to the severe economic problems of SW Partners Inc. breaching, therefore, some of the clauses of the contract," Garcia told SNEWS.
West didn't disagree with Garcia's take on the termination of the contract, but added that it was a matter of opinion on who was in violation.
"As a distributor, we are supposed to have an exclusive distribution arrangement with the United States market, and yet Boreal continued to allow business entities in Europe and Canada to sell directly into our market in competition with the retailers we were selling to and, in effect, in competition with us," said West.
Garcia also pointed out, for the record, that Boreal USA is not a business entity and that Boreal is a brand name, owned by Calzados Boreal, S.L. with headquarters in Spain, and registered in more than 40 countries including the United States.
While it is true that Boreal USA does not have any kind of legal or business entity, SW Partners and perhaps more precisely, Steve West, do own the domain names to www.borealusa.com, as well as the associated dot-net and dot-org registrations.
West is in the process of selling off excess inventory his company has been left with. He told us he will be in contact with the new distributor to discuss if and how Libonati might wish to acquire and use the Boreal USA URLs.
The Libonati company can be contacted at 800-437-2526.
SNEWS View: That distribution question is not going to go away, and West has a valid point. We asked Garcia to comment on the concerns, but to date, we have received no response. Consider this. Currently, anyone in the United States can log onto Barrabes.com and buy, for example, the Boreal Ace for $98.04, including shipping. That same shoe sells for $150 in the United States. The Barrabes price is less than West could even pro deal the shoe for his own retailers. We trust that Libonati is going into this with eyes wide open, and it appears he is. In a conversation with Libonati, he knows full well the challenges of the global market and a company that does not protect the well-being of a distributor's territory or the retail market the products are being sold into. Libonati's company sells golf shoes and cheerleading footwear. Before you start laughing, consider that he has been in the footwear business for 35 years and runs a company -- and we checked -- others go to when their products are in trouble. He appears to have a knack for learning about a market and then producing results. Of course, he is facing a much tougher challenge here, especially if Boreal Spain continues to turn a blind eye to global distribution challenges.