Outdoor companies helping during the crisis
Across the industry, we've seen outdoor businesses step up and make sacrifices for the greater good. Here's a running list.
- Melanzana in Leadville, CO is hard at work making masks.
- Eddie Bauer and Flowfold have started making masks for hospitals.
- L.L.Bean is using a distribution center to pack food for pantries.
- Kitsbow Cycling Apparel is making face shields and masks for medical workers.
- Vermont Glove has paused glove production to focus on mask sewing.
- VOORMI has donated neck gators to local hospitals and also donated enough of its proprietary fabrics to make roughly 25,000 masks.
- Merrell has donated 1,200 pairs of shoes and boots to local hospitals in Michigan.
- Superfeet Worldwide has offered 3D printing capabilities to help make equipment.
- Vail Resorts donated 50,000 pounds of food to local food banks.
- Mystery Ranch has donated material that can be used to sew masks for hospital workers.
- Salewa has spent $1 million converting its factory to produce personal protection equipment for healthcare staff.
- Chaco is manufacturing personal protective equipment.
- Canada Goose is making scrubs and medical gowns.
- Hestra donated 38,000 pairs of gloves to Colorado first responders.
- Mountain Khakis launched a program to support workers on the frontlines of the pandemic.
- Simms is making masks and exploring the option of producing other medical equipment.
Timeline of brand and business news
March 28: Columbia's CEO takes a pay cut
Tim Boyle will shrink his salary to $10k per year to keep paychecks flowing to the company's retail workers.
March 26: Kitsbow pivots production to respond to pandemic
The North Carolina-based maker of bicycle apparel used its "lean manufacturing" methods to pivot its entire business with amazing speed.
March 25: RockyMounts closes
The Colorado-based company has decided to temporarily close during the coronavirus crisis, with plans to reopen at some point later this year.
March 22: Craft Sportswear launches retail support program
The brand will give 20 percent of online sales to local retailers if customers use a retailer-specific code at checkout.
March 20: Brands step up to help small retailers
Revenue-sharing programs and other relief efforts are spreading across the industry.
March 18: SNEWS launches #SaveYourLocalGearShop Campaign
In an effort to save specialty independent retailers, SNEWS has launched a new effort to provide financial assistance to struggling shops. Read about it in a letter from out Editor-In-Chief.
March 17: Smartwool implements company-wide remote work
All employees will work from home until further notice.
March 17: Protect Our Winters ceases operations until May 1
The group released this statement: "We’re canceling all POW events until the end of April at which time we will reassess the situation. This includes college talks, speaker series, POW Climb, POW Trail and fundraising events. We made this decision with our Alliances, brand partners, volunteers and all of you in mind."
March 17: Two-week closure of all prAna stores
The California brand has shut down all six of its stores—in Boulder, Denver, Portland, San Francisco, Palo Alto, and Manhattan Beach—through at least March 27 to protect staff, customers, and community members.
March 16: Grassroots Outdoor Alliance releases retailer guidelines
The group has outlines 10 steps independent retailers can take to protect their businesses as the pandemic progresses.
March 16: Merrell closes all stores
Merrell has shut down all retail stores until at least March 27, with plans to reevaluate at the crisis unfolds.
March 16: Mountain Hardwear closes retail locations
The company's statement: "To protect the health and safety of consumers, our employees, and the communities where we operate, we are closing our only retail stores in Seattle and Portland on Monday, March 16. We expect these stores to remain closed at a minimum through March 27th."
March 15: Dozens of ski resorts close across the U.S.
The ski season may well be over, as shutdowns take many resorts indefinitely out of commission.
March 13: Patagonia closes down
The company has halted all web sales and closed all stores and suspended orders until at least March 27. Employees will continue to collect pay.
March 13: Access Fund sends employees home
The organization has said that all non-essential office staff will now work from home and some key events will be postponed or conducted virtually.
March 13: Tracksmith moves all group events virtual
A spokesperson for the company said, "Tracksmith made the decision yesterday to take community events to virtual amidst the health crisis to keep community, stoke and training going for our fans. Tracksmith made the decision to halt our run clubs and meetups at the Trackhouse HQ in Boston right now to keep everyone healthy."
March 12: Petzl closes Utah headquarters
All employees, save a handful of warehouse staff, will work from home.
March 10: Patagonia temporarily closes Reno operations
The company closed its facilities temporarily over an employee's report of exposure turned out to be false.
March 10: Vail Resorts, Inc. exercises caution
The company has withdrawn its previously released fiscal guidance for 2020, issued January 17, over concerns surrounding the outbreak.
March 9: Mountain Equipment Co-op halts gear rentals
The company has suspended its gear rental program in response to concerns about spreading the virus.
March 9: Outdoor Research takes precautions
The company's leadership team is "meeting daily and will make adjustments according to the most recent information available," the company reports. Among the precautions taken so far, the company has deep cleaned its Seattle offices; increased the frequency of daily cleaning of door handles, buttons, manufacturing equipment controls, and common surfaces; cancelled all non-essential employee work travel; and encouraged employees to work remotely.
March 9: Toad&Co helps its retailers through uncertain times
The California-based brand has set a new standard for responsible crisis management by providing financial assistance to its brick-and-mortar retailers struggling with the economic effects of the outbreak. It's the first program of its kind to appear in the industry.
March 6: The two REI employees do not have the virus
"Both are healthy," an REI spokesperson told SNEWS. "Out of an abundance of caution, they will continue to work from home for the next 14 days (as we are encouraging across our headquarters staff)." In response to guidance from King County health officials, REI is strongly encouraging workers at its Seattle area office campuses to work from home through March 20. The co-op is also requiring that employees who meet “high risk” criteria (those who are 60 and over, have an underlying health condition, pregnant, or who have weakened immune systems) remain out of the office through at least March 20.
March 6: Eddie Bauer encourages people to work remote
With a spike in coronavirus cases in Seattle (70 known cases and 11 deaths) the retailer, which employs a few hundred people in its HQ, is proceeding with an abundance of caution. "We have no known cases present in our workforce," reports spokesperson Kristen Elliott. "Folks are encouraged to work from home through at least March 20th and extra cleaning services have been employed."
March 5: Katadyn is ramping up production and staff training
"Katadyn Group has done extensive training with our teams around the globe (USA, Asia, Europe, etc.) regarding coronavirus for personal safety as well as corporate safety," says Shawn Hostetter, president of Katadyn North America. "We are ramping up all raw materials bringing in 3 to 4 months worth to both keep up with demand and mitigate risk. Currently we're adding double shifts and working weekends to keep up with demand. We do not see this as simply “prepper” demand. As with stores being out of stock in toilet paper, hand sanitizer and face masks, people are trying to make prudent decisions for themselves and their families in the wake of all the new news coming out daily."
March 4: CamelBak restricts travel, weighs attendance at Sea Otter Classic
Says Steve Nadler, VP of product and marketing, "We’re looking at the situation on an hourly basis. About half of our products are manufactured outside of China and we haven't felt much effect on those supply chains. None of our employees outside of China have been permitted to travel to China for work purposes, and our Chinese employees have not been allowed to travel anywhere—within our outside China—for work. Our next big event is the Sea Otter Classic in April, taking place in Monterey. We're monitoring the situation daily, and we’ll probably make a decision about our attendance in the next two to three weeks.
March 3: Rich Harper, Manager of International Trade for OIA, outlines his organization's position
"We want to make sure our members have as much information as possible so they can make business decisions and sourcing decisions. A lot of our companies have been dealing with supply chain disruptions. Factories have closed, the workers have been sent home, so we’re trying to get our members as much info as possible. For us, this situation is different than the China tariffs in the sense that there’s less advocacy to be done. This isn't policy; our efforts here need to be more educational."
March 3: REI closes three corporate campuses
Following news that two employees at REI's Seattle headquarters may have been exposed to the virus, the retailer has closed its Kent, Seattle/Georgetown, and Bellevue/Eastgate campuses for deep cleaning of the facilities. The company's official statement reads: "On Monday, March 2, we learned of the potential exposure of two REI headquarters employees to the coronavirus. Out of an abundance of caution, we made the decision to close our Kent, Seattle/Georgetown and Bellevue/Eastgate campuses and begin a deep cleaning process, aligned to public health guidance, over the next two days. We plan to reopen our campuses on Thursday, March 5. Employees are working remotely during this time. We are also proactively deep cleaning our King County and Alderwood stores out of an abundance of caution. At this time, all REI stores are operating under regular hours. Across the co-op, we are stepping up cleaning efforts and providing additional cleaning supplies at our campuses, retail stores and distribution centers. Following guidance from public health officials, we are reminding all REI employees to frequently wash their hands and not to come to work if they are not feeling well."