In a Jan. 11 news release sent to SNEWS®, Joe Garland announced his departure from Mad Rock with a headline that said, “Garland announces split with Mad Rock Climbing. Founding partner departs, citing internal differences.”
While Garland is, in fact, no longer employed at Mad Rock, and his departure was amicable, according to Young Chu, owner of Nelson Sports, parent company of Mad Rock, Garland has never had any ownership shares in Mad Rock or Nelson and was not a founding partner.
According to Chu, Garland was a contracted worker with responsiblities to head up sales and marketing. Chu added that Garland was never involved with Mad Rock’s factories overseas.
Chu also told SNEWS he believes that Garland chose to leave as a result of the company’s decision to restructure commissisons and Garland not wanting to accept the offer Chu made.
No word on what the differences were that led to Garland’s departure, but this would not be the first time he and Chu have, apparently, not seen eye-to-eye. In a SNEWS story in 2006, “Climbingshoe.com ad stirs up a small tempest -- SNEWS® investigates” (click here to read), Garland was reportedly pressured by Chu to make a choice between owning retail operations that sold climbing gear or work as a national sales manager for Mad Rock. In that story, we stated that Garland had been employed by Mad Rock for three years.
Garland responded to an email from SNEWS seeking additional comment by saying, “I will have a very good answer to everyone’s questions (not just yours) in two weeks. Thanks for contacting me. Sorry to be so cryptic. The reply is worth waiting for.”
As for Mad Rock, Chu told us that sales increased in 2009, and the company is expecting sales increases again in 2010. He did acknowlege the company was trimming budgets, part of the reason for the commission restructure. But, he said, this was to ensure the company was able to reinvest more into growing its business in technical climbing apparel and Mad Rock’s entry into the winter ice climbing market. Chu added that all the company’s employees are still on board, and that all its reps will be at Outdoor Retailer Winter Market.