One of the industry’s frontier ultralight brands has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy with intentions to reorganize and/or sell the company.
Boulder, Colo.-based GoLite, founded by Demetri and Kim Coupounas, wants to reorganize between $1 million and $10 million in debt with its 50-99 creditors according to court documents filed with U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Colorado.
The filing lists numerous Hong Kong-based suppliers and manufacturers as the company’s largest unpaid bills, including $1.34 million to A Garment (HK) Limited, $484,549 to Jasper Outdoor Products and $457,670 to Hanoman International. Other debts mostly include the company’s store leases, totaling about $1 million.
GoLite is closing eight of its 14 stores as part of the reorganization — two each in Colorado and Utah and one each in Arizona, California, Idaho and Oregon. Six of its stores remain open in Colorado. It had as many as 20 stores at one time.
Founded in 1998, GoLite set the early standard for ultralight gear, including packs tents and apparel that employed lightweight materials and utilized a stripped-down design ethic.
Throughout its years, the company also took advantage of unconventional business strategies. In 2006, the brand sold the GoLite name and its footwear line to Timberland, which then licensed back the name to GoLite, and later sold the footwear business to New England Footwear. Today's GoLite Footwear is a separate entity and not part of the bankruptcy or GoLite business. Timberland, now owned by VF Corp., still owns the GoLite name and told SNEWS the bankruptcy filing does not affect its ownership of the name.
In 2012, after seeing success from its holiday warehouse sales and growing e-commerce business, GoLite switched to a direct-to-consumer model, opening storefronts and continuing some of its holiday warehouse sales across the country. Demetri Coupounas has remained the president of GoLite, while Kim Coupounas left her official duties with the company in January to take a job as director of B Lab, a nonprofit helping brands achieve benefit corporation status, of which GoLite is.