Grivel North America, founded in 2002 with an investment from its parent company Grivel Mont Blanc, is telling dealers that it is not sure it will be delivering any product this winter until distribution issues in the current economic climate get resolved -- if at all.
Mark Twight, former president of Grivel North America, told SNEWS® the company is currently grossing approximately $1,070,000 wholesale -- about the same it has for the last three years. Factor in a declining dollar against the Euro and a margin that is being maintained at 40 percent for the retailer and it is not hard to see there is trouble.
“Grivel Europe is being very gracious, but with a company like ours that is simply a distributorship, having to buy European product made with European labor and materials, using the dollar, is simply a losing proposition,” said Twight, who resigned as president as of January 2008, but is still working with Grivel alongside Tony Brent who took over the reins as general manager in 2005.
“When we first started this venture, the Euro was trading at 80 cents to the dollar. Then, it was even, and we thought, 'Well, that’s OK.' And then it went to $1.25 against the dollar and we thought, 'It can’t get any worse than this.'"
Grivel North America (www.grivelnorthamerica.com) pulled out of the just-completed Outdoor Retailer Summer Market to begin trimming expenses. Currently, the company telephone number, which is supposed to be forwarding to another number, according to Twight, instead has a “no longer in service” outgoing message.
Twight told us that Grivel North America and Grivel Mont Blanc (www.grivel.com) are negotiating to find a way to make things work, but to date, no viable solutions have been forthcoming, he said, although he said he remains hopeful.
SNEWS® View: We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again…if a European company wants to be taken seriously in this market with this economy, it will have to do it with a wholly-owned distributorship model or not at all. One wonders if Grivel, which does sell currently to REI, might seek to at least work a direct-ship model to one or two locations (REI being one) in order to maintain a foothold in the market. For Twight, he never wanted to be a president in the first place. He’s a talented marketing man through and through who is totally passionate about the creative process. He stepped into the president’s shoes because someone had to. In the meantime, he’s involved with his gym (www.gymjones.com) and contract military training he’s been doing for several years.