Molehill Mt. Equipment merges with Reliable of Milwaukee

Molehill Mountain Equipment will rely on a larger company to help it grow its line of children’s outdoor apparel and gear. The Idaho-based company is merging with Reliable of Milwaukee; SNEWS has the details.
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Call it making a mountain out of a molehill -- Molehill Mountain Equipment is expanding its business through a merger with Reliable of Milwaukee.

Idaho-based Molehill (www.molehillmtn.com) has been manufacturing kids’ outdoor gear and clothing for the past 17 years and needed the help of a larger company to grow, owner and president Douglas Faude told SNEWS.

“There’s such a large kids’ apparel market that we still need to access,” Faude said. “With only four employees, we reached a plateau that was difficult to get above without more expertise.”

Reliable of Milwaukee (www.reliableofmilwaukee.com) was founded more than 100 years ago as a knitting factory. Today, it is the parent company of several brands, including Muk Luks (www.muk-luks.com), and it will provide Molehill with larger design, production, sourcing and distribution benefits, Faude said.

In turn, Molehill will help Reliable enter the outdoor specialty and kids’ market. For starters, Molehill helped Muk Luks debut a line of kids’ boots at Outdoor Retailer Winter Market 2011 in Salt Lake City and the 2011 SIA Snow Show in Denver in January.

Both companies are privately held and financial details of the merger were not disclosed. Molehill will become a brand under the Reliable name, and its distribution will be handled out of Reliable’s 100,000-square-foot warehouse in Campbellsport, Wis., Reliable’s corporate headquarters is in Milwaukee and the company employs about 70 people nationwide.

Faude will manage and direct Reliable’s new outdoor and kids group and remain in Idaho.

“I’ll be freed up to do what I do best, which is product management, marketing and sales,” he said.

Molehill will continue to offer a full line of kids’ outdoor apparel, from technical base and mid layers to waterproof outerwear and down booties.

--David Clucas

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