Outdoor: Did you hear?...

Cascade Designs lays off Kitty Graham, Rick Saez leaves Dana, Fitness Management article on climbing walls, Pearl Izumi has new warranty policy, Fischer and Salomon extend cooperation, OIA members support Wild Sky Wilderness, Backpacker's Pantry sponsors challenged yacht team, Medicines Global honored, Patagonia signs Lynn Hill ...
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>> Jeff Bowman, of Cascade Designs, informed SNEWS that in-house PR maven Kitty Graham's position has been eliminated, meaning Graham, a 10-year veteran at Cascade is on the market. Graham, a winner of the SNEWS Editor's Voice PR Award in 2001 and runner up in 2002, was, ironically, voted runner-up yet again in 2003 -- two days after Graham's layoff was announced. Carry Porter -- Graham's counterpart who joined the company with the MSR acquisition -- will be assuming some of Graham's responsibilities and other responsibilities will be farmed out to an outside agency Bowman tells us. SNEWS View: Graham is adored by media all over the country because she gets the job done, making our job that much easier. Wonder why Cascade got the coverage it did? Because of Graham. While Graham would not talk to SNEWS as she and Cascade are still working through details, emails from a number of upset insiders indicate this layoff is not going as quietly or smoothly as Bowman might have hoped. We'll keep you posted.

>> Life Time Fitness has announced it will hold a two-day Multisport Adventure Expo on July 31 and Aug. 1 in Minneapolis, Minn., partly in conjunction with a triathlon it is sponsoring that weekend. With more than 60 exhibits, the expo will be free and open to the public and is designed for any fitness enthusiast, triathlete, cyclist, runner, swimmer or other multisport athletes and participants. Demos and exhibits will include rock climbing, heart-rate training, and triathlon training. Nokia is the triathlon's presenting sponsor, with Gold level sponsorship including Life Fitness, and Silver level sponsorship including Galyan's. For more information, go to: www.lifetimefitness.com .

>> After a two year run as director of sales and marketing for Dana Design, Rick Saez has resigned to "pursue other opportunities." Dana veteran Mark Terwilliger, director of softgoods, and designer Zac West are now the Dana team. Tim Petrick, VP Worldwide Sales for K2, has told SNEWS he will assume Saez's responsibilities while the company searches for a replacement. Petrick told us he hopes to have the position filled by mid-July, but certainly before Outdoor Retailer in August. Those wishing to stay in touch with Saez can email him at: ricksaez@earthlink.net. SNEWS View: Before Saez joined Dana, sales were around $5 million. They had slipped to $3 million and were in danger of slipping off the screen altogether. Saez was a big reason for the turnaround as the brand reinvented itself with new marketing, retail programs and graphics. SKUs were reduced by 20 percent during those two years and, of that reduction, about 70 percent of the SKUs in the line now are new. While sales still hover at $3 million, Saez stopped the hemorrhaging and kept the 750 retail doors Dana is in from contemplating dropping the line or slashing it dramatically. Without Saez, the burden of keeping reps and retailers happy will now fall to Terwilliger. Why K2 didn't ask Saez to stay on through the tradeshow is beyond us, but they must have their reasons. Regardless, losing Saez now is a bit like having the boatman jump out of the raft right before the rapids.

>> Look at the cover of Fitness Management magazine for June and you'd think it was an outdoor pub. Wrong. That climber hanging from a ceiling is in a gym and the story that goes with it discusses the advantages and disadvantages of having a climbing wall in a club, how to tackle the challenges, as well as how to better use the opportunities and make it profitable. Most important, according to the article, is a good staff as well as a prime location, not to mention marketing the activity and adding educational programming.

>> Pearl Izumi has instituted a new warranty policy that was just announced at the company's sales meeting on June 20 and shared with SNEWS. Pearl Izumi will now pay the shipping charges on all products that dealers return for warranty, effective as of June 23. Pearl told SNEWS they implemented this policy change because "we feel like the dealers should no longer be responsible for the cost of shipping a warranty item back to Pearl Izumi, and getting warranty products back in a timely manner is critical for us to continue improving and evolving our product line."

>> Fischer and Salomon have entered into an agreement to cooperate for their 04/05 winter collections. Salomon will act as a producer for Fischer XC binding line while Fischer will act as a producer for Salomon XC Ski line. SNEWS View: Fischer and Salomon have a history of cooperation to further each other's brands, with the most noticeable being the SNS system. They have also entered into cooperative programs with alpine. According to Salomon, this agreement does not affect the current SNS cooperation Salomon has with other brands.

>> On June 28, a number of Outdoor Industry Association's Washington state members -- including REI, Montrail, and Cascade Designs -- sponsored the Wild Sky Wilderness Festival to show their support for the proposed Wild Sky Wilderness Act. This legislation designates more than 100,000 acres of new Wilderness area in the scenic Skykomish River Valley, just an hour's drive north of Seattle. Sponsored by Senator Murray and Representatives Larsen and Dunn, the legislation was narrowly defeated last year in Congress, but was reintroduced in February of this year. For more information about the festival and the Wild Sky proposed wilderness area, go to www.wildwashington.org.

>> Backpacker's Pantry is a sponsor of the TransPac Challenged America yacht, "B-Quest". On July 4, a team of seven sailors with and without disabilities will launch the 40-foot sailing yacht to compete in the Trans-Pacific Yacht Race from Los Angeles to Honolulu -- a 2,225-nautical-mile race. Although, it is the 42nd TransPac Race held since its inception in 1906, this will be the first entry for Challenged America. Challenged America is a San Diego-based, year-round, therapeutic recreational program providing free learn-to-sail and advanced sailing opportunities to hundreds of people with disabilities from around the world each year. The Challenged America Racing Team includes experienced sailors with spinal cord injury (quadriplegia and paraplegia), amputation, blindness, arthritis, post polio, head injury, cancer and stroke survivors, hearing impairment, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, spina bifida, cerebral palsy, and other physical impairments and disabilities, as well as sailors without disabilities. For more information on Challenged America, or to follow the crew's progress go to: www.challengedamerica.org.

>> Medicines Global, a non-profit group with a goal to inspire travelers to 'give back,' was honored at the International Peace Prayer Day in Espanola, New Mexico on June 21. As the global health organization celebrates its 5th anniversary, it is being honored as a featured organization on the back of Peace Cereal boxes. Peace Cereal is carried in health food and big market grocery stores across the United States and donates 10-percent of its profits to award grants to organizations working for peace, like Medicines Global. In addition, over the last four years, Medicines Global has sent travelers with over $400,000 of medical supplies into Nepal, Tibet, Costa Rica and Ecuador. For more information about Medicines Global, contact Stanwood and Partners, who donate PR support for the cause, at lbodmer@wyoming.com or click on www.medicinesglobal.org.

>> Patagonia has signed rock climber Lynn Hill to represent the company as one of the its "Ambassadors." As an Ambassador, Hill will advise and counsel the company's design team on product development. Like other Ambassador athletes in Patagonia's stable, she will also represent the company at public events worldwide. SNEWS View: Hill had been a The North Face-sponsored athlete and then contract employee until December 2001. While she and TNF had apparently been trying to renegotiate a contract, Patagonia won out in the end. TNF sent congratulations via email to SNEWS.

>> In March, Werner Paddles contracted with Kelly Stone as a Sales and Marketing consultant and at the completion of her consulting term in June, Werner has decided to hire her as the company's full-time sales and marketing director. Kelly will begin her new position with Werner Paddles on July 7 and can be reached at kelly@wernerpaddles.com or 360 793-9488, x23.

>> Andre Brenninkmeijer, president of American Retail Group, owner of Eastern Mountain Sports, announced that Will Manzer has been names as President and CEO of EMS as of July 15. Manzer was the president of Perry Ellis Men's Wear Corp. SNEWS View: In typical EMS style, this announcement had to be forwarded to us by a supplier. In a DNR news story we received about changes at Perry Ellis, EMS was quoted as refusing to confirm the appointment even after Manzer said he was excited he was going there. At some point, EMS will learn that talking to the media is not a bad thing and that not talking to the media often makes the company look very silly indeed.

>> Fera International Corp. has named Eric Tung as executive vice president of product and Hong Kong-based Patricia Tung as president of Fera Asia Pacific Limited. Betty Wong Tung, whose father, F.Y. Wong, was Hong Kong's leading skiwear manufacturer in the 1970s, founded Fera International in 1978 and later teamed up with Hagemeister-Lert to build the business into a leading North American skiwear company. Her son Eric and daughter Patricia will now manage the strategic, design and marketing aspects of the company while Betty continues to serve as chairman and president. Fera owns the following brands: Fera (ski pants and outerwear for women, men, juniors and kids), Meister Sport Knits (sport knits, turtlenecks and base layers for women, men, juniors and kids) and Avus (technical outdoor apparel for men).

>> Windsong President and CEO Bill Sweedler has announced the hiring of Ron Page as the company's senior vice president in charge of sales for its newly formed affiliate Windsong Outdoor LLC, the exclusive distributor of Vaude in the United States. Page was the senior executive vice president of Deckers Outdoor Corporation.

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