>> Confirming what SNEWS has known for the last month, CamelBak contacted us to say that there is "validity to the rumors you have been hearing. Kransco, the financial investor partners with CamelBak, are going to sell their shares. JP Morgan is handling the process and we have just gotten underway. We are in the initial stages of the process, but expect to have the sale wrapped up by fall." SNEWS View: We've known for some time that Kransco (which purchased the company in 1995 for an undisclosed sum) might be interested in selling its shares by 2005, but with the recent boost in military business bolstering the bottom line, there is no time like the present. If our guess is correct, we'd expect CamelBak to go for $225 million or above. We've also heard that military and industrial sales currently make up 50 percent of the company's business, which, coupled with the asking price, would lead us to believe that there are no serious outdoor players for the acquisition. Our guess is the company will go to an investment team or company with strong industrial and military ties. Ultimately, this is a great thing for CamelBak. The sale should provide additional resources for developing products for the industrial safety sector, growth in the military sector, and continued development of the recreational business. We'll keep you posted.
>> Atlas Snowshoe Company told SNEWS the company has received the American Alpine Institute's (AAI) 2003 "Guides Choice" Award for both its men's and women's snowshoes. Also announcing that it has won an award is CamelBak, being recognized by AAI for the company's StoAway -- an insulated reservoir cover. The official presentation of the awards will take place Aug. 15 at Outdoor Retailer Summer Market in Salt Lake City.
>> Oakland-based Adventure Medical Kits (AMK) -- a 14-year-old manufacturer of first-aid kits -- has received an investment from Tender, a family-owned company manufacturing insect repellents, first-aid products, and sun- and wind-care products. The goal of the investment partnership is to grow and more efficiently operate the two companies by sharing more information and processes. Both companies will now be able to view each other's inventory data on a real-time basis and have announced they will be holding mind-sharing sessions between their product management teams and sales people. In addition to Tender's investment in the company, AMK is reorganizing its leadership team to reflect the new structure. Chris Gubera, national sales manager, who has been with AMK for eight years, has been promoted to president, where he will oversee day-to-day operations and sales. AMK has also hired Ted Ganio as the new vice president of operations. Ganio, most recently director of operations for Sierra Designs, brings 15 years of outdoor industry experience including seven years in retail with Adventure 16. Amy Quirk, co-founder and AMK's president of 14 years, is taking a step back from the daily operations of the business in order to spend more time with her family. Eric A. Weiss, M.D., co-founder of AMK, will continue to update and write AMK manuals, and will play an ongoing role in product development with company co-founder and marketing director, Frank Meyer.
>> Outside and The Away Network have launched a venture dubbed Outside Life. Outside Life is a premium membership service that connects active consumers with exclusive information, services and products from the leading active lifestyle and travel companies while supporting charities "that are preserving the world's cultures and environments." Outside Life is free for consumers. Upon joining, members choose a charity they want to support and register the credit cards they already use. Using available technology, Outside Life is able to turn any credit card into an "outdoor affinity" card. In addition to continuing to receive their current credit card benefits, members raise money for their chosen charities simply by shopping with their credit cards. Money is donated to charities whenever and wherever -- online or offline -- they shop at an Outside Life network company.
>> Crazy Creek has created a program that offers organizations and companies the opportunity to place personalized logos on several styles of Crazy Creek's outdoor chairs. Organizations such as camps, scout troops, outfitters, outdoor music festivals and corporations hosting special events can take advantage of Crazy Creek's logo program for a mere 50 cents extra per chair cost, with a 10 order minimum. There is a nominal one-time set up fee, and quantity discounts are also available. Crazy Creek will provide screen-printing guidelines. Chairs available for the logo program include the Original, Large and Longback chairs.
>> Ojai has signed five new rep groups to allow the company to reach more dealers and bring its product to markets in key regions more effectively. SNEWS has it on good authority the reps were hired as much for their ability and skill repping as their good sense to laugh at Julio's jokes. The reps are: Tom Wheeler for Southern California, 805-685-9870; Stephanie Bixby and Tammy Anderson for the Dakotas, Nebraska, Missouri, Illinois, Minnesota and Wisconsin, 651-982-6436; Joanne Kapilla for Michigan, Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky, 248-887-5862; Penny and Mark Burrell for South Carolina up to Eastern Pennsylvania, Penny 919-676-4896 or Mark 919-844-6871; and M. Misty Allen for Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida and the Caribbean, 352-376-1075.
>> Aaron Imholt will be starting as The North Face athletes and expeditions manager in early August, relocating from Seattle, Wash. While in Seattle, Imholt developed marketing and brand strategies for Wasser Studios, and was previously a senior mountain guide and climbing instructor for Reachout Expeditions. Imholt has extensive marketing experience, which includes managing promotions and events while at the ESPN X Games and managing corporate sponsorships with NASCAR while at Fluke Corp. Aaron will be responsible for managing The North Face athlete team and The North Face sponsored expeditions.
>> Smartwool Corp. has promoted Chip Coe to president. Coe joined the company in 2000 as the chief operating officer. In his position as president, Coe will continue to oversee the strategic planning for Smartwool, as well as its day-to-day operations.