Outdoor: Did you hear?...

Sylvia Mitchell Memorial Fund, Suunto enters project with Microsoft, Peregrine to distribute Eureka tents, The North Face opens NYC store, Gander Mountain reports sales increase, plus hirings and promotions...
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>> Note to marketing flaks -- don't use a term to promote or define a feature technology if you really don't know what it means. Take for example, a recent story in Popular Science -- click here to read -- that takes Docker's to task for using the word "nanotechnology" to define how the pants ward off stains. The story is an absolute hoot! For the record, nanotechnology is typically used to refer to tiny robots, but SNEWS shudders at the thought of tiny robots scurrying around in our pants, even if cleaning stains is the ultimate goal.

>> To get an idea of just how much The North Face has turned things around since the year 2000, read a very interesting story in the July 8 issue of CFO.com -- click here to read. A quick taste offers up that TNF was losing $100 million on $238 million of sales simply because the company was producing too much inventory, could not match that inventory to orders, and was not shipping effectively. In fact, back then, the company failed to meet 10 percent of the orders placed with it. Thanks to new leadership, and some business-intelligence software, TNF has reduced excess inventory by 65 percent and is effectively managing 12,000 SKUs along the entire supply chain of 2,000 retailers, the company now only fails to meet 2.5 percent of its orders.

>> Marmot Mountain Ltd. is the 2003 recipient of the American Mountain Guides Association's Industry Award. AMGA Executive Director Mike Alkaitis will present the award to Tom Fritz of Marmot at this year's Summer Market Outdoor Retailer Show. The AMGA award is presented annually to the outdoor company that has shown outstanding support through scholarships, product, and sponsorships of professional American mountain guides. Marmot has partnered with the AMGA to provide product and educational support for the past seven years. In 2001, Marmot established a scholarship in their name for guides pursuing AMGA certification courses and exams. This scholarship provides essential opportunities for mountain guides seeking training and certification in the United States.

>> The newly reorganized Outdoor Industry Women's Council (OIWC) is kicking off the organization's first membership drive. OIWC began six years ago as a loose affiliation of like-minded women working in various capacities in the outdoor industry and, after a brief affiliation with OIA, has recently reorganized as a non-profit corporation. As a non-profit corporation, OIWC is required to accept memberships and dues. The $20 annual dues "give members the opportunity to network with people who have similar interests through national and regional events and activities designed to stimulate professional development and personal interaction," according to the association. Other benefits to membership include proprietary access to the OIWC member community database and to research data about women's/girl's activities, buying habits and interests (available in 2004). In addition, members will have priority access to limited capacity receptions, panels and events sponsored by OIWC. For more information about the OIWC and to become a member, go to the group's website at www.oiwc.org and click on "Join the OIWC." New members will receive a gift of an OIWC commemorative T-shirt.

>> American Whitewater has introduced a retail program that celebrates 50 years of serving America's river recreationists, spreads awareness of the growing threats to our nation's rivers, and offers incremental impulse sales and profit to outdoor retailers. The pre-pack shipper features whole bean organic coffee from Kind Coffee, a branded acrylic mug, and a loose change repository dubbed 'The River Bank' for consumers to fill up with loose change and then give to their local paddling conservation club. AW is partnering with Velocity Product Development founded by Andy Zimmerman. AW will be taking orders for delivery in time for the holidays, and for First Quarter 2004. For more information, contact AJ McIntyre at 301-589-9453 or aj@amwhitewater.org.

>> Richard Pollack & Associates (RPA), a San Francisco-based interior architecture firm, has recently completed the phased redesign of the 80,000-square-foot corporate headquarters for The North Face in San Leandro, Calif. The resulting renovation of the facility, exploits the aesthetics and high volume of the existing space to create dynamic workspaces and showroom environments. According to a statement from TNF, "The design reflects the culture of The North Face with the open feel of the outdoors, and fosters a creative environment for the product design, product development and prototype departments, as well as the marketing and sales teams." The basic organizing factor in the plan hinges on a 180-foot-long "feature wall" that incorporates marketing images, various building materials and textures, sliding barn-sized doors and a multitude of punched openings offering peeks into the research design and Development area. This wall culminates in an all-hands gathering space, The Lounge, with two story-high glass roll-up doors opening onto an exterior redwood deck and green space. The project was completed in a four-month period incorporating three temporary phases, all within occupied spaces.

>> The Continental Divide Trail Alliance (CDTA) will be celebrating the contributions made by hundreds of volunteers at the first Volunteer Appreciation Night in the history of the organization. Each volunteer will be invited to celebrate the critical role they have played by helping with new trail construction, trail repairs, trail inventories, environmental restoration, scouting of new routes and signing in 2003. With 41 projects scheduled, volunteers will contribute 13,500 hours to improve over 180 miles of the CDT. The CDTA Volunteer Appreciation Night will be held in conjunction with the CDTA's Fifth National Conference, Trail Fest 2003, held in Golden, Colo., on Oct. 11-12th. For more information, go to www.cdtrail.org

>> Great Trango Holdings, Inc's three business units, Trango climbing hardwear, Stonewear Designs active women's apparel and E-Grips polyurethane climbing holds, have made some staffing changes. Now leading the sales and marketing effort for all three divisions is Tonya Riggs. As director of sales and marketing, Riggs brings to Trango fierce brand building and sales experience from a career in consumer packaged goods including such household names as Häagen-Dazs, Pillsbury and Quaker Oats. Also new in-house is Jonathan Degenhardt, who will serve as Rocky Mountain sales rep and customer service rep. Based in Bishop, Calif., Stonewear Designs Brand Manager Dana Caraway will shift some of her focus to sales, by also serving as the brand's California rep. Finally, Trango has hired Peak Exposure (Lisa Winston and Lee Hart) as the company's PR team.

>> Outdoor Retailer Expo has finally added to the talented and hard-working team's skeleton numbers. Margie Staley joins as the expo's new marketing manager. Marisa Nicholson has been hired as a new account executive for OR, and she will be covering the Midwest and Rockies. And, Nichole Rapone joins the team as special events manager in charge of demos, parties, seminars and the like.

>> Obermeyer, a leading U.S. ski apparel manufacturer, has retained Backbone Media to handle its public relations efforts. Located in Aspen, Obermeyer will partner with local Carbondale company Backbone Media to oversee media communications and promotions of its apparel, brand and rich company history.

>> Eagle Creek has named Will Egan as assistant brand manager. Egan's responsibilities will include marketing (in support of Adam Ziegelman, Eagle Creek's director of marketing), public relations, brand management and Internet management.

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