Outdoor: Did you hear?...

GE buys BHA and Event, Stonyfield Farm yogurt lids benefit National Trails Day, Princeton Tec sponsors COB Relay, Timberland hits the road, Pertex garners awards, ispo best product innovation awards named, and much more...
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>> GE Energy has signed a definitive agreement to acquire BHA Group Holdings Inc., for $260 million. BHA (Nasdaq: BHAG) is better known to the outdoor industry as the company that manufactures Event. BHA reported 2003 revenues of $182 million. GE Energy (NYSE: GE) -- www.gepower.com -- had 2003 revenues of $18.5 billion. SNEWS View: We're in the quiet period now as the deal has not been consummated and, since we're dealing with public companies, the SEC takes a dim view on speculation. That said, there's nothing preventing us from speculating based on our own knowledge. This has to be very good news for the Event folks, and for any company either licensing Event or thinking of licensing Event. For the short-term, we'd expect to see Event continue with its grassroots approach to garnering market attention, which as had decidedly mixed results. However, as GE gets its arms around the new company, we'd imagine the larger corporate parent will be hard-pressed to ignore opportunity, and that means more R&D dollars, more marketing dollars and, likely, much more for Event. Few companies have ever had the strength or desire to go toe-to-toe with Gore on the marketing front, but we suspect Event might now be willing to give it a go. We also hear that starting this fall, Event is going to flex a bit of muscle in Gore's European backyard -- stay tuned.

>> Our hearts and prayers go out for a speedy recovery to Stevie Sidener, co-owner of Alpin Sales, a Colorado-based rep agency for Marmot, K2 Tele, Garmont, Tubbs, and Bridgedale. On July 5th, while hanging shutters from his house, he took a 40-foot fall from a ladder. He suffered a skull fracture, broken bones around the eye sockets, corneal abrasions, and severely damaged wrists. He underwent 2 hours of brain surgery and is now recovering in the ICU with, doctors hope, a good prognosis for recovery.

>> July through October, 11 million Stonyfield Farm yogurt lids, as part of the company's Profit for the Planet program, will feature the American Hiking Society's National Trails Day as one of three organizations that can profit from its Bid with Your Lid campaign. Consumers are asked to vote for one of the three participating organizations to receive a percentage of its $100,000 donation. Consumers will have two ways to cast their votes: logging onto www.Stonyfield.com and entering one vote, or collecting the limited edition lids and mailing them to Stonyfield Farm. One lid, one vote. The company also will offer consumers a free gift based on the number of lids they send in, as added incentive to cast their ‘ballots.’ Profits for the Planet puts Stonyfield Farm's guiding principle of corporate social responsibility into action. Each year, the company gives 10 percent of its profits to efforts that help protect and restore the environment.

>> Princeton Tec has agreed to sponsor, for the fourth year, the Colorado Outward Bound Relay, one of the largest annual fundraising events for Outward Bound West. The 24-hour, 170-mile team relay race will take place Friday through Saturday, September 24-25, 2004. The race will begin in Idaho Springs and finish in Glenwood Springs, Colo., taking runners across three mountain passes (Guanella, Georgia and Vail), through aspen groves and on sections of the Colorado Trail. Participants will run on all types of terrain, including paved and dirt roads, bike paths and single-track trails. Last year the event raised more than $90,000 to help provide scholarship funds, course improvements and general school necessities for Outward Bound West. Outward Bound hopes to break the $100,000 mark this year. All of the pre-event indicators show that the 2004 Colorado Outward Bound Relay will surpass the previous six years, capping participants at 150 teams with 1,500 runners. At publication time, 131 teams had registered. For more information, go to www.obwest.org.

>> The Timberland Company has just kicked off a nationwide tour, stopping at 78 of the country's biggest outdoor events and adventure races. The coast-to-coast tour will continue through early October, with hallmark events such as the Breckenridge Crest Mountain Marathon, Crater Lake Rim Runs, Deerfield River Festival, Pacific Coast Triathlon and Pedro's Fest. At each event, participants and spectators will have a chance to get up close and personal with the people and technologies that make Timberland a world leader in outdoor footwear and apparel. In addition to viewing the latest innovations from Timberland through a branded vehicle and booth area, consumers will have the opportunity to wear-test Timberland's proprietary Agile IQ technology platform through various activities. Timberland athletes will be competing in many of the events. Timberland will also have information on hand about its partnership with Big City Mountaineers, key environmental initiatives, and how people can get involved in service in their own communities. Timberland tells us the company is also amping up its presence at retail to equip retailers and sales associates with all the tools they need to move product. Efforts include clinics, incentive programs, ahead-of-market product seeding for sales associates, training kits and technical support materials, plus updated fixtures and visuals. In-store programs will be supported by off-site Tour activities, which will serve to generate awareness of key Timberland retailers and drive traffic to them.

>> Perseverance Mills Ltd, UK manufacturer of the Pertex® range of fabrics, garnered two awards at the annual Burnley Business and Innovation Awards Ceremony last month. Perseverance Mills nabbed the Innovation Award for the globally successful launch of Pertex Quantum®, one of the lightest technical fabrics in the world. Perseverance Mills was also honored with the most prestigious award of the event, the Michelin Development Award for Business Excellence. This award was given to recognize the company’s achievements in innovation, research and development. The award also recognizes the company's continuing success and contribution to the local textile industry, a very important part of the region’s heritage. Pertex fabrics are used by recognized brands such as The North Face, Berghaus, Marmot, REI, EMS, GoLite, Western Mountaineering, Valandre, and Asics.

>> Members of the Salt Lake City business community recently singled out Backcountry.com co-founders Jim Holland and John Bresee as Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneurs of the Year for the Utah region in the consumer products category. The two were recognized for their efforts in taking Backcountry.com from a two-person basement operation in 1998 to one of the largest specialty outdoor retailers on the Web. The company has enjoyed seven consecutive years of triple-digit growth on the strength of an initial $2,000 investment. According to the release, "Entrepreneur of the Year finalists were judged on their innovative approaches, future plans, people philosophy and management team they develop in achieving their success. The panel of judges consisted of area business leaders." Backcountry.com now qualifies as a finalist in the national Entrepreneur of the Year award program. Winners will be announced at the ceremony November 18-20, 2004 in Palm Springs, California. The Entrepreneur of the Year awards program was created and is produced by professional services firm Ernst & Young LLP. As the first award of its kind, Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year recognizes outstanding entrepreneurs who are building and leading dynamic and growing businesses. The program honors entrepreneurs through regional, national and global award programs in more than 100 cities and 35 countries.

>> In related Entrepreneurs news, David Jacobs, founder and president of Spyder Active Sports Inc., was named Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year in the Rocky Mountain Region at a June 24 ceremony in Denver, Colorado. Jacobs was a finalist in the same competition in 1990, 1991, 1994, 1997 and 2001. This is the second business award for Jacobs this year; he is a 2004 inductee into the Boulder County Business Hall of Fame. He also has the distinction of being named to the Honor Role of Canadian Skiing, and is a past recipient of the John Semmelink Award, an honor given to those skiers whose sportsmanship, conduct and ability best represent Canada in international competition. Jacobs is a 1987 inductee into the Laurentian Ski Hall of Fame in Quebec, Canada, and a 2001 inductee into the Colorado Ski Hall of Fame. Spyder is an Official Supplier to the US Alpine, Austrian, Canadian Alpine, and Canadian Freestyle Ski Teams. The brand also supports Team Venom pro freeskiers. Based in Boulder, Colo., the company has a Spyder-Europe office in Zug, Switzerland, and an office in Bangkok, Thailand.

>> Adventure Sports magazine (ASM) is now the official publication of the United States Adventure Racing Association (USARA). Under the agreement, Adventure Sports will be mailed directly to the association's current 2,000 members. In addition, new members will receive a combined offer of a one-year USARA membership and a one-year ASM subscription for $35.

>> GERMANY -- Awards for the best product innovations in the outdoor sector in the categories of footwear, hardware and specials for ispo summer 04 (July 4-6) have been bestowed. And the happy winners are: Leki's Pacer Vario in the hardware category for a fully adjustable Nordic Walking pole that relies on a unique locking/adjustment mechanism; Suunto's X9 wrist-top GPS; and Meindl's XO shoe with materials and construction that make the shoe ideal for Nordic Walking. Innovation, function, quality, technical solution, user-friendliness, operability and design were the key criteria upon which the decisions of the international jury – consisting of representatives of the retail trade, the trade media, the DAV (German alpine club) and Messe München GmbH – were based. At ispo winter 05 the 'ispo Outdoor Awards' enter their tenth round. For further information, fire an email to Tobias Gröber at groeber@ispo.com.

>> Atomic Ski has unveiled plans to establish the alpine ski industry’s first corporate Small Business Unit (SBU). Nordic distribution is not affected at all by the announcement. The company is taking this unique step, it says, to "provide Atomic retail partners in the New York and Mid-Atlantic regions with the support needed to grow and be profitable in the ever-changing marketplace. The four-person Atomic SBU team puts more manpower in the region to ensure better responsiveness to retailer needs." Atomic’s SBU will be comprised of a Regional Business Director, two Territory Business Managers and a Territory Support Specialist, all of whom will be corporate Atomic employees based in the region. Atomic’s current in-house sales manager, John Esterbrook, will lead the SBU as Regional Business Director. Assisting Esterbrook will be Atomic’s SBU field staff – Shawn Hickman, Taras Popel and Jason Shreck – a multi-faceted team that will focus on providing stronger staff training, better inventory management, more targeted regional marketing and expanded sell-through support.

>> The American Alpine Club has appointed Andrew McLean of Salt Lake City as the United States delegate to the International Ski Mountaineering Council, the organization that oversees ski mountaineering competitions worldwide. The ISMC operates under the authority of the Union Internationale des Associations d' Alpinisme, known in English as the International Mountaineering and Climbing Federation.

>> Bell Canoe Works has turned to Don Otey to fill a vacancy in the company's independent rep roster for the New England territory. Otey is an ACA certified instructor and a former whitewater and slalom competitor. Together with his wife, Lisa, Otey also reps for Walden Kayaks. The Otey's also own Battenkill Valley Outdoors (www.battenkillvalleyoutdoors.com), which the pair opened one year ago in Cambridge, New York. The business provides bike and boat rentals and hiking supplies for adventurers in the beautiful Battenkill River valley.

>> Kelty has added Zach Branson to its Rocky Mountain region team of sales reps. Branson will operate as part of the rep force at R.J. Guiney Associates, supporting retailers in Colorado, New Mexico, Eastern Wyoming and Eastern Utah. Branson's rep background includes work with Merrell, Thorlo, Acorn and Redfeather.

>> Dave Cockburn has joined longtime Honey Stinger rep, Steve Ray, to cover Arizona, Nevada and California for Honey Stinger. In addition, Kirk Haskell has teamed up with Colorado Front Range local Scott Sutton to cover the Rockies territory for Stinger. And, finally, Todd Kerbs, longtime Stinger rep who covers Utah, Wyoming and Colorado, has joined forces Danny Engermann to cover Utah Bike, while Jorge Engroba has taken on the bike markets in New York City, Long Island and New Jersey for the company.

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