Outdoor real estate: Big Agnes doubles space; Zeal Optics, Icebreaker, Keen open new stores

Find out who's opening new stores, expanding and making location moves in the outdoor industry.
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Big Agnes has quietly gotten a bit bigger.

Earlier in June, the tent, sleeping bag and pad manufacturer announced that it had completed the purchase of a warehouse in Steamboat Springs, Colo. to help free up office space, shorten supply chain lead times and improve product availability for customers.

But it wasn’t until SNEWS paid a visit to Steamboat that we realized the outdoor company made a significant commitment. The expansion doubles Big Agnes’ space in the tranquil mountain town from 10,000 square feet to 20,000 square feet.

“We are investing in the people and processes to drive our business forward and achieve our key strategic goals,” said Big Agnes co-founder Bill Gamber. He added that the privately held company continues to see double-digit sales growth, despite the bumpy economy.

What’s more impressive is that Big Agnes is growing without major outside investment — the company continues to expand organically and sustainably, officials said.

Gamber and co-founders Len Zanni and Rich Hager not only have Big Agnes bursting at the seams, but sister company Honey Stinger, while smaller, is growing even more — doubling in sales from a year ago, Zanni said.

In all, Big Agnes and Honey Stinger employ 70 people, between 40 and 50 in Steamboat.

>> Zeal Optics has a new home and retail store in Boulder, Colo. The goggle and eyewear manufacturer, purchased by Maui Jim a year ago, moved from a warehouse east of town to more classy digs downtown at 1230 Spruce St. The new location allows for a spiffy new retail front to the headquarters, situated along other shops and restaurants near Boulder’s Pearl Street pedestrian mall.

>> Perhaps no surprise, merino wool is a popular product with our chilly neighbor up north. Icebreaker is scheduled to open its second Vancouver, Canada store this September. The new 1,700-square-foot TouchLab will be located at 825 Main St. in The Village at Park Royal and feature Icebreaker’s complete line of apparel. The merino wool brand opened its first Vancouver store in March 2011. It has six other North American stores in Montreal, Portland, Ore., San Francisco, plus two in New York City and one to open soon in San Jose.

>> A little further from home, Keen announced the opening of a new retail store in Japan, on Cat Street in Tokyo's Harajuku neighborhood on June 15. It’s the footwear maker’s third overall brand store, which it calls "garages" — with another in its hometown of Portland, Ore. and one in Toronto Canada. At Keen Garage Harajuku, customers can find more than 100 Keen styles, including styles being introduced to the Japanese market for the first time, officials said. Keen began selling its products in Japan in 2004.

--David Clucas

Are you opening, closing or moving your outdoor store or office? Email atnews@snewsnet.comwith the details.

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