Outdoor Research has been sold to Dan Nordstrom, who assumes the title of president and CEO of the company effective immediately. Bob Gregg, who took over the company following his brother Ron Gregg's death earlier this year, will continue to serve on the company's board and he will retain some financial interest in Outdoor Research. Terms of the deal were not announced.
Until his resignation last year, Nordstrom (40) had enjoyed a 15-year career at Nordstrom Inc., serving as a co-president at Nordstrom from 1995 to 1999, and then as CEO of Nordstrom.com until 2002. While at Nordstrom.com, he took the company from $1 million in sales to just under $200 million.
While there is no doubting his corporate and retail savvy, it is his love for the outdoors that led Nordstrom to acquire Outdoor Research.
"I have done the corporate thing for a long time now, but as I told the employees this morning, I am the typical outdoor geek and have been using OR products for most of my climbing career," Nordstrom told SNEWS in an exclusive interview following the official announcement to the company.
A life-time Seattle resident, Nordstrom, a member of the Access Fund board, has also served on the boards of MountainZone.com and Altrec.com and considers himself a passionate outdoorsman who enjoys rock, ice, mountain trudging and backcountry skiing.
"My heart has always been in the outdoor industry in one way or another. I am a climber at heart, and while with three boys (age 13, 11 and 5) my time spent outdoors is not quite what it used to be, it is still a very important part of my life," said Nordstrom.
"I had been looking for a small business to acquire since retiring from Nordstrom last year, with the criteria that the company must have tangible assets and a strong history. When OR came up, it fit incredibly well with my interests and passions."
Gregg told us that Outdoor Research had been on the market, but not successfully until Nordstrom arrived.
"We were looking for the best long-term solution for OR and had rejected a number of overtures because they were not a good match for the most important thing to us, continuing with Ron's legacy at OR," said Gregg. "Then, out of the clear blue sky, Dan Nordstrom arrived. He has the passion and experience and capital -- it is a dream match."
Gregg also confirmed to us that he will be a bit more involved with the company than in the past, especially in areas he has expertise in such as marketing.
SNEWS View: While doing a bit of background fact-checking, someone commented to us that the pairing of Dan Nordstrom and Outdoor Research was a match made in heaven. Ironic statement considering it was Ron's untimely death that created the opportunity for Nordstrom. We are quite sure, however, that Ron is smiling from heaven. While we don't doubt Bob Gregg's abilities, given the circumstances, this is the best thing that could have happened to the company and its long-term success. It became very clear in our interview with him that Nordstrom has passion, energy, drive, vision and skills beyond the ordinary. Nordstrom apparently told the Outdoor Research team following the announcement of his acquisition of the company that, "As of right now, we are the most customer-focused team in the industry." Whereas Outdoor Research used to be fun to watch because of Ron, it will now be fun to watch because of what we believe the company will begin doing with all its newfound ideas and support for growth.