Patagonia Opens First Texas Store in Historic Building in Austin

Outdoor clothing manufacturer Patagonia has set up shop in downtown Austin with the opening of its 25th retail store and its first location in Texas. The new 7,000-square-foot Patagonia store at 316 North Congress is located in a historic building that began life as the W.B. Smith dry goods store in 1884, four years before the state capitol down the street was completed.

AUSTIN, Texas -- Outdoor clothing manufacturer Patagonia has set up shop in downtown Austin with the opening of its 25th retail store and its first location in Texas. The new 7,000-square-foot Patagonia store at 316 North Congress is located in a historic building that began life as the W.B. Smith dry goods store in 1884, four years before the state capitol down the street was completed.

The store carries Patagonia-branded outdoor sports and lifestyle products tailored to the Austin market. Items range from layering systems to apparel for climbing, endurance and water sports, skiing, trail running, hiking/trekking and fly fishing. All products reflect the company's well-known commitment to environmental causes, including 100% organic cotton apparel that avoids causing environmental damage from toxic chemicals used in growing conventional cotton.

"When you walk into a Patagonia store, you know two things: you get high-quality, environmentally responsible products, and you get a company that pioneered both global and local corporate environmental activism," said store manager Jim Hansel, an avid Austin cycling, hiking, canoeing and fishing enthusiast who volunteers teaching bicycle safety to local youth groups and also takes part in local trail and water cleanups. "Every Patagonia store supports local environmental causes, and we are no exception."

Grand Opening
The grand opening of Patagonia's Austin store on Saturday, November 15, from 10am-7pm will featured live entertainment by local bands Austin Homegrown and Alpha Rev in cooperation with KGSR and KROX from 1-5 pm, a Native American flute performance by Daniel G. Benes from 5:30-6:30 pm, and a drawing for five $500 Patagonia gift cards.

Also in attendance was TreeFolks, an Austin-based non-profit urban tree planting organization and Patagonia Inc. grant recipient that has planted tens of thousands of trees at schools, retirement homes and other venues in Austin and Central Texas since its inception in 1989. The organization will also receive proceeds from the sale of 100% organically grown cotton reusable Patagonia tote bags purchased at the event.

Recycled Building
The W.B. Smith Building where Patagonia has hung its hat in Austin has housed a series of businesses since the original dry goods store left in 1903, including a wholesale liquor company, a soda manufacturer, a candy maker, barbers, shoe repairs, and the Dallas Morning News and Galveston Daily News. It was the site of the Vulcan Gas Company psychedelic nightclub from 1967 to 1970, with acts ranging from Steve Ray Vaughn and Johnny Winter to Shiva's Headband.

The building sat vacant for a decade until real estate developer Trammell Crow remodeled it and moved into the upstairs in 1982. Tenants since then have included office design firm Bommarito Group, video game designer Digital Anvil, and advertising agency Latin Works Marketing, which outgrew the space earlier this year.

The new Patagonia location fits corporate efforts to promote sustainable development by reusing existing buildings wherever possible. The company has added its own environmentally friendly fixtures and practices, including energy-reducing lighting strategies, formaldehyde-free insulation and composite wood products, rapidly renewable bamboo hangers and wall fixtures, and recycled rubber chairs and metal tables.

The store also has shower facilities and bike accommodations for employees, supporting alternative commuting strategies and healthier lifestyles.

'Green' Pioneer
Patagonia's historic site selection marks the latest chapter in a corporate commitment to environmental causes that began decades ago with a critical decision by Patagonia company founder and rock-climbing enthusiast Yvon Chouinard. At a predecessor company in the early 1970s, Chouinard decided to abandon a successful but rock-scarring line of piton climbing hardware and replace it with environmentally friendly aluminum chocks that leave the rock face intact.

That decision was the forerunner of Patagonia's mission to "build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, and use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis." To fulfill that mission, Patagonia earmarks 1% of sales for a grant program that has given more than $31 million to over 1,000 environmental organizations since 1985.

In addition to using 100% organic cotton, Patagonia also has used fleece made from post-consumer recycled plastic soda bottles since 1993, and last year became the first clothing manufacturer to recycle competitors' garments as well as its own through a program that accepts worn-out fleece, organic cotton t-shirts and Capilene (long underwear) products. The donated garments are recycled into new fibers to save energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Patagonia products are sold through select retail dealers and through the company's website as well as through Patagonia retail stores.

About Patagonia
Patagonia is a manufacturer and retailer of outdoor clothing, technical apparel and gear that is noted internationally for its commitment to product quality and environmental activism, including environmental responsibility in product development such as its policy of using 100% organic cotton. Its Environmental Grants Program has contributed over $31 million to grassroots environmental activists since 1985, and its Environmental Internship Program allows employees to work for environmental groups while receiving their full paycheck. The company has been recognized for many years by Working Mother magazine as one of the "100 Best Companies for Working Mothers" and is a regular recipient of recognition by Fortune and Human Resources Management magazines as one of the "100 Best Companies to Work for in America."


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