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Our view: Homegrown success story

At issue

Steamboat Springs’ economy thrives on the presence of homegrown businesses such as SmartWool

Our view

SmartWool’s parent company, VF Corporation, apparently sees the value in keeping its operations here, and we hope that relationship will continue







On Aug. 4, SmartWool President Mark Satkiewicz announced he would resign his position with the company — a post he had held since 2009 — to accept a new job as general manager of the Americas for the TOMS shoe company.

At issue

Steamboat Springs’ economy thrives on the presence of homegrown businesses such as SmartWool

Our view

SmartWool’s parent company, VF Corporation, apparently sees the value in keeping its operations here, and we hope that relationship will continue

And while we are saddened by Satkiewicz’s exodus, we wish him well in his new endeavor and are grateful the company he has helped move forward through the past seven years will remain here in Steamboat.

The company’s history is a storybook tale of success.

Founded in Steamboat Springs in 1994 by former ski instructors Peter and Patty Duke, SmartWool began hit its stride almost immediately, generating about $300,000 in sales during its inaugural year of operation.

Since then, the company — through several acquisitions, including its 2005 sale to Timberland and its subsequent 2011 acquisition by VF Corp., parent company to such brands as Eastpak, Jansport, Lee, The North Face and Wrangler — has increased sales, expanded its product lines and in so doing, has become an internationally recognized brand, all while keeping its base of operations in the small mountain town that bore it.

All this — particularly the final piece — makes SmartWool an incredible asset to the Steamboat community.

Apart from the obvious economic benefit, the presence of a world-class outdoor apparel company in a community defined by outdoor activities provides an attractive drawing card for young, rising professionals — the opportunity to live the brand for which they work.

Additionally, given the high cost of relocation and recruitment, it is extremely challenging to persuade established companies to move operations to a city like Steamboat, so having such businesses arise from the local economy and then remain is an enormous boost to the community.

And SmartWool is but one example.

BAP, Big Agnes, Point 6, Chaos Hats, Helinox Campchairs: The list goes on and on, and Steamboat is all the better for its relationship with each of these locally based companies; such relationships should never be taken for granted.

As we move forward, it will be vital for community leaders to engage with SmartWool’s new president and continue to foster the relationships that will shepherd our local economy to an even brighter future.

We are grateful for our associations with our homegrown businesses, which together, serve to promote the Steamboat brand across the nation and beyond.

And we’re confident SmartWool — and all our other local brands — will remain as vital to shaping future as they have been to molding the past.


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