mountain hardwear company recently purchased by north face?

8:37 a.m. on September 4, 2004 (EDT)
(Guest)

Is that true North Face recently bought out mountain hardwear company ?

1:03 p.m. on September 7, 2004 (EDT)
TRAILSPACE STAFF
234 reviewer rep
951 forum posts
No

Mountain Hardwear was bought by Columbia earlier this year.

4:01 p.m. on September 8, 2004 (EDT)
0 reviewer rep
20 forum posts

The North Face is owned by Vanity Fair Corporation. They can't buy another company...

4:27 p.m. on September 8, 2004 (EDT)
TRAILSPACE STAFF
234 reviewer rep
951 forum posts

The North Face *can* buy another company. In fact, TNF owns several other companies, including La Sportiva.

Many large corporations are structured as a series of separate, but wholly-owned, holding companies, operating companies, and subsidiaries. There can be many layers of ownership in between an operating company and its ultimate parent company.

6:15 p.m. on September 8, 2004 (EDT)
(Guest)

Pure yuppie gear?

So what do you think this will this do to the quality of the gear?

7:17 p.m. on September 8, 2004 (EDT)
TOP 10 REVIEWER REVIEW CORPS
2,445 reviewer rep
5,386 forum posts
Actually, it is ...

officially VF Corporation (website http://www.vfc.com/) In the outdoor world, VF subsidiaries besides The North Face include Jansport, EastPak, Napapijri, and Kipling. In jeans and other denim, the group includes Wrangler, Lee, Riders, Rustler, Brittania, H.I.S., and several others. Vanity Fair is one of several "intimates" divisions and was the original company that created the VF Corp., that is the overall holding company today. As an investment, they are actually pretty good as a long-term holding (usual caveats concerning clothing fashion companies, of course). Dave is right that corporations, especially these days, are often nested several deep with subsidiaries (wholly and partially owned, joint ventures, and so on), sort of like one of those Russian dolls. And sometimes a company sells under several brand names.

9:54 a.m. on September 9, 2004 (EDT)
TRAILSPACE STAFF
234 reviewer rep
951 forum posts
Time will tell

Supposedly MH will continue to operate independantly, but will benefit from Columbia's size in terms of being able to get into more stores, buying materials less expensively, etc. That's the company line, anyhow. The reality may be much different. If MH becomes a household name (a la TNF), look out. The profit motive is strong to exploit the mass market by making mass-market crap.

11:16 p.m. on September 13, 2004 (EDT)
(Guest)

In fact, TNF used to own La Sportiva. They sold it back just as VF Corp was buying them as TNF was filing for bankruptcy. They owned LS for a short period as they fell on hard times for many reasons. They purchased A5 many years ago and folded the Big Wall gear into the product line-up. And now, A5 is travel clothing. TNF does not own any other companies.

3:54 p.m. on September 15, 2004 (EDT)
(Guest)

Re: Pure yuppie gear?

hopefully not the same it did to TNF

8:53 p.m. on September 15, 2004 (EDT)
TOP 10 REVIEWER REVIEW CORPS
2,445 reviewer rep
5,386 forum posts
Re: Pure yuppie gear?

Actually, a large part of TNF is back on track. They appear to have overcome most of the problems with the tents, sleeping bags, packs, and expedition clothing. TNF's problems were from before VF bought them, and VF has done a pretty good job of defining TNF's niche and getting them back on track. Yeah, they still have a lot of yuppie gear, but so does Patagucci, and MH has had a lot of "fashionwear" for a number of years now.

In some ways, I am happy enough that some of the companies have "fashionwear", as long as it helps keep the costs down for their niche climber/BC skier gear. If they want to use the specialty gear for showcase and prestige to sell their other lines, fine. It can actually be a trap for these companies - they build a rep with the climber gear and it sells the other stuff under their label, but if they screw it up, the general public will hear from the climbers and skiers. That's a major part of why TNF went through some hard times and ended up getting taken over. VF seems to be aware of that and is putting TNF back on track. Look what happened to Eddie Bauer. In the 1950s and 60s, they produced the finest sleeping bags, down parkas, and other expedition gear available. Expeditions chose their stuff first. Then they decided fashion gear was what sold, and hoped their reputation would continue forever. Now they are just a signature on a label for fashion stuff that barely works in a normal winter in the city. Hardly anyone remembers their glory days.

10:12 a.m. on September 16, 2004 (EDT)
0 reviewer rep
1,083 forum posts
Re: Pure yuppie gear?

Eddie Bauer died when General Mills bought them way back when. I think that is when the switch began from real gear to basically fashion. I wonder who owns them now as General Mills sold them off back in the 80's.

Does anybody know how many times the North Face has been bought and sold? It seems like many of these companies have gone through this numerous times. I remember when the North Face bought out Holubar, that was the first big buyout I had heard of.

12:55 p.m. on September 16, 2004 (EDT)
TOP 10 REVIEWER REVIEW CORPS
2,445 reviewer rep
5,386 forum posts
TNF early history

In 1991, Hap Klopp published "The Adventure of Leadership" giving his philosophy of business management. He was the founder of TNF. I don't know whether it was because the book didn't sell, but pretty quickly after it was published, the TNF shops in the SF area had signing parties at which Klopp was handing out autographed copies free to anyone who walked into the store (even though he had sold the company 3 years earlier). I read it at the time, but don't remember a lot except what a huge ego he had and how contrary his picture of a happy workers' paradise was to what the people I knew who worked there were saying. TNF bought Sierra Designs, which was later spun off as well as acquiring and later spinning off or dropping the names of several other outdoor companies over the years (lots of us were annoyed when the Holubar name disappeared). One thing that was known in the Bay Area, but isn't really mentioned in the book was that Klopp and others who started TNF (and Sierra Designs, and a couple other companies) did their apprenticeship at the Ski Hut on University Avenue in Berkeley (Ski Hut's gear brand was Trailwise).

Klopp sold TNF in 1988, although I don't remember who the buyer was (his book doesn't say). So for the first 20 years of life, TNF belonged basically to one person and his partners. VF acquired TNF in the mid-90s when TNF was losing market rapidly. At the time, they wanted to acquire a prestige name (they stated that in their press releases announcing the acquisition), but had to spend several years rebuilding the quality.

1:27 p.m. on September 16, 2004 (EDT)
0 reviewer rep
1,083 forum posts
Re: TNF early history

Class 5 was another company that started out of the Ski Hut fraternity. So many of these great names came from there. Anybody know whatever happened to the Ski Hut?

4:17 p.m. on September 17, 2004 (EDT)
(Guest)

I noticed TNF gear in the local (Morgantown, WV) American Outfitters in the mall. Haven't seen that brand there in a few years. They have Marmot as well.

-Arms

11:20 a.m. on September 20, 2004 (EDT)
TOP 10 REVIEWER REVIEW CORPS
2,445 reviewer rep
5,386 forum posts
Ski Hut

They closed something like 20 years ago, around the time I moved back to the SFBay Area. Unfortunately, virtually all the local specialty climbing, backcountry ski, and hardcore backpacking shops closed in the past couple of decades - they can't compete with the big chains like REI, EMS (no EMS in Calif yet), Sport Chalet (originally just SoCal, but a couple here now), SportMart, and so on. Even Marmot (the stores, which aren't associated with the manufacturing Marmot these days) is down to 2 stores. Some of the climbing gyms sell rock climbing gear (no backpacking gear), and TriCity (a huge sporting goods local shop) has a good selection of quality camping gear (hidden among the car camping stuff, guns, fishing gear, and downhill ski gear - at least the patio furniture is in the building next door). Sunrise Mountaineering is about the only specialty shop left in the area these days (I seem to recall that Kim, the owner, told me he worked at Ski Hut for a while).

3:15 a.m. on October 22, 2004 (EDT)
(Guest)

TNf yuppie gear is backon track

Look at the Summit down jacket.

It has a REFLECTIVE LINING. A few years before this happened on a -40C evening, I mentioned to my buddy "Hey, why don't our down jackets have reflective linings? I mean, Nasa got us Tang pretty quick, so how come TNF et al haven't picked up on it yet??".

Anyway, that one development tells me they are back on track.

BTW does it work yet

December 17, 2014
Quick Reply

Please sign in to reply

 
More Topics
This forum: Older: climbing shoes soles Newer: about topos
All forums: Older: F.S. Bibler Fitzroy, Dana Terraplane, Marmot Alpinist Parka Newer: selling: titanium komperdell poles