Boulder’s rep as an outdoor industry hub super chill

Despite all-time highs for brick and mortar rents, Boulder thrives for outdoor sport retailers – good news for cycling and Multisport.

From the Times-Call

Chris Lovenskiold, left, and Ane Johnsen finish their hike below the Flatrions at Chautauqua on Thursday morning. Lovenskiold is leading the opening of the U.S. headquarters of Amundsen Sports in Boulder. ( Paul Aiken / Staff Photographer )

In late January, some 1,000 outdoor recreation companies will coalesce in Denver for the first-of-its-kind winter industry exhibition, a combination of the popular Outdoor Retailer Winter Market and SIA Snow Show.

But outdoor companies have been settling in Boulder County for decades, a trend that some predict will grow as brands are drawn by the active lifestyle and the presence of the industry’s largest trade show.

It’s the Ogden Effect, said Eric Henderson, an outdoor industry public relations professional who stumped for Boulder running store Go Far Shop when it opened this fall. Henderson is referring to the town of Ogden, Utah, where Outdoor Retailer (OR) began hosting its summer and winter shows some 20 years ago before moving to Denver.

Drawn by the yearly crowd of thousands and the energy of the OR show, 19 outdoor brands eventually settled in the town of 86,000, the Denver Post reported. City economic development officials have identified outdoor recreation as a key industry. Nearly 50 companies have headquarters or significant operations in the city, and 1,000-plus jobs have been added over the past decade.

Boulder, too, has recognized the power of its outdoor businesses as a key economic driver. The sector employs some 125,000 people throughout the state, according to the Boulder-based Outdoor Industry Association, and Colorado is known internationally as a supporter of an active lifestyle and businesses surrounding that.

Even if their offices are elsewhere, global brands have found retail success in Boulder — usually on Pearl Street. Sweden’s Fjallraven has a store there; North Face opened a concept shop on the mall this year.

Local operators have taken the opportunity to plant themselves on Pearl as well. GoLite reboot My Trail Company nabbed a spot this summer, and Go Far Shop joined this fall. Owner Kate King partnered with Steamboat Spring sock-seller Smartwool on the concept.

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