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HCN.org – Gear Companies Go Local – July 21, 2014

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HCN.org – Gear Companies Go Local – July 21, 2014

July 21, 2014

…The allure of living where you play has long drawn outdoor businesses to the rural West, and an anti-establishment, entrepreneurial spirit – combined with a lack of jobs – may be why so many gear companies begin here. There are other benefits, too: Sometimes small towns come equipped with an eager, low-cost workforce, like the skilled Navajo workers who once sewed Osprey Packs in Cortez, Colorado, or the tight-knit group that made sandals “with love” at the Chaco factory a few hours north in Paonia (HCN‘s hometown).

Five hours southwest in the town of Cortez, Osprey Packs has managed to compete globally while remaining locally rooted. Mike Pfotenhauer moved the company from California to Colorado in the early ’90s, but by 2003 it had outgrown those digs, and Pfotenhauer began outsourcing manufacturing to Vietnam. The company’s design hub is now in Marin County, California – which offers a larger creative pool – and it’ll soon move distribution to Salt Lake City to be on the national railroad network and reduce Osprey’s carbon footprint…

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