Cortez-based Osprey Packs Inc. has agreed to promote its enterprise to client merchandise firm Helen of Troy for $414 million in money.(The Journal file)

No main adjustments deliberate at firm headquarters

Osprey Packs headquarters will stay in Cortez, and no main adjustments in operations are anticipated beneath new possession by Helen of Troy, a publicly traded client merchandise firm, in accordance with firm officers.

Osprey introduced Monday it has agreed to promote its enterprise to Helen of Troy for $414 million in money.

“They’re taking care to study all about us, and consider we’re the specialists and have to study from us,” stated Osprey Packs founder and lead designer Mike Pfotenhauer. “They’re 10 instances larger than us, they put money into their staff like we do, and can assist Osprey develop.”

Osprey Packs has developed a worldwide marketplace for its product line, which incorporates high-end backpacks and daypacks for mountaineering, mountaineering, snowboarding, climbing, biking, path operating, journey journey, commuting and faculty. It has gross sales in 74 international locations.

The manufacturing firm was based in 1974 by Pfotenhauer, who’s the lead designer. He and his spouse, Diane Wren, together with a gaggle of traders, personal the corporate.

Present workplaces will stay in place, firm officers stated, together with the Cortez headquarters; a distribution heart in Odgen, Utah; a European market workplace in Poole, United Kingdom; and the workplaces and manufacturing operations in Ho Chi Minh Metropolis, Vietnam.

Osprey Packs CEO Layne Rigney will proceed to guide the corporate, in accordance with a Helen of Troy information launch.

Mike Pfotenhauer, Marilyn Jones and one unknown individual on the Dolores manufacturing unit circa 1990. (Journal file)

In an interview with The Journal, Pfotenhauer mirrored on the enterprise and its sale.

“I’ve completely loved the enterprise from starting to finish, I like designing packs, and the corporate has grown steadily,” he stated.

Practically 50 years in the past, he discovered to stitch from his mom and a former girlfriend, and began making packs.

“The primary ones have been fairly terrible,” he stated, laughing. “However over time you study and enhance, and it turned my life ambition. In these early days, I didn’t have an inkling it might develop into this profitable.”

His motivation has been designing sturdy packs that match folks effectively and switch the load to the physique effectively and comfortably.

Osprey focuses on technical journey packs that may stand as much as the pains of backcountry journey. The design crew is understood for pushing the envelope and developing with progressive designs, Pfotenhauer stated.

“Pack design continues to evolve, and now entails 3D printing, thermal forming and superior welding methods,” he stated.

Helen of Troy expressed curiosity within the firm a couple of years in the past, then COVID-19 hit, shutting down Vietnam factories, provide chains and retail shops worldwide.

“To their credit score, they didn’t waver on their curiosity,” Pfotenhauer stated.

Transaction highlights for the acquisition of Osprey Packs by Helen of Troy reveal a merger intent on rising product development for each firms, together with internationally.

Osprey Packs might be added to Troy’s main manufacturers, which embrace Hydro Flask, OXO, Braun, Honeywell, Pur, Vicks, Revlon, Sizzling Instruments Skilled, Mattress Head, Positive, Pert and Drybar.

Key factors from the investor overview embrace:

– Osprey web gross sales for 2021 are anticipated to be $155 million to $160 million.

— Osprey’s recognition enhances and diversifies Helen of Troy’s out of doors portfolio. Within the U.S., Osprey is rated No. 1 within the technical pack phase, No. 1 in journey packs, No. 1 within the on a regular basis backpack phase, and No. 2 in hydration packs. Internationally, Osprey is rated No. 1 in specialist packs and No. 1 in Nordic packs.

— Osprey’s senior management crew will add about 150 years of outside business experience to Helen of Troy.

— Osprey has a powerful international footprint, with 51% of its gross sales outdoors the U.S. Its merchandise are bought in additional than 8,000 shops globally, which make up 73% of gross sales. E-commerce gross sales account for 27% of gross sales.

— The whole addressable marketplace for technical packs, journey packs and daypacks is $12 billion, together with $3 billion for technical/out of doors sports activities packs, $4 billion for journey packs and baggage and $5 billion for on a regular basis packs.

— The merger expands Helen of Troy’s attain throughout durables and tender items with best-in-class pack-making capabilities (packs, totes, lunch, camp). Osprey, Hydro Flask and OXO portfolios will profit from cross-selling alternatives

— The acquisition of Osprey provides a Vietnam design and operation heart to Helen of Troy, and accelerates diversification of producing sources. Alternative exists to co-locate Helen of Troy’s deliberate Southeast Asia workplace in Osprey’s Vietnam heart.

“This acquisition is the basic story of two firms higher collectively,” stated Troy CEO Julien R. Mininberg, in a phone convention saying the sale Nov. 29. “Combining capabilities and credibility of Osprey with our international footprint and scalable international shared companies creates alternative for brand spanking new and environment friendly and development. We consider Osprey is effectively positioned to capitalize on market development.”

Helen of Troy’s in depth transport infrastructure, IT and worldwide market presence will increase the pack model much more, he stated.

Half of Osprey gross sales are outdoors the U.S., in accordance with a Helen of Troy presentation concerning the acquisition Monday. The corporate stated the Osprey acquisition suits effectively with their out of doors merchandise line of OXO and Hydro Flask, and its community will assist Helen of Troy additional increase into the worldwide out of doors merchandise market.

Pfotenhauer will proceed to design backpacks beneath a contract with Helen of Troy for the subsequent 12 months.

World headquarters a ‘supply of delight’

Osprey Packs employs practically 300 folks, together with nearly 100 within the Cortez workplace, 30 in Ogden Utah, 85 in Vietnam and 80 in Poole.

In 2014, the corporate had 110 staff worldwide.

The enterprise moved to Dolores in 1990 and to Cortez in 1994. It was beforehand primarily based in Pfotenhauer’s residence in Santa Cruz, California, and at a design workplace in Mill Valley, California.

In 2017, Osprey constructed its world headquarters within the coronary heart of Cortez on the nook of Empire and Park streets.

The town of Cortez supplied an incentive bundle for the corporate to remain on the town.

In 2016, the corporate bought 4 acres from town of Cortez for $225,000, and one other acre for $56,250, stated Metropolis Supervisor Drew Sanders on Thursday.

The town additionally agreed to carry an acre in reserve for Osprey for 10 years till 2026 for continued enlargement.

Additionally as part of the deal, a fiber-optic line was related to the headquarters for each day international enterprise.

In trade for the land deal, Osprey agreed to create 45 jobs over 5 years that paid above the county common. That obligation has been met, Sanders stated.

Colorado additionally wished Osprey to remain.

In 2014, the Colorado Financial Improvement Fee accepted Osprey for as much as $164,000 in tax credit from the state if it employed 34 new staff by 2019 at above-average wage for the county.

In 2018, Osprey earned $84,000 within the tax credit as part of the 2014 cope with the state, stated Jill McGranahan, interim advertising and marketing supervisor for the Colorado Financial Improvement Fee.

To get the tax credit score, Osprey employed 18 to 22 staff by 2019 at wages 110% of the typical for the world, McGranahan stated.

For every new worker, a tax credit score was utilized to the corporate tax legal responsibility.

After transferring to Montezuma County in 1990, 90% of Osprey’s workforce was made up of Navajo staff who sewed the backpacks collectively. In 2002, the corporate moved manufacturing to Vietnam factories to deal with elevated quantity, Pfotenhauer stated.

Manufacturing unit staff in Vietnam work on Osprey Packs on this file picture. (Courtesy Osprey Packs)

The corporate contracts with six factories in Vietnam which have 1000’s of staff, he stated. A few of the factories are managed by South Korean firms.

Pfotenhauer stated a few of his favourite experiences are working with Navajos, Vietnamese and Koreans, and studying about their cultures.

“With out their unimaginable stitching abilities and expertise, we’d not be the place we’re right now,” he stated.

A key for the corporate’s success has been specializing in one facet of the out of doors business, as a substitute of attempting to do all of it.

“We specialised in high quality backpacks and didn’t get sidetracked into different initiatives like tents and clothes,” he stated. “Due to that focus, we established ourselves because the chief in technical and journey pack market.”

Osprey has been a financial pillar for Cortez, providing well-paying jobs and donating to dozens of organizations and occasions yearly.

“All over the place you look persons are carrying Osprey packs. They’re an actual supply of delight for Cortez,” stated Mayor Mike Lavey. “It has been a great relationship and advantages our financial system. Having them right here provides us bragging rights, and I hope they keep.”

Osprey Packs repeatedly donates backpacks to native faculties, together with to Mesa Elementary. (Journal file picture)

In 2021, Osprey Packs supported 35 nonprofits within the 4 Corners, together with faculties, youth applications, races and conservation efforts. Osprey additionally donated to greater than 90 organizations in Colorado, the U.S. and internationally.

This 12 months, Osprey Packs donated $32,672 in money, and $51,995 in retail merchandise to neighborhood teams, in accordance with JAM Collective, its public relations agency.

“The packs Osprey donates to the children entices them to get outdoor extra by having such cool gear,” stated Kellie Willis, government director for the Piñon Mission. “It makes an enormous distinction. They’ve been very beneficiant.”

Casey Simpson, director for Southwest Open College, stated Osprey donations of backpacking gear to out of doors applications have been invaluable. In addition they present college packs.

“College students love them, they maintain up. The unique fashions are nonetheless round and have stood the take a look at of time.They’re in all probability collector objects by now,” Simpson stated.

Osprey Packs founder Mike Pfotenhauer and his spouse, Diane Wren, are planning their retirement after an settlement to promote the corporate to Helen of Troy. (Courtesy of Osprey Packs)

Pfotenhauer stated he has grappled with the choice to promote the corporate and retire from his life calling.

“I’ve been sort of dreading the choice. I like what I do and the folks I’ve labored with all these 47 years,” he stated.

After touring the world designing, manufacturing and promoting backpacks, he and his spouse have settled once more in Montezuma County.

For retirement, Pfotenhauer stated he’ll keep concerned in the neighborhood, and get again to creating art work, together with printmaking and woodwork. He plans to proceed his philanthropic efforts for space nonprofits and occasions.

“We will even proceed to help the wildlands round us; in any case, the outside is the guts of what Osprey does,” he stated.

jmimiaga@the-journal.com





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