7.20.2009

Big time paddle news

LINCOLN CANOE & KAYAK ACQUIRED BY OUTDOOR, PADDLESPORT INDUSTRY VETERANS

Flagship paddling brand returns to prominence with fresh focus
on core market, community and experience

FREEPORT, MAINE (July 21, 2009) – Breathing new life into a 50-year-old flagship paddling brand, a group of outdoor and paddlesports industry veterans today announced the acquisition of Lincoln Canoe & Kayak.

The ownership group is led by Marc Bourgoin, a 20-year paddlesports professional with experience at all levels of the industry: as a guide, as a business owner, and most recently as a sales representative for Northeast Outdoor Sports, which exclusive supports Johnson Outdoors.

The group also includes Ponch Membreno, a 15-year outdoor retail specialist whose experience includes design and management of retail operations for Patagonia (Freeport; New York City) and Horny Toad (Freeport); as well as Ron Bourgoin, who brings two decades of logistics and operations expertise to the team.

The new owners will take control of Lincoln’s manufacturing facility and retail showroom in Freeport, effective immediately.

“As a group, we want to resurrect the historically powerful Lincoln brand with new personality, new energy and new ideas,” said Bourgoin. “And personally, what’s driving me is a desire to get back to the core of paddling. I want to raise my family as part of the outdoor culture, not part of corporate America.”

Founded in 1959, Lincoln Canoe & Kayak’s current lineup includes eight different canoes, nine different kayaks, and more than a little bit of history. Lincoln’s current brand recognition is fueled in large part by their location, a spot on the high visibility Freeport corridor, a premier retail district that sees more than 6 million visitors each year.

The ownership group got its own start in the early 1990s, when Bourgoin and Membreno shared the guiding duties of a Chewonki Foundation “leader training trip” in Maine’s Bigelow range, and dreamed of one day co-owning their own paddle brand.

“What we share as a group is a foundation of paddlesport experiences with a direct link to education,” said Bourgoin. “To create a sustainable client base, there has to be something more meaningful than just healthy margins: it’s got to be about the experience.”

The new owners’ distinct vision for Lincoln begins with a return of brand focus to the core audience: regional paddlers seeking both quality and community.

While one primary tool for strengthening community will be an interactive, user-friendly showroom in Freeport; the other will be the incorporation into Lincoln of Compass Road Expeditions, a domestic and international paddling guide service founded by Bourgoin in 1997.

“My connection to the sport has always been through guiding and always been through teaching. I‘ve experienced first hand the power of sharing the natural world with people, and there’s no doubt that it can change lives,” said Bourgoin. “It’s all about getting on the water.”

With their 100% made-in-Maine manufacturing facility, Lincoln is certain to appeal to consumers seeking locally made product.

It’s also expected to appeal to national retailers at a time when large brands are increasingly reliant on consolidation and offshore manufacturing – and small, high-quality regional brands are rising in prominence.

“A lot of people are looking at the paddlesports industry and wondering ‘where do we go from here?’“ said Bourgoin. “The quality of the product, the community around the brand, the experience of paddling – all those things are being lost at the expense of higher profit margins. We’re going to change that.”

###

7.17.2009

ORSM: When the conversation ends

Top Ten Questions You’ll Hear at Outdoor Retailer:

10 How’s business?
9. How’s business?
8 How’s business?
7. How’s business?
6 How’s business?
5. How’s business?
4 How’s business?
3 How’s business?
2 How’s business?
1. Where’s the bar?

The key to a successful Outdoor Retailer … or any trade show, for that matter … is knowing what your conversation is going to be.

Regardless of tenure or status, the thread of tradeshow conversation is the pathway to the heart of your brand.

In other words, what you choose to talk about in a place full of people talking is more than just a reflection of your reputation and raison d’etre. It’s the chili on your hot dog.

And if you don’t know what to put on that dog … trust me, it’s going to be a long show.

Once upon a time in the pre-grunge 90s, I set super specific goals for tradeshows. Stuff like “who I want to meet,” and “what I want to achieve with those people.”

But the downside of hyperlocal goals is that they’re reactive. They depend on things far outside of the realm of your mojo: stuff like missed air connections or the swine flu or a last minute decision to “not attend the show because I want to spend more time with my family.”

And when you’ve failed to achieve your goal at the biggest industry event of the year because some dude was out too late at Burt's Tiki Lounge, it can be a long flight home.

Besides, one of the greatest parts of OR are the surprise special guests that you never in a million years would've put on your pre-show goals.

So, I changed my trade show thinking -- and my results -- by focusing on what I could control. Namely, I started focusing on what I was talking about ... what I wanted to say, how I wanted to say it, and the type of people I wanted to say it to.

A trade show is the ultimate cocktail party, one that starts early, ends late, and follows you wherever you go. To reap the many benefits available to you at a trade event, you’ve got to be able to make the most of the crowd. You’ve got to know when to talk, what to say, and -- perhaps most importantly -- when to shut up (insert cheesy Kenny Rogers sing-along ballad here).

See you in SLC.

7.16.2009

ORSM 09: The unauthorized happy hour list

MONDAY / July 20

5 pm Junior's Tavern 30 E 300 S.
World’s Worst PR Event
Worse than you think

TUESDAY / July 21


4 pm
Runner's World #32148.
"Catch up with other endurance sports insiders."
Tan and tanner.

4 pm
Bridgedale Booth #24033
"Heft a pint of tasty Irish brew ...to celebrate its 100 year sock making heritage."
Socks and beer! Socks and beer!

4:30
Osprey #6027.
“35th anniversary party"
That would be the coral/jade anniversary.

5:00
Arc'teryx #1021.
Drink and browse through stuff you can’t afford.

5 pm
OIA #56000
Outdoor University Launch Party & Raffle. Wine, snacks, prizes.
Yes, wine.

5 pm
Smith Optics, #?
"We're just having a keg."
Get there before Chopper gets to it.


5 pm
Marmot #34037.
Benefit for the Access Fund.

6 pm
OR Industry Party on Pierpont.
Performance by Gibbon Slackline Pro Team. Also featuring flip cup tourney & dodgeball Held separately, I hope.

TBD
Rumors of a Native Eyewear party on the "Shilo Inn roof after the climbing thing."


WEDNESDAY / July 22

4:00 pm
In the Camelbak "hydrolab". Booth 15027.
Always drinking, never hydrating.

4:00 pm
Deuter, Booth #12001.

4:00 pm
FabricLink Textile Networking Happy Hour. #MR155.
"Make new contacts! Discuss product development concepts!”
When do we go to White Castle?

4:30 pm
Oboz #BR403.
"Drink Squatters Organic Amber, plant trees."
Not sure how the cause-and-effect relationship works there, but I’m certainly willing to try.

4:30 pm
KOR Water Bottles #73.
Win backstage passes for Sonic Youth, Jack Penate & Jarvis Cocker.
If I had a dime for every male flight attendant who’s complimented my Kor bottle …

4:30 pm
Clif Bar, Booth ?
Celebrating 1% for the Planet.
For the record, “2% for the Planet” is MY IDEA.

5 pm
Petzl Pizza & Beer.
30 Pizzas from Miguel’s in the Red River Gorge.
Spot the climbers in the crowd … they’ll be the ones holding a beer and eating pizza.

5 pm
Smith Optics, #?
"I think we're having (a keg) Wednesday too."
Where the beer flows like wine.

5 pm
Nemo, Booth ?
Unconfimed.

6 pm
Caffe Molise, 55 West 100 South.
Conservation Alliance 20th anniversary event. Featuring “debut performance of Outdoor Industry All-Star Band.”
How much of a donation do we have to give to make them stop?

5:00 pm
Arc'teryx #1021.
Drink beer and try to guess the names of their new jacket colors.

THURSDAY / July 23

3pm
Ahnu Footwear 29167w
"Make it Count" Award Ceremony with mountain bike giveaway.
The first keg of the day is always the best.

4 pm
Aquapac 39139
“British Themed Happy Hour” includes chance to win framed prints from “Wild Image Project” photog Daniel Fox as well as a 6-day sea kayaking trip. Must be present to win.
Consider yourself lucky. We were going to have a breath holding contest.

5:30pm.
Carve Designs, #37163.
Surfboard giveaway.

6 pm
The Hotel.
Trail Runner happy hour.
Unconfirmed.

7.14.2009

The British are Coming! And they're buying!

AQUAPAC "OUTDOOR CHAMPION" HAPPY HOUR

WHERE: Aquapac, Booth #39139

WHEN: Thursday, July 23, 4-6 p.m.


Welcome the London-based Aquapac team as they host their first-ever US cocktail hour at Outdoor Retailer this Thursday ... and show them your distinct thanks for the cold beverages as you try your luck at winning one of five framed prints from Aquapac 2009 Outdoor Champion, Daniel Fox.

As a bonus perk, Aquapac will be giving away the grand prize of a 6-day sea kayaking trip in Baja's Sea of Cortez (airfare/beer not included) hosted by AMG.

To win ... Register early at the Aquapac booth, #39139. Must be present to win!

(Below are some of Daniel Fox's images to be displayed at the Aquapac booth...)


M27: The Dumbbell Nebula

First discovered by Charles Messier in 1764, this pic of the Dumbbell was taken by my Uncle Brent last week.

The central star is a White Dwarf -- aka, a dying star -- and is the largest White Dwarf ever found.

LINK: M27 Wikipedia

7.13.2009

Every step you take ... could win you a Specialized mountain bike at ORSM

Finally, those poor tradeshow-appointment-making skills can finally pay off.

If you've got an ORSM calendar full of those dreaded climbing-wall-to-shoeville half-mile laps, it's time to join the Ahnu Footwear Make it Count Challenge, If your calendar is long enough, you might just be able to head home from Outdoor Retailer with a new Specialized mountain bike.

To enter, get to Ahnu Footwear (29167w) as fast as humanly possible once the OR show starts on Tuesday morning. A two-minute registration process will get you a Plus 3 account -- which automatically records and logs your miles -- as well as a nifty little GPS system or pedometer. Each day, after you've endured a thousand laps around the Salt Palace, you just log your miles into your account and Ahnu will do the rest.

For every person that enters the Make it Count Challenge, Ahnu Footwear will donate $5 to The Conservation Alliance. The daily leaders will also have a donation made in their name ... $500 for the day one and day two leaders, and $1000 for the final day's big kahuna. And if you're spotted wearing an official Ahnu/Plus 3 race bib during the course of the show, you could also win one of 100 prizes from Ahnu, Aquapac, Teko and GoMotion.

The winner will be toasted over a cold beer on Thursday at 3 pm at the Ahnu Footwear Booth. To stay in touch with the whole thing, Twitter is the way to go. Follow www.twitter.com/MakeItCount2009 to stay up to date on prizes and leaders.

If that's too techy for you, send me an email. Or better yet, fax me.

7.08.2009

What happens in mosquito netting, stays in mosquito netting.

A very special tribute from Toolik Field Station in the North Slope of Alaska. I love this ... especially, the eagle-sized mosquitoes buzzing around these cats.

Thanks to Kyle Dickman at Outside Blog. LINK