The Finland-based owner of the Salomon and Atomic ski brands is moving its North American headquarters from Oregon to Ogden, Utah, next summer.
SPORTING GOODS MANUFACTURER Salomon Sports is moving its North American headquarters from Portland, Oregon, to Ogden, Utah, beginning in the spring of 2007.
About 75 jobs will be affected by the planned move, part of Finland-based Amer Sports Corp.’s plans to consolidate most of its North American ski and sporting goods businesses in one place. Amer Sports also owns the Atomic ski brand, as well as Suunto, Wilson, Precor, Mavic and others. The company employs more than 6,600 people worldwide.
Ogden will house the newly created Amer Winter & Outdoor U.S. Unit, which will include the Salomon, Atomic and Suunto brands. Mike Dowse, a 16-year veteran of Amer Sports Corp., will serve as president and G.M. of the new unit.
"After considering several Western cities, Ogden topped our list in all the critical categories. Its strategic location will enable us to establish our platform, help strengthen the brands and provide top-notch customer service," Dowse said. "… As a leader in winter sports, we will be at home on the mountain."
The Portland Development Commission had tried to persuade Amer to choose Portland, eager for the prestige, along with the 73 additional jobs that a consolidation would bring.
But Amer told officials that the company wanted to relocate to Ogden for the mountains, said Jim Thayer, a senior economic development manager for the development commission who worked on the bid.
Amer representatives told the agency that its package of $3.3 million worth of loans, grants and tax credits was tempting, but that the mountainous setting of Ogden was in keeping with the company’s image.
"We're excited to welcome Amer Sports to Ogden's outdoor business community," Ogden Mayor Matthew Godfrey said. "Amer is the world's leading sports equipment company. The power of its brands will define Ogden's presence as the hub for the high-adventure recreation business and the organizations that support it."
Ogden now boasts more than 11 ski and/or outdoor sports companies, including Descente, Rossignol, Scott USA, Goode, Kahuna, Nidecker and Snowsports Interactive.
"We are thrilled to have Amer Sports' American headquarters for winter and outdoor products, including the Atomic, Salomon and Suunto brands, relocating to the state of Utah," Governor Jon Huntsmann Jr. said. "This further illustrates Utah's increasing prominence in the wintersports and outdoor recreation industry."
Amer's decision comes more than a year after the company announced it would buy the Salomon division from Germany-based Adidas AG. Since then, Salomon employees have continued working at Adidas’ North Portland campus while the company looked for new office space.
Ogden appealed to Amer not only for its mountain setting, but also because it was perceived as neutral ground between Salomon and Atomic.
Still, the decision to leave Portland is surprising considering the recent relocations to the area by Keen, a footwear manufacturer, and Yakima Products Inc., which makes car racks, said Ross Regis, founder of Search Synergy, a Portland-based executive search firm that specializes in the sporting goods and outdoor sports industries.
"A primary reason for being located in Portland is the access to the very significant talent pool," he said.
Not all Salomon companies will leave Portland. Bonfire Snowboarding, which makes snowboard apparel and has about a dozen employees, will remain in the city.
— The Associated Press contributed to this report