Outdoor products group reorganizes

BOULDER – American Recreation Products Inc. has reorganized into the Boulder Outdoor Specialty Group, the company recently announced.

The Boulder-based outdoor specialty group, comprised of Kelty, Sierra Designs, Slumberjack, Ultimate Direction and Wenger, said it is better positioned to collaborate and be more efficient.

As part of the reorganization, a division president, a marketing management and the company’s field sales representative positions were eliminated. Replacing the field representatives will be full-time sales reps, said Drew Simmons, a company spokesman.

Simmons said the company plans to do more collaboration among brands, yet each will keep its identity and produce distinct products.

“In front of the curtain we have every intention of maintain brand integrity,´ said Kenny Ballard, president of the Boulder Outdoor Specialty Group.

Ballard, who was formerly Kelty’s president, said consumers should expect the same quality from each of the group’s brands. However, the companies will share technology and, in a few departments, employees to help be more efficient and grow the group’s market reach.

For instance, if Kelty designers have a technology that may be too expensive or technical for a Kelty tent, that technology would be considered in a Sierra Designs tent as Sierra Designs is a more up-scale brand than Kelty, Ballard said.

Until the reorganization, that technology may have been wasted.

As a group, our passion is to improve the outdoor experience, to enhance the enjoyment of the outdoor experience, and to enable new outdoor consumers with passions of their own,” Ballard said in a statement.

Kelty, Sierra Designs, Slumberjack, Ultimate Direction and Wenger are all outdoors gear manufacturers including tents, sleeping bags, backpacks and more.

Each of the five brands, which are owned by Sun Capital Partners Inc., a private equity firm that owns Kellwood Co., operate under the same building, located at 6235 Lookout Rd. in Boulder, though they have their distinct space.

Now, customer service representatives, sales and marketing employees, product developers and other employees with similar duties will share spaces regardless of brand, Ballard said.

Simmons and Ballard both agree that the company is poised for a sale, but nothing is being discussed.

Ballard thinks Sun Capital, like many private equity firms, is always looking to do what’s in the firm’s best interest financially, but he knows Sun Capital also wants the individual brands to succeed.

Part of the reorganization is undoubtedly a response to economic uncertainty as the company tries to be more efficient.

“The economy for everybody … has challenged all of us as business leaders and businessmen to rethink how we do things,” Ballard said.

The reorganization will help build the foundation of a more financially secure company while growing the individual brands.

While some employees, such as former Sierra Designs leader Paul Gagner, were fired as part of the restructuring, Ballard said there are no plans to fire any additional employees.

“They key is, we’re rebuilding,” Ballard said. “We are focused for growth, and that is the reason why we looked at this restructuring as a strategic (decision).”

Contact writer Ryan Dionne at 303-440-4950 or e-mail rdionne@bcbr.com.