September 28, 2012

1997 – Nike checked area out; Whole Foods moved in

BROOMFIELD — Nike came to Colorado in 1997, saying it was looking for a place to build a regional headquarters and manufacturing operation. The natural-foods industry found that home.

Nike, it was reported, wanted to expand in its hometown, Beaverton, Oregon, but had run into roadblocks. It said it was looking for 700 acres in Colorado to build a campus of more than 5 million square feet. Broomfield cobbled together land parcels totaling about 1,000 acres to show the company, and Jefferson County’s economic-development arm countered with an offer of 1,200 acres on South Table Mountain in Golden.

After months of dickering, Nike announced it had decided to stay put in Beaverton — just as one veteran economic-development official predicted it would.

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“From day one, it was never a deal,” said Don Dunshee, president and chief executive of the nonprofit Broomfield Economic Development Corp. It turned out the great jobs were to pay about $8.50 an hour to stamp out waffle tennis-shoe insoles and ship them to the Far East for insertion into shoes, Why would the company pay those transportation costs from landlocked Colorado?

“I’ve been in this business long enough to know what happens when a company runs into problems at their current location. They do a search as leverage,” Dunshee said. It turned out that Nike was only conducting its site search to pressure Beaverton into giving it more tax incentives for its expansion there.

As Nike’s Front Range foray was making headlines, deals that were decidedly real weren’t. In 1997, the county’s growing natural-products industry was growing rapidly.

Boulder County already hosted Celestial Seasonings, Horizon Organic Dairy, tofu maker White Wave and retailer Wild Oats Markets. Early in the year Austin, Texas-based Whole Foods Market announced it would put a large “supernatural” market in Boulder, the backyard of its major competitor, Wild Oats. As the year progressed, Whole Foods bought Boulder-based Daily Bread artisan bakery, Boulder-based Allegro Coffee Co. and Boulder-based Amrion, a dietary-supplements company.

Also in 1997, supplements maker McZand Herbals moved to Boulder from Santa Monica, California, and Frontier Herbs moved its marketing and corporate offices to Boulder from Norway, Iowa.

BROOMFIELD — Nike came to Colorado in 1997, saying it was looking for a place to build a regional headquarters and manufacturing operation. The natural-foods industry found that home.

Nike, it was reported, wanted to expand in its hometown, Beaverton, Oregon, but had run into roadblocks. It said it was looking for 700 acres in Colorado to build a campus of more than 5 million square feet. Broomfield cobbled together land parcels totaling about 1,000 acres to show the company, and Jefferson County’s economic-development arm countered with an offer of 1,200 acres on South Table Mountain in Golden.

After months of dickering,…

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