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Amer Sports turns Bonfire's Portland HQ into design center, action sports hub

Posted Dec 19 2012 1:17am

Just a year ago, action sports brands Bonfire Snowboarding and Salomon Snowboards worked out of a small, 12-person office along Northeast Flanders Street in Portland.

Today the address is the same, it just holds nearly twice as many people working on as many as five different brands, all under the umbrella of Amer Sports.

Over the last several months, the publicly traded Helsinki-based company — a collection of athletic, outdoor and fitness brands that combined produced around $2.5 billion in sales last year — transformed the Bonfire office into the headquarters of its action sports business and one of its primary apparel design hubs.

The Amer Sports Portland Design Center serves two primary functions:

  • It houses Amer's action sports brands, dubbed internally as A2. That means the Portland office handles global marketing and some product creation for Salomon Snowboards — a brand otherwise based in the French Alps — and is the world headquarters for Bonfire Snowboarding and Nikita, a women's snowboarding apparel brand founded in Iceland that  Amer acquired a year ago for around $10 million.
  • It is home to one of the company's global Apparel and Gear Product Creation Teams, where it has already developed apparel products for brands including Salomon, Wilson Tennis, and DeMarini, a Hillsboro-based specialist in aluminum baseball and softball bats that recently expanded into apparel.

The choice to expand in Portland, Amer executives said, falls along several often-repeated themes within the city's bustling active and outdoor cluster: The region's deep pool of apparel design talent and the proximity to action sports activity. Portland, the company notes, is the only place in America where snowboarders outnumber skiers.

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