LoveSac wins Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Awards
HEBER CITY, Utah (June 19, 2003) — In a lopsided victory Wednesday evening, LoveSac beat the stuffing out of BackcountryStore.com to become the 2003 Utah Entrepreneur of the Year in the emerging business category. When asked for his reaction, BackcountryStore.com CEO Jim Holland said, “Dang.” Co-founder John Bresee’s reaction: “Once again we’re standing in the shadow of Love.”
The upside was that the BackcountryStore.com execs finally had a reason to have a dress code, even if it was just for one evening. They knew the awards ceremony would be a glitzy affair, broadcast to a live audience of 1,200 on a big-screen television and attended by the governor. So the pair decided that the GORP-centric attire they sell on-line wouldn’t be appropriate apparel in which to accept their award (bahahaha — jokes on them … there’s no award for second place). Bresee and Holland donned formal garb and neck ties for the first time in the company’s history. BackcountryStore.com employee number two, Bob Merrill, quickly labeled them “sellouts” and “corporate suck-ups.”
However, when the winners of the respected awards were announced, and LoveSac, a Salt Lake-based manufacturer of beanbag-like furniture, was named the winner in the emerging category, the web-based purveyors of high-end outdoor equipment knew they had underestimated their competition. “We got beaned by LoveSac,” said a dejected Bresee. LoveSac has been a corporate rocket ship, achieving $5 million in annual sales in two years of business and signing up new franchisees at a rate of one every two weeks.
“In truth,” said Holland, “I’m incredibly impressed with everything that LoveSac has accomplished, and we’re very honored that Ernst & Young included us in their competition. It’s an honor to be in the same room with such a talented and brilliant field of entrepreneurs.”
BackcountryStore.com was one of 24 finalists for the 10th annual Utah 2003 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Awards, which are co-sponsored by Utah Business magazine. The finalists were chosen from approximately 50 nominations, and the “emerging” category focuses on relatively young businesses.
BackcountryStore.com — which was named one of 2002’s top 50 e-commerce sites by Internet Retailer Magazine — sells high-end, specialty gear for backcountry adventures, including skiing, snowboarding, climbing, trail running, camping and hiking. The company was founded in 1997 by Holland, a six-time U.S. National Ski Jumping Champion, and Bresee, former Powder Magazine Editor. For more information, visit www.BackcountryStore.com.