Salomon Moves To Portland

Salomon North America will move its headquarters from Georgetown, Massachusetts to the Portland, Oregon headquaters of Adidas America by September 1999.

Salomon will integrate warehousing, finance, logistics, legal, information systems, and customer service with those of Adidas America. However, the management, sales, and marketing groups will remain separate, and the sales forces will not change.

“Our commitment will focus on retaining the individual brand identities and unique corporate cultures while allowing the common synergies to benefit both organizations,” says Adidas/Salomon North America CEO Steve Wynne.

According to Bryan Johnson, Salomon's director of snowboarding, the move to Adidas will benefit the Salomon snowboarding program in several ways. “First, we'll have full integration with Adidas when it comes to customer service, shipping, warehousing, and credit. This will not only improve margins, but in many cases will improve our ability to service our customers. Adidas obviously has extremely strong relationships with footwear sourcing, so our shops can expect further improvements to the Salomon snowboard-boot program as well.”

Johnson indicated that although there are currently several outreach programs in place between Salomon and Adidas designers, having these two groups under one roof will spur the exchange of ideas.

According to Steve Bagby, president of Salomon USA, “We realize the significance a move like this has on our employees, customers, and suppliers, and have taken great pains to make sure that this is an extremely positive development in the progress of the Salomon brand in North America. We do believe that the move will provide career development opportunities for many and a great opportunity for both companies to share resources.”

Although each of the 135 employees currently employed in the Georgetown office have been offered a position at the Beaverton facility, Johnson says it's likely that only 35 to 50 people will actually make the move.

“The entire snowboard department is staying intact,” he says. “But there are quite a few warehouse and management people who have such strong ties to the East Coast that they've decided to stay.”

These individuals have been offered a generous severance program, says Johnson, which equals out to one month's salary for every year of employment at Salomon. “I know of at least one individual who will receive a year and a half of pay because of this.”

The cost savings consolidating some departments will provide is significant, however Johnson says, “We'll lose some people but that was never the intention with the move, only a byproduct.”

Salomon will initially occupy office space adjacent to buildings already occupied by Adidas America in Beaverton, Oregon. However, this first move is only temporary. Both Adidas America and Adidas International will consolidate operations under one roof in a completely refurbished former hospital on Swan Island in North Portland. That renovation is expected to cost 25- to 30-million dollars and should take place late next year.

Bonfire, which has for the most part retained a independent identity after being acquired by Salomon and then Adidas, will mostly likely not move from its existing Portland, Oregon headquarters to the Beaverton offices. “That's a discussion Bonfire President Brad Steward has to have with Wynne,” says Johnson.

However, rumor has it that the smells from the vegetarian sandwich shop next door to Bonfire's Portland office are slowly driving Steward insane, so don't be surprised if “For Lease” signs appear soon in the quirky former-firehouse offices.-Sean O'Brien