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Gopher-preneur book of the month, Oct. '06


General Business Discussions

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Old 10-16-2006, 03:07 PM
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Gopher-preneur book of the month, October '06
One Tough Mother: Success In Life, Business, And Apple Pies
by Gert Boyle, Kerry Tymchuk

A neat story from this book is about how when Gert's husband died in 1970, her bankers told her she was in debt $150,000 and she should sell the business. A potential buyer was found and he ultimately offered Gert $1,400.00. That's it. For a company that had 40 employees and had revenues of $800,000.

For that amount of money Gert figured she would be better off running the business into the ground herself. At least she would have a shot of making it work. Ultimately she is glad she stuck with it and so are we.

Check out her book and learn her story. I do believe it will inspire you and your business.

Columbia Sportswear began as a small, family-owned hat distributor. Present chairwoman Gert Boyle's parents, Paul and Marie Lamfrom, fled Germany in 1937, and immediately bought a Portland hat distributorship. They became the Columbia Hat Company, named for the nearby Columbia River. Frustrations over suppliers influenced the family to start manufacturing their own products.

Ten years later, Gert married Neal Boyle, who became the head of the company. In 1970, Neal died following a heart attack. Gert and son Tim Boyle, then a University of Oregon senior, took over the operations of Columbia, rescuing it from near bankruptcy.

Columbia's jackets featured waterproof fabric that was also breathable. Additionally, new jackets featured interchangeable shells and liners. Multiple wearing options and fabric technology fueled rapid sales growth.

Columbia Sportswear acquired footwear maker Sorel Corporation in 2000 and Mountain Hardwear in 2003.


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