Gert Boyle, Chairman of Columbia Sportswear Company®, Kentucky Congressman Ed Whitfield. and Kentucky Governor Ernie Fletcher on Thursday commenced the official dedication of Columbia’s new Robards, KY-based distribution center.

Columbia anticipates this facility to be operational in January 2005. The facility will primarily house footwear from Columbia and its subsidiary brand Sorel.

The technologically advanced systems at the facility will keep track of more than 1800 cartons per hour. New sorting and tracking technology allows associates to locate any carton in the 520,000 square foot facility at any time, ensuring accurate and timely shipments. Special chutes and sorters were created to accommodate footwear and a wide variety of products if needed. The cost of the facility was approximately $40 million.

From 1998 to 2003, direct net sales for the Company’s footwear line in the United States increased at a compounded annual growth rate of approximately 25 percent.

“Were very excited about this opportunity to accommodate our growth in footwear,” said Tim Boyle, CEO and President of Columbia Sportswear. “The new Kentucky facility will enable cost-effective, two-day product delivery to Columbia’s East coast and Midwest customers, an area representing approximately 70% of Columbia’s footwear business.”

Columbia currently distributes footwear and apparel from its 829,000 square foot, Portland, Oregon-based facility. Construction of the Robards facility began in Fall 2003.

“This addition creates more jobs and opportunities for Kentuckians. We are excited to have a global company like Columbia as a member of our business community,” said Governor Fletcher. “Columbia’s dynamic growth has garnered a reputation as a fiercely competitive industry leader and as a good corporate citizen. Its decision to locate in Kentucky reaffirms the availability of a high quality workforce.”