Grassroots Outdoor Alliance (Grassroots) named the Danish footwear brand Ecco as a Vendor Partner.

Ecco represents a unique, quality outdoor-lifestyle footwear line that compliments many of the footwear companies that the Grassroots membership supports.

In 2013, Ecco will celebrate its 50th Anniversary as a family-owned company of passionate shoemakers. When Karl Toosbuy moved to the small town of Bredebro in south-western Denmark in 1963 he brought with him almost nothing except an entrepreneurial spirit and a background in shoemaking. Toosbuy founded Ecco on the principles that still guide the company today: Scandinavian design, passion for shoemaking and innovation. Through sacrifice and perseverance, the footwear manufacturing business he founded has grown into a global brand with 20,000 employees operating in 94 markets around the world.

In 1990, Ecco established a sales subsidiary in the USA which quickly became the single largest market for Ecco shoes. In 1994 Ecco USA was named Company of the Year by Footwear News, a great honor for a brand so new to the market. As business grew globally and in the US, Ecco decided to extend their product range to reach new consumers with the introduction of Ecco Sport which includes performance outdoor and running products.

Today, Ecco is one of the worlds leading manufacturers and marketers of high-quality footwear with production units and sales subsidiaries around the world. Ecco has attained this position through sound business principles and constantly challenging the boundaries of comfort, innovative shoe design and the markets best quality. This requires uncompromising product development in which every detail from design to production is carefully planned and monitored. Therefore, Ecco has chosen to control the entire process within their vertically integrated value chain management model called cow to consumer. Ecco is the only major shoe manufacturer to own and manage every step in the shoemaking process.

“We are very excited about Ecco joining our vendor mix, said Dawson Wheeler, co-owner of Rock/Creek and chairman of Grassroots Vendor Committee. Ecco is a great Scandinavian company with rapid success in the U.S. market. What appeals most to us is their diversity in categories, and certainly their fit and comfort story. For Grassroots this makes for a perfect partnership, dealing with a company that holds high standards for all phases of their business.”

Erik Walcott, general manager of Performance for Ecco said the independent retailers that make up the Grassroots Outdoor Alliance represent the most credible and authentic retailers in the Outdoor Specialty channel.

The culture and values of the Grassroots Outdoor Alliance align perfectly with Eccos family owned heritage and entrepreneurial spirit, Walcott said. We look forward to a long partnership of profitable growth together.

The respect for other people and cultures is deeply rooted in the company. As a large employer, Ecco understands its responsibility and accepts it. Ecco will only achieve long-term business success by demonstrating good corporate citizenship, which in turn can only be secured if the business is based on constant achievement of good results.

However, it is just as crucial to Eccos success that the company leads the way when it comes to good corporate citizenship. No matter where in the world Ecco operates, this is done according to a set of principles which stipulate that they will behave in a correct and decent manner. This is our heritage as a Danish company. The principles apply to employee relations, to environmental considerations and to relations with business partners. As expressed by K. Toosbuy, the founder of Ecco, Ecco is a guest in each of the countries in which it operates and shall as such respect the culture of the country.

Mike Massey, owner of Masseys Professional Outfitters shared his enthusiasm for Ecco becoming a vendor partner with Grassroots Outdoor Alliance, Ive been wearing Ecco shoes for many years and recently started carrying their outdoor styles. Im very excited with how they are performing in our stores and even more excited that they are now a Grassroots Outdoor Alliance Vendor Partner.

Grassroots Outdoor Alliance has 42 members with nearly 90 retail locations across the United States. Grassroots unites independent outdoor retailers as a strong voice to protect and promote the experience of outdoor enthusiasts across the United States.