Eighteen Gregory Mountain’s employees were visiting Black Diamond Equipment Inc.’s headquarters in Salt Lake City Friday to get a sense of whether they want to accept offers to move there by year’s end. Black Diamond announced on Aug. 17 plans to move Gregory’s headquarters from Sacramento, CA to a building it is renovating at its Salt Lake City campus. BDE has extended relocation offers to 20 of Gregory’s 40 employees and given them until mid-September to decide. BDE could end up offering jobs to five more Gregory employees in California later this fall after determining its needs, CEO Peter Metcalf told The B.O.S.S. Report.
BDE went public in a reverse merger with Clarus Corporation in May while simultaneously merging operations with Gregory. Since then, Clarus Corp. has changed its name to Black Diamond Equipment and its stock ticker to BDE.
Metcalf said he is hopeful bountiful outdoor recreation options along the Wasatch Front, the lower cost of living and Utah’s lower income tax rates will lure Gregory employees to Salt Lake City. Black Diamond employees that don’t accept offers to move are eligible for a severance package that includes staying with the company until Jan. 1, 2011 and a minimum of two month’s severance after that.
The relocation of Gregory to BDE’s Salt Lake City location will increase the workforce there to about 170. BDE stands to reap $400,000 in tax incentives over the next ten years if it satisfies the requirements of an incentive package awarded by the State of Utah, Metcalf disclosed. BDE is already renovating former manufacturing space vacated when it sent some production offshore for Gregory designers and product managers.
The relocation is giving Metcalf a chance to shape senior management at Gregory. He is already looking for a director of sales and marketing to replace Jim BoisD’Enghien, who has decided not to follow Gregory to Salt Lake City to avoid disrupting his family after a series of recent relocations. BoisD’Enghien will continue working for Gregory through the end of the year to complete the sell in of 2011 product. Metcalf is also looking for an executive to replace Gregory’s acting CEO Gray Hudkins. Metcalf has said that the top position at Gregory will have the responsibilities of a strategic business unit manager.
Beyond the U.S., BDE is working to integrate Gregory’s operations into its global platform, which includes its operations and distribution centers in Switzerland and China. This will provide Gregory with access to customer service, IT, credit and other operational capabilities and greatly accelerate the brand’s development in these territories.
BDE and Gregory will compete head to head in the marketplace, with each maintaining separate sales and product development organizations. “The overlap in the pack market is significant in size and scale,” Metcalf said. “Where there is an overlap it's a big market and we don't have a problem with them competing a bit in a large market. Our goal is to take sales from everyone else.”
Most of the overlap occurs in the 40- to 60-liter category, where both unit and dollars sales are up in the high-single-digits in the United States so far this year, according to information in OIA VantagePoint, the point-of-sale data tracking service.