Less than a year after opening a United States distribution center in Bedford, Connecticut, Vancouver, B.C-based Sugoi Performance Apparel has announced plans to open a distribution facility in Oldenzaal, Netherlands.

Oldenzaal, best known for its August “Boeskool” Festival, is conveniently close to Germany and a center for European rail and road transit. The town of 31,000 is next to the A1 Motorway, and its Hanzepoort business center caters to a number of international corporations in providing transit, distribution and business services.

Moving European distribution off-continent is a step that provides great efficiencies for Sugoi’s European customers, but it is not a simple matter.

“We first had to make sure we could recreate the high level of existing operations and systems that we have always had in Canada,” said Sugoi president Stan Mavis. “We feel that with our new presence in the Netherlands, we’ll be able to match the level of distribution service we’ve spent years developing, while increasing our timeliness and responsiveness to our European customers.”

Mavis, who was hired in early 2006 in the wake of Sugoi’s purchase by Cannondale Corporation, points out that efficient distribution systems are critical to scaling the company for long-term growth, “The U.S. distribution center was clearly a need ever since 9/11. Our greater presence in Europe and our goal of increasing global sales makes this a logical next step.”

Sugoi’s Design, Sales and Marketing departments all remain in Vancouver, British Columbia, and all Canadian distribution as well as much of its apparel manufacturing will remain there. The company will start shipping from Oldenzaal at the end of calendar 2007 for Spring 2008 products.

Critical to the move to Oldenzaal was parent company Cannondale’s presence there. Mavis notes, “We not only get efficiencies of speed, we realize efficiencies of scale in centralizing distribution hubs with Cannondale.” The two companies share distribution facilities in Connecticut, which has led to the successful integration effort in Europe.