Denver is a perfect fit for outdoor retail giant VF Corporation, according to its CEO

After receiving the state’s second largest tax incentive in history, they’ll move to Denver.
3 min. read
Kids climb atop a new boulder unveiled at Montbello Open Space Park, July 24, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

VF Corporation, the parent company of some of the largest outdoor brands in the world, is moving from North Carolina to the Denver area -- another sign of the outdoor industry's interest in the city.

The decision comes in the wake of the largest outdoor trade show in the country, the Outdoor Retailer Trade Show, deciding to uproot from Utah and make its new home in Denver.

“Yes, we’ve seen an increase in companies relocating from California, for instance, for a better cost of living and operational costs as well as financial services, and the outdoor rec community seems to be growing organically,” said Michelle Hadwiger, Deputy Director and Director of Global Business Development for Colorado's Office of Economic Development and International Trade.

She sees Denver as a growing hub for "knowledge" based industries. Denver is near an international airport and affordable in comparison to similar cities, according to Hadwiger.

VF Corporation, a Fortune 250 company, is a parent company for a plethora of outdoor brands like The North Face, JanSport and Eagle Creek, and generates over $11 billion annually. The company is currently going through some strategic re-structuring, and a sizable chunk of its brands and employees are headed to the Denver metro area.

The company will bring about 800 jobs with an average salary of $185,721. Under an agreement with the state, the company will recruit from the local talent pool.

VF also will use some of their tax incentive money -- possibly as much as $27 million, according to the Denver Business Journal -- to help Colorado protect its outdoor areas. According to Hadwiger, VF Corporation will match every dollar it uses of its tax incentives in donations to the VF Foundation, which will, in turn, serve the interests of the citizens of Colorado.

North Face, one of the most popular brands under the VF umbrella, already has provided funding and designs for the new climbing rock that was installed in the Montbello area.

Sam Bailey, the vice president of economic development at the Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation, noted that besides the apparent boost it gives to Denver’s business scene, it's VF Corporation's commitment to Colorado that makes them a significant addition. “We are working with companies that are focused on good community impact, good paying jobs for Coloradans, and good public policy that strengthen communities,” Bailey said.

VF Corporation's CEO, Steve Rendle, also sees the state as a good fit for the company’s brand.

According to the state's economic development office, around 71 percent of Colorado residents spend time doing outdoor recreational activities, and that doesn't include visitors.

“Colorado is an area with an unrivaled heritage and culture of outdoor and activity-based lifestyles, as well as a thriving business environment,” Rendle said in a press release. “It is a great strategic fit for our business, and we are excited to be relocating our headquarters and several brands to the metro Denver area next year. We believe that the creation of our new headquarters in the area will help us to unlock collaboration across our outdoor brands, attract and retain talent, and accelerate innovation.”

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