The North Face, SmartWool, Other Outdoor Brands Move Headquarters to Denver

164px VF Corporation logo.svg

It’s starting to look like Colorado’s bid to host the Outdoor Retailer convention is beginning to pay off in a big way. When the outdoor industry took umbrage with some of the state of Utah’s approaches to protecting public lands, Colorado rolled out the red carpet, luring the lucrative convention away from Salt Lake City to Denver instead. Now, the city is becoming an even bigger epicenter for the outdoor world as more brands relocate to the area, including some of the biggest names in the industry.

Yesterday, VF Corporation announced that it was moving its world headquarters to Denver. While many of you probably haven’t heard of VF Corp before, I guarantee you’ve heard of some of the brands that it owns. For instance, The North Face falls under the VF corporate umbrella, as does SmartWool, JanSport, and number other high profile companies.

Naturally, Colorado officials are excited to welcome this Fortune 250 company to the state. “We are thrilled to welcome a new partner that embodies the values that define Colorado,” said Governor John Hickenlooper. “VF’s move underscores the critical driver that the outdoor recreation industry plays in our economy where business meets lifestyle.”

The relocation process is expected to take about two years to complete, with more than 800 VF employees moving to Denver. The new global headquarters building is expected to open in mid-2019, although the exact location hasn’t been revealed yet. Employees will start arriving soon thereafter, including about 70 from SmartWool, which currently operates out of Steamboat Springs, Colorado.

All told, VF Corp and its subsidiaries employ about 70,000 people worldwide, operating in 170 countries. In 2017, it generated $11.8 billion in revenue. Obviously, only a fraction of those employees will be moving to Denver, but it is still a significant coup for the city and state, which have always emphasized the importance of outdoor activities and adventures. Once the relocation is complete, the company will be Colorado’s most valuable publicly traded company as well.

Kraig Becker