European Outfitter Taps Eagle for First U.S. Distribution Center

DirectAlpine's move represents growth of outdoor recreation powerhouse in Colorado

DirectAlpine, a European-based brand of technical outdoor apparel popular "around the Alps," has found a home in the Rockies.

The company, which ships products to 23 countries including the U.S. and Canada, needed a transatlantic distribution center to better cater to a rapidly growing contingent of North American consumers. The rugged mountain town of Eagle seemed like a perfect spot for the site that opened in 2017 to fulfill e-commerce orders and dealer requests.

"We recognized the central locations of the station and, of course, the amazing environment – from both pure nature and business perspectives," says Dimitar Dimitrov, managing partner at XCoSports, distributor for DirectAlpine.

When it comes to those business perspectives, Colorado's Outdoor Recreation Industry Office was especially enticing. Gov. John Hickenlooper launched OREC in 2015 under the Office of Economic Development and International Trade, appointing seasoned mountaineer Luis Benitez as the office's inaugural director.

"The outdoor industry is a significant part of our state's economy," says Benitez, noting that outdoor recreation generates $35 billion in consumer spending annually in Colorado. Tasked with the board goal of "economic development," Benitez recruits new outdoor companies to Colorado and supports existing businesses by giving them the tools they need to operate: cash, permits for land use and more.

DirectAlpine linked up with OREC at the ISPO trade show in Munich last year.

"We learned about the assistance they provide," Dimitrov says. 

DirectAlpine has been on Benitez's radar ever since.

"We really want to be the convener for the conversation about the outdoor industry, not just domestically, but internationally," he says.

Another big draw was Colorado's "overall attitude toward conservation and protecting public lands," according to Dimitrov, who describes sustainability as a core value at DirectAlpine. "We feel Colorado shares that mindset," Dimitrov says, adding, "We understand there is a certain dispute – Colorado vs. Utah – in the outdoor business community, and it definitely had an impact on our decision."

DirectAlpine is looking forward to expanding its footprint in Colorado in 2018. And it certainly isn't the only company benefiting from our state's sunshine and booming economy. There are other international companies – along with multinational domestic brands – that are "in the pipeline, wanting to be a part of our ecosystem," Benitez says.

Categories: Companies to Watch