In 1989, local climbers Dave Lane and Jeremy Guard started making their own rock-climbing harnesses in their basements in North Vancouver.
Two years later, they changed the company name from Rock Solid to Arc’teryx — after the first reptile to develop feathers, which enabled it to fly. And the company did indeed take flight.
Today, Arc’teryx is one of the elite manufacturers of high-end outerwear in the world, with more than 500 products ranging from Gore-Tex ski and mountaineering jackets to down and synthetic insulation, backpacks, climbing harnesses and gloves.
The company is now owned by Amer, a Finnish company that also owns sports brands such as Wilson, Precor, Atomic, Salomon, Suunto, Nikita and Mavi. But Arc’teryx retains its headquarters in North Vancouver, and still does about 20 to 25 per cent of its manufacturing at its Burnaby plant. It employs about 500 people in the Lower Mainland.
The 2,100-sq.-ft. store is the third stand-alone Arc’teryx store in North America; there has been an Arc’teryx store in Montreal since 2006, and one opened last month at 4th and Pike in Seattle.
Arc’teryx media manager Jo Salomon said the company will still sell its lines in other stores, but it wanted to have a store “to showcase the full brand.”
“Because it’s just specifically an Arc’teryx store, it will also give our customers an opportunity to connect directly with us and the brand,” she said.
“They’ll get to see all the newest assortments, they’ll get to see probably a broader range of products than some of our small dealers can have.”
Arc’teryx products can be expensive — the Theta AR men’s jacket is $600. But the company anticipates having a solid customer base because of its local legacy.
“Basically we make, design and manufacture products for core users,” Salomon explains.
“So we’re always designing a product for an alpinist/ice climber/mountaineer, sort of the pinnacle of the top of the sport. We make the very best pieces possible for those athletes, and that transcends down into pieces for everybody else as well.”
To kick off the new store, Arc’teryx is holding scavenger hunts in Vancouver, Burnaby, Squamish and Whistler.
“We will be planting an Arc-teryx chalk bag in a hidden spot, and inside the bag is a gift certificate for $400 redeemable at the new brand store,” said Salomon. “We are sending out clues via our social media channel (on Facebook) to everybody in the area.”
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