About Columbia Sportswear
Founded in 1938, Columbia Sportswear Company has grown from a small family-owned hat distributor to one of the world's largest outerwear brands and the leading seller of ski-wear in the United States. Columbia's extensive product line includes a wide variety of outerwear, sportswear, rugged footwear and accessories. Columbia specializes in developing innovative products that are functional yet stylish and offer great value. Eighty-year-old matriarch Gert Boyle, Chairman of the Board, and her son, Tim Boyle, President and CEO, lead the company.
Columbia's history starts with Gert's parents, Paul and Marie Lamfrom, when they fled Germany in 1937. They bought a small hat distributorship in Portland, Oregon, and named it Columbia Hat Company, after the river bordering the city. Soon frustrated by poor deliveries from suppliers, the Lamfroms decided to start manufacturing products themselves. In 1948, Gert married college sweetheart Neal Boyle, who joined the family business and later took the helm of the growing company. When Neal suddenly died of a heart attack in 1970, Gert enlisted help from Tim, then a college senior. After that, it wasn't long before business really started to take off. Columbia was one of the first companies to make jackets from waterproof/breathable fabric. They introduced the breakthrough technology called the Columbia Interchange System, in which a shell and liner combine for multiple wearing options. In the early 1980s, then 60-year-old Gert began her role as "Mother Boyle" in Columbia's successful and popular advertising campaign.
The company went public in 1998 and moved into a new era as a world leader in the active outdoor apparel industry. Today, Columbia Sportswear employs more than 1,800 people around the world and distributes and sells products in more than 50 countries and to more than 12,000 retailers internationally.