The North Face
Mantra: Never Stop Exploring
|Headquarters||Alameda, California, United States|
|Area served||North America, South America, Europe & Asia Pacific|
|Products||Clothing, outdoor gear|
The North Face brand was established in 1968 in San Francisco. Douglas Tompkins and Kenneth "Hap" Klopp had founded an equipment retail store in 1966 that eventually acquired the name The North Face. This name was chosen because the north face of a mountain in the northern hemisphere is generally the most difficult face to climb.The store was located just off the corner of Broadway and Columbus, next door to the notorious Condor Club. The Grateful Dead played music at their opening celebration in October 1966. For a time the store offered only highly selected merchandize targeted to climbers and backpackers. By the 1980s, skiwear was added to the line of products, and eventually camping equipment was added as well. The North Face is now a wholly owned subsidiary of the VF Corporation.
As of 2012, The North Face is co-located in Alameda, California, with its corporate sibling, JanSport. JanSport, in 2007, was the world's largest backpack maker and together, JanSport and The North Face manufactured nearly half of all small backpacks sold in the United States.
The North Face's logo designed by California designer David Alcorn in 1971, consists of a slightly skewed quarter-circle with two lines running within it. This image is an interpretation of Half Dome, a massive granitic monolith in Yosemite National Park, viewed from the west, with the sheer north (or northwest) face of Half Dome to the left.
The North Face maintains strong links with the outdoor community through sponsoring athletes, including Lizzy Hawker, winner of the Ultra Trail Tour du Mont Blanc in 2005, 2008 and 2010.
Rise in popularity
In the late 1990s and early 2000s with the rise of wilderness chic, The North Face became a well-known brand and its popularity increased substantially. Due to the high demand for and the high prices of these products, a market developed for counterfeit The North Face goods. The massive counterfeiting has prompted the creation of a website with information for consumers intending to purchase North Face items online in 2004.
The North Face products are also targets for theft. In early 2005, a group of teenagers from Washington D.C. were arrested on charges including the armed robbery of specifically The North Face jackets from randomly picked students on the street.
In December 2008, The North Face filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri against The South Butt, its creator James A. Winkelmann, Jr., and a company which handled the marketing and manufacturing details for the company. In the legal action, The North Face alleged trademark infringement and sought injunctive relief. After the court ordered mediation in the case, the parties reached a closed settlement agreement on April 1, 2010; however, in October 2012, Winkelmann admitted in court that he and his father violated the settlement agreement with The North Face and agreed to pay $65,000, an amount that will be reduced by $1,000 for every month of compliance. 
In addition to selling through department stores and outdoor retailers, The North Face operates over 40 retail locations in the United States, 19 locations in the United Kingdom  and many others worldwide. The first corporately owned Canadian store was opened in October 2011 in Toronto, Ontario. 
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