Columbia Sportswear

Coordinates: 45°31′46″N 122°49′31″W / 45.52938°N 122.82535°W / 45.52938; -122.82535
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Columbia Sportswear Company
Company typePublic
S&P 400 component
Russell 1000 Index component
Founded1938; 86 years ago (1938)
HeadquartersUnincorporated Washington County, Oregon (near Beaverton), United States (Portland, Oregon postal address)
45°31′46″N 122°49′31″W / 45.52938°N 122.82535°W / 45.52938; -122.82535
Number of locations
449 (December 2022) [1]
Key people
Timothy Boyle (president, chairman, & CEO)[2]
Jim Swanson (EVP & CFO)
ProductsOuterwear and sportswear
Mountain Hardwear
RevenueUS$3.4 billion (2022)
Number of employees
9,450 (Dec 2022) [3]
Columbia Sportswear retail store in Hong Kong

The Columbia Sportswear Company is an American company that manufactures and distributes outerwear, sportswear, and footwear, as well as headgear, camping equipment, ski apparel, and outerwear accessories.

It was founded in 1938 by Paul Lamfrom, the father of Gert Boyle. The company is headquartered in Cedar Mill, an unincorporated area in Washington County, Oregon, in the Portland metropolitan area near Beaverton.

Columbia's rapid sales growth was fueled by its jackets, which featured breathable waterproof fabric and interchangeable shells and liners.[4]


Columbia Sportswear began as a family-owned hat distributor. Former chairwoman Gert Boyle's parents, Paul and Marie Lamfrom, fled Nazi Germany in 1937 and immediately purchased a Portland hat distributorship. The company became the Columbia Hat Company, named for the nearby Columbia River. In 1948, Gert married Neal Boyle, who became the head of the company. Frustrations over suppliers influenced the family to start manufacturing their own products, and Columbia Hat Company became Columbia Sportswear Company in 1960.[5]

In 1970, Neal Boyle died following a heart attack. Gert and son Tim Boyle, then a University of Oregon senior, took over the operations of Columbia, rescuing it from bankruptcy.[6] Gert Boyle served as company president from 1970 until 1988 and additionally became chairman of its board of directors in 1983.[7] She remained chairman until her death in 2019.[8] Tim Boyle succeeded his mother as Columbia's president and CEO in 1988 and continues to hold the position in 2019.[9]

Columbia became a publicly traded company in 1998.[10][11] It acquired footwear maker Sorel in 2000 and Mountain Hardwear in 2003. In 2006, Columbia acquired the Pacific Trail[12] and Montrail brands,[10][13] and in 2014 they acquired Prana.

In 2001, the company moved its headquarters from Portland to a site in an unincorporated part of Washington County,[14] in the Cedar Mill area and just outside the Beaverton city limits. The site on NW Science Park Drive has a Portland mailing address, but is not in Portland. In 2007, City of Portland officials attempted to convince Columbia Sportswear to move back to Portland,[15] but the company ultimately rejected the idea due to the increased corporate tax burden such a move would entail and decided to expand its existing headquarters instead.[14]

In 2001, it was the largest American retailer of ski apparel based on gross revenue.[16]

On June 15, 2008, Columbia Sportswear announced a three-year sponsorship of the cycling team formerly known as Team High Road and before that T-Mobile and Team Telekom. The sponsorship began on July 5, 2008, with the start of the Tour de France. The team's name was "Team Columbia". The sponsorship included both the men's and women's teams, and ended at the end of 2010.[17]

On August 4, 2010, Columbia Sportswear Company signed an agreement to acquire OutDry Technologies S.r.l., which owns the intellectual property and other assets comprising the OutDry brand and related business, via a cash purchase from Nextec S.r.l., based near Milan, Italy. The transaction was expected to close during the third quarter of 2010, subject to customary closing conditions, and is not expected to have a material effect on the company's 2010 operating results.[18]

In March 2015, Bryan Timm was named president of the company, taking over that position from Tim Boyle, who remained CEO.[10] In May 2017 it was announced Timm would step down and the duties of president would revert to Tim Boyle.[19]

On November 3, 2019, chairwoman Gert Boyle died at the age of 95.[20] Tim Boyle was named as Acting Chairman of the company's board of directors.[2]

In October 2020, the company announced that alpaca wool would no longer be a part of their collections, including their other brands Prana, Mountain Hardwear and Sorel.[21]

In November 2023, Columbia Sportswear Company announced that Cory Long was appointed as President of its brand Sorel.[22][23]

Columbia logo on the Odysseus lunar lander

In February 2024, the Odysseus lunar lander used the Omni-Heat thermal reflective insulation technology produced by Columbia Sportswear.[24][25]


Columbia's flagship store in downtown Portland, Oregon

Columbia Sportswear distributes its products in more than 72 countries and 13,000 retailers. Columbia also operates its own chain of retail stores, including its flagship store located in downtown Portland, Oregon.

Financial information[edit]

As of November 17, 2022, the company's market capitalization is about $5.03 billion,[citation needed] with 2021 net revenue of $3.13 billion.[10]

As of 2018, 40% of Columbia's business came from abroad.[4]

In October 2023, Columbia Sportswear reported 3% of revenue growth as sales reached $985.7 million.[26][22]

Stock exchanges[edit]

Columbia Sportswear Company is publicly traded on NASDAQ with ticker symbol COLM.[27]

Trade and tariffs[edit]

The clothing business in the US is still largely subject to what remains of the Smoot–Hawley Tariff Act, passed in 1930. Since 2001, Columbia has paired its designers with teams of trade experts in a process the company calls "tariff engineering" in order to reach lower tariffs, taxes, or duties. For example, Columbia applies a very thin layer of fabric to the soles of its shoes since tariffs on fabric soles are lower than those on rubber soles; the fabric wears away within days.[4] For similar reasons, jackets are waterproofed and filled with at least 10% down.

Vietnam is Columbia's largest supplier, and 25% of the company's footwear originates in China.[4]

Columbia has operated in China since 2014 as Columbia Sportswear Commercial (Shanghai) Company as a joint venture with Swire Pacific Limited, reaching a total of 86 Chinese retail stores by 2017.[28] In 2018, Columbia announced it would buy out Swire's remaining 40% stake by 2019.[4][29]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ COLUMBIA SPORTSWEAR COMPANY | 2022 FORM 10-K (PDF), 23 February 2023, archived from the original (PDF) on 2023-03-26, retrieved 2023-03-25
  2. ^ a b "Tim Boyle to Serve as Acting Chairman of Columbia Sportswear Company's Board of Directors Following the Passing of Gert Boyle; Details Regarding Share Ownership" (Press release). Columbia Sportswear. November 5, 2019. Archived from the original on November 5, 2019. Retrieved November 5, 2019.
  3. ^ "Columbia Sportswear Company Profile". Craft. Archived from the original on March 28, 2020. Retrieved April 9, 2020.
  4. ^ a b c d e Tankersley, Jim (23 November 2018). "A Winter-Coat Heavyweight Gives Trump's Trade War the Cold Shoulder". The New York Times. Retrieved 24 November 2018.
  5. ^ "Columbia Milestones". Columbia Sportswear. Archived from the original on 2013-11-09. Retrieved 2009-11-28.
  6. ^ "Timothy Boyle". Forbes. Retrieved 2018-01-19.
  7. ^ Accettola, Anna (October 16, 2012). Wadhwani, R. Daniel (ed.). "Gertrude Boyle". Immigrant Entrepreneurship: German-American Business Biographies, 1720 to the Present. 5. German Historical Institute. Archived from the original on May 3, 2016. Retrieved November 3, 2019.
  8. ^ "Columbia Sportswear Company Announces the Passing of Gert Boyle" (Press release). Columbia Sportswear. November 3, 2019. Archived from the original on November 5, 2019. Retrieved November 5, 2019.
  9. ^ "Management Team" (Press release). Columbia Sportswear. 2019. Retrieved November 5, 2019.
  10. ^ a b c d Brettman, Allan (April 10, 2015). "Columbia charts its next billion dollars". The Oregonian. p. C1. Retrieved 2015-04-15.
  11. ^ Binole, Gina (April 3, 1998). "Columbia goes public in top-of-the-line style". Portland Business Journal. Retrieved 2009-11-28.
  12. ^ "Columbia Sportswear now owns Pacific Trail". Portland Business Journal. March 30, 2006. Retrieved 2009-11-28.
  13. ^ "Columbia Sportswear buys Montrail". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. January 27, 2006. Retrieved 2009-11-28.
  14. ^ a b Dworkin, Andy (August 30, 2007). "Columbia Sportswear staying put". The Oregonian. Retrieved 2009-11-28.
  15. ^ "Columbia's 'tough mother' squashes return rumor". Portland Business Journal. March 3, 2007. Retrieved 2009-11-28.
  16. ^ Senior, Jeanie (November 9, 2001). "Seamless warehouse is a marvel". Portland Tribune. Archived from the original on June 8, 2011. Retrieved 2015-04-15.
  17. ^ "Columbia Sportswear Announces Sponsorship" (Press release). Team Columbia & High Road Sports, Inc. June 15, 2008. Archived from the original on 2008-06-20. Retrieved 2008-06-17.
  18. ^ "Columbia Sportswear Company to Acquire OutDry Technologies S.r.l." (Press release). BUSINESS WIRE. August 4, 2010. Retrieved 2010-08-10.
  19. ^ "Columbia Sportswear Company's COO Bryan Timm steps down". 17 May 2017.
  20. ^ Duin, Steve (November 3, 2019). "Gert Boyle, longtime Columbia Sportswear chairwoman, dies at 95". The Oregonian. Retrieved November 3, 2019.
  21. ^ Chris Remington, "Columbia Sportswear bans alpaca fibre," Ecotextile News, 13 October 2020.
  22. ^ a b "Columbia Sportswear Company Hires Cory Long as President, SOREL Brand". Fashion United. Retrieved 6 December 2023.
  23. ^ "Columbia Sportswear accueille un nouveau président pour Sorel". Fashion Network. Retrieved 14 December 2023.
  24. ^ McCarthy, Connor (23 February 2024). "Columbia Sportswear celebrates historic moon landing". KPTV. Retrieved 23 February 2024.
  25. ^ Pearlman, Robert Z. (15 February 2024). "Lunar lining: Columbia coat tech insulates Intuitive Machines' newly launched moon lander". Retrieved 23 February 2024.
  26. ^ "Columbia Sportswear enregistre une croissance de 3% au troisième trimestre". Fashion Network. Retrieved 6 December 2023.
  27. ^ "COLM : Summary for Columbia Sportswear Company - Yahoo Finance". Retrieved 2018-01-19.
  28. ^ "Columbia Sportswear Company Announces Intention to Acquire Remaining Interest in China Joint Venture from Swire Resources Limited". Business Wire. 11 April 2018. Retrieved 25 November 2018.
  29. ^ "Columbia Sportswear to acquire rest of Chinese joint venture". Fashion Network. Retrieved 6 December 2023.

External links[edit]