Gerry (company)

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Gerry (Outdoor gear and clothing) logo

Gerry is a brand of outdoor sports clothing and gear, currently specializing in cold weather garments. The company was founded in 1946 in Denver, Colorado by Gerald "Gerry" Cunningham,[1] a veteran of the 10th Mountain Division.[2] Initially it was a mail order business providing lightweight equipment for mountaineers. In 1947 Cunningham developed the triangular carabiner,[1] the first in the modern style.[3] In 1951 he invented the drawstring clamp or cord lock.[1] In 1953 Gerry tents were used in the first successful Everest expedition.[1][3]

In 1958 Gerry opened the first of its retail stores, in Boulder.[1] In 1959 Cunningham invented the Gerry Kiddie Carrier; it was patented in 1963.[1] The company Gerry Designs, Inc. was spun off with Meg Hansson in 1960 to market the carrier to a wider audience. Nearly a million babies were toted in the carriers.[4]

In 1959 the company created a very compact survival suit for the US Air Force.[1] The seven piece suit was made of nylon and goose down and came vacuum packed in a small box. It was used in jets and space capsules. The coat converted into a sleeping bag.[5] Gerry expanded into outerwear and produced some of the first lightweight down jackets.[1] In 1963 the company supplied ultra lightweight gear for the first American ascent of Everest.[1] For the 1964 Winter Olympics the Olympic Committee wore Gerry ski coats.[1]

In 1971 Cunningham resigned from the company, saying it was "too big and no fun".[4] In 1973 he was elected to the Sporting Goods Industry Hall of Fame. At that time Gerry was a division of Outdoor Sports Industries.[6] Through 1980, the company offered a collection of innovative and brightly-colored down garments, which sold well worldwide. But within a few years the company's products largely disappeared from the retail market.

Later the Gerry brand was owned by the Amerex Group Inc., a New York based privately owned clothing manufacturer which owned several brands.[7] In 2002, Amerex created the Gerry website [8] and announced a number of sponsorship programs.[9]

Cunningham died May 15, 2010 at his home in Patagonia, Arizona (born February 17, 1922).[10]

In 2010, the Gerry brand was bought by Studio Ray, of New York City which revamped the catalog, which included their classic outerwear and accessories.[1] In Fall 2012, Gerry began to be sold at retailers, including Macy's, Dillard's, and The Sports Authority. Their lightweight jackets are also sold seasonally in Costco stores. Gerry has its showroom in New York City.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Our Heritage". Gerry. Retrieved 9 June 2016. 
  2. ^ Meyers, Charlie (September 2007). "Tracking the 10th". Skiing Heritage Journal. 19 (3): 18. Retrieved 14 June 2016. 
  3. ^ a b Burmon, Andrew. "The Outfitter's Resurrection". Men's Journal. Retrieved 9 June 2016. 
  4. ^ a b Johnson, Julie (2010). "Obituary - Gerry Cunningham". Retrieved 10 June 2016. 
  5. ^ "Survival suit in small packet (Gerry Inc., Boulder, Colo.)". Popular Mechanics. 115 (2): 134. February 1961. 
  6. ^ "Sporting Goods Industry Hall of Fame Members" (PDF). National Sporting Goods Association. Retrieved 9 June 2016. 
  7. ^ Johnson, Bruce. "GERRY of Colorado: Perhaps the Original Gear Pioneer". History of Gear. Oregon Photos. Retrieved 10 June 2016. 
  8. ^ "Case Studies: Amerex Group". Business Edge. 2003. Archived from the original on 20 December 2003. 
  9. ^ "What's new". Gerry International. 4 September 2002. Archived from the original on 16 February 2006. 
  10. ^ "Obituary: Gerald "Gerry" Arthur Cunningham '45". Antioch College. Retrieved 9 June 2016. 

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