Ride, Inc. is one of America’s largest snowboard companies with their headquarters located in Preston, Washington. They are a leading producer, manufacturer and dealer of snowboards as well as apparel and accessories. Over the years Ride, Inc. has acquired companies like 5150, Liquid, Preston and SMP clothing and has branched out with other brand names such as Cappel. They are known for their technological initiative, performance-oriented products and reliable snowboarding equipment.
Ride, Inc. first appeared on the scene during the 1992-1993 winter season. In September of 1992 Roger Madison, Tim Pogue and James Salter had come together to establish Ride Snowboards. Roger was the one who originally came up with the idea. He used to be a top executive at AEI (Audio Environments, Inc.) Music Network. He graduated from Harvard’s School of Business and owned a small business, SonnenBraune, which made indoor tanning equipment.
James Salter also owned a business, C.A.S. Sports Agency Inc., which was a sporting goods store and he was president of Kemper Snowboards from 1987 to 1990. They decided to bring in one more man, the operations manager for Kemper Snowboards, Tim Pogue. They knew he would be a good addition because he had an excellent marketing ability. In order to help popularize Ride Snowboards quickly, Tim Pogue hired a team of professional snowboarders to help market and design their first line of snowboards. From the beginning, Ride wanted to aim their products towards the younger extreme sports participants. The link that Ride had with these younger people helped on the path to becoming a permanent corporation.
The three leaders of Ride had a plan of operation for the upcoming winter season, but the company was still unable to meet the consumer demand. Instead of saturating the market with their brand of snowboards they decided it would be better to only distribute to certain dealers. They tried to present Ride Snowboards as a first class product. Eventually, they purposefully slowed down distribution of their product to make them more desirable. During the last three months of the first year of operation of Ride Snowboards had pulled in $208,000 in sales.
In 1993, the second year of the company’s operation, the owners wanted to expand their reach. They started to create a branch in Austria that was contracted by Pale Ski & Sports GmbH. The European side of business operated as Cappel. By the end of the second year sales jumped up to $5.9 million, with a net gain of $414,000.
Due to the growing popularity of the snowboarding industry in 1993, tens of millions of dollars were being spent on snowboard gear and clothing. Within a year the number of people participating in snowboarding went from 1.2 million, to 3 million.
Even though the sport was growing, Ride was going downhill. The owners had to pick one of two options. They could either choose to have completely private placement or they could go public. So in 1994 they decided to go public, giving them the distinction of the being the first publicly traded snowboard exclusive stock. Within a few months their initial public offering had risen by $6 million. In 1994 and 1995 Ride began to start acquiring other snowboarding and clothing stores. They started with Salter’s old company, C.A.S. Sports. There was also a new brand of snowboards named “Liquid” in which they sold their products for less as well as delivered them to all large sporting goods stores.
Ride again rose in sales from $5.9 million to $25.3 million. They then acquired Thermal Snowboards which they used as a manufacturing company and renamed it to Ride Manufacturing, Inc. They also bought 5150 Snowboards, Inc. and incorporated their brand into the Ride lines. Eventually they branched out into surfing and skateboarding clothes when they bought SMP Clothing. After acquiring all of these companies, by the end of the year, Ride had pulled in $74.8 million.
Salter thought that it would be a good idea to expand their business to the Japanese market. Once they began that campaign, the market soon became flooded with snowboards, leaving Ride with a large amount of inventory that could not be sold. The company continued to have problems throughout 1995. Salter had said that the snowboard market would grow exponentially, but it ended up growing only about half as much as he had predicted. This caused investors as well as the rest of the financial community to back away. Within a month, Ride’s stock had dropped by 50 percent.
Robert Hall, who used to be an executive in the ski industry, was brought in as chief executive officer. Hall was able to reestablish the organization into a more efficient business. He also sold Salter back his small business, C.A.S. Sports. The same month that Hall was brought in, Tim Pogue decided to leave the company. Even after Hall did all he could to try to bring the company back on track they still posted a $5.5 million loss for 1996. This was mostly due to the failed Japan expansion.
Today, Ride Snowboards sponsors many public events such as the Ride Shake Down which has been held every year since 2002, the Jib Classic, 2008s Rail Jam, and the 2006 Esurance Iced Air event. Members of the Ride Snowboard team include international professionals such as Mikey LeBlanc, Hana Beaman, J.J. Thomas, and Takashi Nishida, National pros, Abby Lockhart, Nick Hyne, and Reto Kestenholtz. Ride has also taken on some rookies that include Austin Hironaka, Corey Noble and Laurie Currier.
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