Columbia Sportswear

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Columbia Sportswear Company

Legal form Incorporated
ISIN US1985161066
Foundation 1938
Seat Portland, UnitedStatesVereinigte Staaten United States
Management Timothy P. Boyle, CEO
Number of employees 6511[1]
Sales USD 2.802 billion[1]
Industry Clothing, Sportswear, Outdoor, Trailrunning, Yoga, Fitness
Status: 31 December 2019

Headquarters in Washington County (Oregon)

Flagship store in Portland

Columbia Sportswear is an American sportswear manufacturer founded in 1938. Columbia is known for outdoor clothing and ski fashion.

In 2018, Columbia reported record sales of $2.80 billion. Today, Columbia employs more around 6500 people worldwide. The products are distributed in 100 states through more than 13,000 retailers.[2]


The company’s history began with the Jewish textile manufacturer Paul Lamfrom, who recognized the Nazis’ plans early on and fled Germany in 1937. He gave up his company in Augsburg, Germany’s largest shirt factory at the time, and fled with his family to Portland, Oregon.

There, Paul and Marie Lamfrom founded Columbia Sportswear in 1938 as the Columbia Hat Company. The small family business initially only produced hats. The nearby Columbia River was the inspiration for the company name. Problems with suppliers were eventually responsible for the company switching to the production of fashion goods up to fishing vests, shirts – and everything that was available in the 1940s as “outdoor clothing”.

Ten years later, Paul and Marie Lamfrom’s daughter, Augsburg native Gertrude “Gert” Boyle (1924-2019), took over the company and held the chief position with her husband, Neal. Neal died in 1970, leaving Gert and Neal’s son, Tim Boyle, to help run the company. The latter saved Columbia Sportswear from imminent bankruptcy. Various novel features in Columbia’s fashion provided an extreme boost and growth to the factory.

In the meantime, the renowned brands Sorel, Mountain Hardwear, Pacific Trail and Montrail also belong to the group.

Commitment to cycling

The company sponsored the cycling team Team Columbia, which was formed from Team Telekom (Team T-Mobile since 2003). Columbia Sportswear began the sponsorship on July 5, 2008, with the team’s start in the 2008 Tour de France; it was initially for three years. Both the men’s and women’s teams were sponsored.[3] Since January 1, 2011, the team has been called HTC-Highroad, as Columbia ended its sponsorship.[4]

Web links

Commons: Columbia Sportswear Company– Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual references

  1. a b 2018 Form 10-K Report(en,pdf) Retrieved March 2, 2019.
  2. about us(Memento of 14 September 2008 in the Internet Archive) – Official Homepage
  3. New sponsor: High Road becomes “Team Columbia” – Bike Net
  4. Sponsor Columbia exits at end of season, retrieved 7 October 2010.