Last night I was lucky enough to get a peek at life inside the new Mountain Hardwear Headquarters in Richmond, CA during our Outdoor Industries Women's Coalition evening. Mountain Hardwear moved into part of the 517,000 square foot Ford Point complex less than two years ago. Built by Albert Kahn in 1930, this former Ford Motor assembly plant is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. This solar powered office is full of natural light, with floor to ceiling windows and numerous skylights, one of Kahn's architectural trademarks.
Mike Wallenfels, President of Mountain Hardwear, had some interesting facts to tell us about the Company. Mountain Hardwear currently sells more gear to women than they do men. Surprising? I'm not so sure. As one of the first outdoor companies to "get" that women are a separate and powerful consumer segment and don't just need pink men's gear, the Company has secured a loyal female following. Supposedly women's retailer Title 9, with only 13 physical stores nationwide, is the number 3 retailer for Mountain Hardwear.
Mountain Hardwear, 16 years old next week, was named one of Outside's 2009 Best Places To Work and I can see why. Employees can bring their dogs to work- over 30 dogs are resident in the building from day to day. The Company has a commuter rewards programs in place, keeps a rack of loaner bikes for staff to take to lunch and coolest of all, created a kayak launch into San Francisco Bay.
With an employee discount store on site, it would be too tempting not to grab the latest gear and head out to the mountains to try it out. I succumbed to the temptation with the
Mountain Hardwear Nitrous Hooded Down Jacket and the
Mountain Hardwear Barisian Softshell.
On November 21-22, Mountain Hardwear will host a huge factory sale at their Richmond office so get ready to stock up for ice and snow season!
Below are some pictures I took on our office tour. You can see the details of each picture over on Flickr.