VF Corporation, parent company to a number of outdoor brands including The North Face, Smartwool, and JanSport, announced on Monday it would be moving its global headquarters from Greensboro, North Carolina to metro Denver. According to the company, 800 “high-paying” jobs will accompany it.
“Relocating these brands along with select VF leaders at a shared headquarters at the base of the Rocky Mountains will better enable us to collaborate across brands and functions, unlock innovation and business opportunities, attract and retain talent, and connect with our consumers,” the company said in a statement.
In a missed opportunity to corner the jean ski onesie market, VF Corporation will keep its denim brands separate from the apparel and footwear holdings now bound for the Mile High City.
The move will no doubt be well received by outdoorsy Denverites hoping to land a job in the outdoor lifestyle industry. It may be a result of the state’s outwardly friendly posture toward the outdoor industry. But even this Midwest transplant to the Denver-area has to wonder if these jobs may have served some other developing adventure community better.
Many are unhappy in Steamboat Springs, which will lose 70 jobs when Smartwool’s headquarters relocates to downtown Denver, a city already grappling with issues surrounding sustainable growth and affordable housing. If, god forbid, Amazon chooses the city as the surprise winner from its shortlist to land that company’s second HQ, it could make the population influx of the last decade or so look like a wagon train.
I have to wonder, how many VF Corp brands could support quality careers in smaller mountain towns if the company was comfortable with a more decentralized approach? Call it business naivete, I am a ski bum at heart after all, but this city slicker is willing to spread some of the job love around.