Mervin Manufacturing, local stalwarts of the premiere skate, snow and surf industry, made recent cuts to its work force in a restructuring of the business.
Pete Saari, co-founder of the Carlsborg factory-based company, confirmed that they restructured and cut 20 percent of their staff in late March after shifting from a public to a private business model in November 2013.
Employees estimate the loss at more than 20 staffers who were mostly weekend employees of the snowboard division. Of Mervin Manufacturing’s current 120-plus staff, a majority are full-time and year-round.
“As part of a larger restructuring initiated by our return to a privately held business model we have renewed our commitment to a healthy build-to-order-manufacturing strategy,” Saari said. “An unfortunate result of this was a one-time adjustment to our staffing in our Carlsborg manufacturing facility.”
Quiksilver, Inc. sold Mervin Manufacturing after 16 years late last year to Altamont Capital Partners of Palo Alto, Calif. Mervin continues to manufacture products in Carlsborg for their Lib Tech, GNU and Bent Metal lines along with Roxy through a licensing agreement with Quiksilver.
Altamont also bought DAKINE, a Hood River, Ore. based company who specializes in accessories for surfing, skiing, skating and more, in July 2013 from Billabong.
Sequim staffers were told they were laid off on March 30 but allowed to continue working through the day.
Saari said they did everything they could to transfer employees into weekday shifts.
“It was a very challenging decision for us as we put a lot of energy into each member our crew and value their dedication and efforts to build great boards,” Saari said.
“We have had some success and grown over the years but we are still a very family style business. We remain absolutely committed to manufacturing in the U.S. and Sequim/ Carlsborg and are working on our cross seasonal business of surf and skate which we have been adding staff during this same time period.”
Bumps and bruises
Saari said in Mervin’s 30-plus years they’ve weathered many ups and downs in the snowboard market since he started the company with Mike Olson in 1977.
“We have had to make some challenging adjustments over the years and do everything in our power to provide stable, year-round employment in what has traditionally been a very seasonal business,” he said.
Saari said they’ve seen the snowboard and ski markets remain flat or down the past decade but they’ve built market share through technological innovations and branding. He expects growth in their products over the next five years.
“We have several significant new projects in the works and are aggressively developing our counter-seasonal businesses of surf, skate and soft goods,” Saari said. “We are very excited and optimistic about our future growth opportunities.”
Some of Mervin’s recent successes include sponsorships of two gold medal Sochi 2014 Winter Games athletes Jamie Anderson in snowboard slope style and Kaitlyn Ferrington in snowboard half pipe.
Saari said they were using Mervin’s Magne-traction serrated edge technology and Banana Tech rocker camber designs.
Mervin also continues to develop its tech surf program under Olson in Carlsborg.
For more information on Mervin Manufacturing, visit www.mervin.com.