The de facto publication of all things business in the province has written about KORE, Canada’s First Craft Outdoor Gear Alliance.

BC Business Magazine has featured the Kootenay Outdoor Recreational Enterprise Initiative in its July/August 2021 issue in a story entitled, “Adventureland — Can the Kootenays become a hub for outdoor gear designers and makers? Nonprofit KORE is angling to make that happen.”

Written by journalist Andrew Findlay, the two-page article starts by interviewing Nelson, BC-based Cam Shute, a gear designer and engineer, who worked with Vancouver-based company G3 for 18 years before starting his own business, Dark Horse Innovations, in late 2019. Soon after going out on his own, Shute (seen in the feature photo above) became a member of KORE, one of over 30 Kootenay businesses in the gear design and boutique manufacturing industries. Other companies and makers featured in the article include clothing designer Carolyn Campos, also in Nelson, and PJ Hunton, senior design engineer for Norco Bicycles.

The story also describes how KORE came to be as an initiative through interviews with project manager Kevin Pennock. “We wanted to change the narrative of small Kootenay communities as resource-dependent towns and show that they are places where innovation and entrepreneurship in the outdoor sector is happening,” he’s quoted as saying. “I see outdoor manufacturing as a natural fit for creating lasting jobs and prosperity…In five years, we’d like to have 60 brands and 200 people working in the sector.”

Findlay writes that “KORE is the fruit of several years of back-of-the-napkin brainstorming between Pennock and US-born Matt Mosteller, senior VP of marketing, sales and resort experience for Resorts of the Canadian Rockies” who were inspired by similar efforts south of the border, such as the Outdoor Gear Builders (OGB) of Western North Carolina. What began eight years ago with only nine members, OGB now has more than 80 businesses under its umbrella and together they employ almost 1,100 people. It’s based in Asheville, which used to be a hub of heavy industry but now embraces all things outdoor recreation.

The article also features Kimberley mayor Don McCormick who points out that his community shift from forestry and mining to tourism but Covid took its toll on that industry. “We need to look beyond tourism to create some economic diversity and resiliency,” McCormick says in the piece. “I see outdoor manufacturing as a natural fit for creating lasting jobs and prosperity.”

To read the BC Business Magazine article in its entirety, visit its website here.

To learn more about the gear manufacturers represented by KORE, visit the Makers section.