New Outdoor Gear Maker Collective Launches in BC’s Kootenay Region

KORE brings together dozens of outdoor gear makers and “Rec-Tech” product designers from BC’s famed Kootenay region to create Canada’s first craft outdoor industry cluster.

The Kootenay Outdoor Recreation Enterprise (KORE) has officially launched, bringing together a collective of dozens of outdoor product gear makers and designers to create an industry cluster aimed to build and grow a thriving outdoor gear manufacturing sector. It’s what the group is calling, “the craft gear from here.”

The KORE initiative has brought together a group of diverse and talented outdoor product gear makers and designers currently operating in BC’s iconic Kootenay Region. Outdoor products range from skis, snowboards, bikes, technical apparel, fishing lures, ultralight backpacks and tents, and technical climbing gear. KORE’s intent is to support the collective with technology and business resources to grow their businesses. At the same time, KORE aims to attract additional companies outside the Kootenays to relocate and join this unique and talented outdoor product manufacturing and design sector.

“This is a first in Canada. Kimberley has all the natural ingredients- passionate people, incredible access to outdoor recreation right at your doorstep and proximity to airport,” says Matt Mosteller, the society’s chair. “Outdoor Industry is a large and growing segment of the economy. Kimberley is well suited to thrive in this space. We see this as part of continued efforts to support healthy community, stronger economy and happy people. The outdoors is a way of life here. Kimberley is a great place to be.”

The concept was developed over the last two years by the Kootenay Outdoor Recreation Society, founded by Matt Mosteller, Don McCormick, P.J. Hunton, Patrick Bates, and Kevin Pennock, all from Kimberley, BC. The Kimberley Community Development Society (KCDS) is the administrative organization for the project.

“Economic development initiatives work when you take full advantage of natural assets. We are successfully driving tourism and local lifestyle with what Kimberley has to offer, so this initiative is a natural extension for us. I am very excited about the possibilities.” — Don McCormick, Mayor, Kimberley, BC

The KORE Initiative was successful in receiving funding from the 6th intake of the Rural Dividend Fund, which was announced in June 2020 to support the start-up and formal development of the project. The Kootenay Outdoor Recreation Society and KCDS gratefully acknowledge the financial support from the Province of British Columbia.

As part of the KORE Initiative, the College of the Rockies will be conducting an industry scan with KORE in their efforts to develop and strengthen the outdoor industry in the Kootenay region. Collaboration with industry partners like KORE is a key component of College of the Rockies’ mission to transform lives and enrich communities through the power of education. This partnership aims to undertake an industry scan in order to better understand current outdoor industry activity in the region and to get a sense of the labour market outlook and requirements in relation to outdoor equipment design and manufacturing.