Each day, leading outdoor retailer REI offers top gear and apparel from more than 1,300 established and up-and-coming brands. To recognize those valued partners, REI named its 2013 Vendor Partner of the Year awards during the Outdoor Retailer Winter Market trade show. Kühl was presented with the annual Vendor Partner of the Year award, while Osprey Packs, Rossignol and Darn Tough Vermont were named divisional winners.
The Vendor Partner of the Year awards program was established by REI in 1993. Each year, companies are nominated by the co-op's three merchandising divisions—camp/travel, actionsports and outdoorwear—for their efforts to build a strategic and successful relationship focused on meeting member and customer needs, and to bring quality, innovation, outdoor stewardship and performance to the industry. REI retail employees vote on the slate of nominees.
"Kühl has completely redefined success and partnership in the sportswear business," says Susan Viscon, vice president REI Merchandising. "Every decision is principle-based, from sourcing and distribution to investment and partnership with REI. Their innate ability to differentiate in a very crowded space delivers above-market performance year after year."
Based in Salt Lake City and the heart of the Rocky Mountains, Kühl is a product-driven company combining exclusive fabrics and 3D engineering for timeless style and comfort. With a motto of Born in the Mountains, Kühl is for "independent, free thinking, Rebels, Renegades and Outlaws™." From shirts and sweaters, to pants and jackets for men and women, the company offers the finest designs and tailoring to suit peoples' active sports and leisure time.
The divisional vendor partner award recipients are:
Camp/Travel division: Osprey Packs (Cortez, Colo.)
Osprey has long set the standard for creating innovative, high quality gear carrying equipment. Its location near the rugged San Juan Mountains and on the edge of desert canyon country provides a constant inspiration and a superb testing ground for its products.
The collection includes packs and bags designed to help adventurers enjoy their outdoor, biking and travel pursuits and reflects the company's commitment to protect the wild places its customers love to explore. REI recognized Osprey in 2007 as its overall Vendor Partner of the Year, and in 2006, 2008, 2010 and 2012 as the camp/travel division recipient.