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You’ve heard of “Patagucci”? That’s outdoorsy jargon for Patagonia, maker of coveted, high-priced apparel and outerwear. That brand has long operated a retail store in LoDo, but an even more rarified competitor is moving into the Denver shopping scene: Arc’teryx.
The Canadian company (based in Vancouver, BC) just opened a 3,500-square-foot brick-and-mortar storefront on Columbine Street in Cherry Creek. The location makes sense, given Arc’teryx’s price and status within the outdoor world. Every product it introduces seems to set a new bar—for cost, and often, performance. When the company debuted its first gloves in 2010, they sold for $275—about $175 more than existing top-of-the-line models. Last year’s foray into hiking boots started at $320. And the Macai, a men’s insulated ski jacket, sells for $899. Yep, just a few ticks off a cool grand.
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But the buyers aren’t blinking, in part because of Arc’teryx’s reputation for quality. Its outerwear designers are total geeks about fit and fabric, so even the simplest jackets often look and perform better than the rest of the pack. And its winter 2015–16 gloves use a construction method that individually maps each finger for superb dexterity and ease of movement—so they’re warm and dry, but don’t feel bulky.
Arc’teryx designers were among those assembled at the September 24 VIP launch party, which also included sponsored Arc’teryx athlete Jonathan Siegrist (who came of age on climbs in Boulder Canyon and Clear Creek). Proceeds from a silent auction (including photographs from Colorado-based Andy Mann and Keith Ladzinski) befitted the Colorado Mountain Club. The store opened to the public on September 26, which featured the usual giveaways, as well as something special: sewing demonstrations to illustrate Arc’teryx’s attention to detail.
Such opportunities for brand promotion are a big reason why the company is opening retail locations. And Denver, with its huge population of skiers, hikers, climbers, and bikers (Arc’teryx makes spiffy stuff for them too), is an obvious candidate for its hit list. Denver is home to the sixth U.S. Arc’teryx store, with 10 North American outlets expected by the end of this year. “Denver is a city with a highly active outdoor community who climb and ski in the Rockies,” says Adam David Ketcheson, Arc’teryx’s vice presdient of marketing and business-to-consumer. “We’re excited to get the chance to interact directly with Denver consumers through our new retail experience.”