Oregon is home to some of the world’s most recognized brands in active goods and apparel – some 800 firms, total. The Athletic and Outdoor Gear and Apparel Industry includes companies involved with the production and sales of footwear, apparel and gear associated with all kinds of indoor and outdoor sports such as bicycling, hiking, skiing, camping, sailing, snow and sandboarding and windsurfing. Industry growth in the past couple decades has been propelled by the increasing popularity of active lifestyles and outdoor recreation and the innovation of new fabrics and technologies. This industry cluster employs more than 17,000 Oregonians with an annual payroll of $1.2 billion.
Many outdoor gear firms are regionally concentrated around a specific geography, such as the Columbia Gorge windsurfing market. Florence is beginning to capitalize on its year-round access to the Oregon Coast, the Siuslaw River and nearby sand dunes as resources that aren’t available everywhere in Oregon. These assets make them home to the one of the few sandboard companies in the world. With immediate access to lakes, rivers and forests, Florence can continue to expand this industry.