Bellevue, WA - It is 14 degrees inside the Eddie Bauer ice box, built to give customers an authentic way to test gear in sub-zero temperatures. I find myself standing beside the company’s President and CEO Mike Egeck. He has spent the past four years guiding the company forward, by keeping an eye on the past.
“Eddie Bauer has an amazing heritage,” says Egeck. “We invented the down jacket. We put the first Americans on Mount Everest before the North Face and Patagonia were even founded. But at some point the brand got off track and started to look like an outdoor version of The Gap. So five years ago we rededicated ourselves to getting back to the ideas and ideals of our founder."
It was Eddie Bauer who actually came up with the ice box concept.
“He would have his associates and his employees actually test product overnight in meat lockers downtown,” says Egeck.
Today's Eddie Bauer has 34 professional guides and athletes who test and develop their product. Legendary Mountain climbers like Ed Viesturs and Melissa Arnot and back country skiers like Lynsey Dyer.
“So it's really outdoor professional gear designed and developed by outdoor professionals,” says Egeck.
The result? Eddie Bauer's performance product has grown from 10% of sales to more than 50. Fighting cold...has been a great way to heat up business.
“The whole thing about cold weather is it comes quickly,” says Egeck. “So we encourage everybody to get out and buy their outerwear before it's cold.”
You can try the ice box at the Eddie Bauer flagship store in Bellevue Square.