Old Friends and New in Southwest Colorado

April 27, 2006

Related Topics: On The Road

Sara and I prepped the RV last night for an early campsite push-off. Just like an early morning departure for a day on the road or overnight camping trip, we follow a jumbled routine of aligning refrigerator inhabitants in military formation, clamping cupboard doors to metal clasps, locking windows, pocket doors and the shower door with a small black clip. We all have our routines to get out the door each day. Our routine keeps everything from getting out the doors and keeps us safely locked down while traversing along unknown, well traveled highways.

Everyone needs a road trip at some point in life. Each leg of our journey introduces us to new and old friend and allows us the pleasure of experiencing many two-lane highways with the most incredible vistas. About two hours into the drive, lush spring green valleys led to climbing, red and orange rock formations unlike those I’ve wandered in Southern Utah. Some followed a current of waves while others wandered the rocky hills like friendly dwarfs.

By mid-day, the traveling caravan arrived in Cortez to visit Tom Barney (CEO of Osprey Packs) and our friends from Osprey Packs. Although a company with much more history than PROBAR®, we share many similarities and passion for what we do. As a note to those of you starting or running businesses – it really helps to have a few mentors or friends willing to point you in the right direction. I’ve had many. My first month as GM for PROBAR®, the CEO of our company suggested I call a former classmate of his from business school. Enter Tom Barney. With no history in the outdoor industry and a very new product, Tom made an informal introduction to the camping buyer at REI. He didn’t broker a deal between PROBAR® and REI, but did drop off a few bars during an appointment. Sometimes, that’s all it takes. Of course, it wasn’t a match made it heaven and we didn’t start selling to REI until we modified our packaging and over a year had past.

Since then, Tom has become a good friend and associate I enjoy very much. We sat around his dinner table with his family one night, laughed with our children during a local production at the local theater and visited Backcountry Experience, one of Durango’s top outdoor gear outfitters, to drop off a few bars together during another informal sales call.

Hopefully, I’ll find opportunities to complete the circle for other individuals and new companies like Tom did for PROBAR®.

Thanks for the great weekend away from the mobile circus, Tom and Anne!

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