Columbia Sportswear began as a small, family-owned
hat distributor. Present chairwoman Gert Boyle's
parents, Paul and Marie Lamfrom, fled Germany in
1937 and immediately bought a Portland hat distributorship.
They became the Columbia Hat Company, named for
the nearby Columbia River. Frustrations over suppliers
influenced the family to start manufacturing their
Ten years later, Gert married Neal Boyle, who became
the head of the company. In 1970, Neal died following
a heart attack. Gert and son Tim Boyle, then a University
of Oregon senior, took over the operations of Columbia,
rescuing it from near bankruptcy.
waterproof fabric that was also breathable. Additionally,
new jackets featured interchangeable shells and
liners. Multiple wearing options and fabric technology
fueled rapid sales growth.
Columbia Sportswear acquired footwear makerSorel
Corporation in 2000 and Mountain Hardwear in 2003.
In 2006, Columbia acquired the Pacific Trail, and
15, 2008, Columbia Sportswear announced
a three year sponsorship of the cycling team formerly
known as Team High Road and before that T-Mobile
and Team Telekom. The sponsorship began on July
5, 2008 with the start of the Tour de France. The
team's new name is "Team Columbia". The
sponsorship includes both the men's and women's