At the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics, Canada's athletes were the envy of the world, not just for their athletic prowess, but for their funky team uniforms. Their Roots-designed team jackets and poor-boy caps quickly became must-have fashion items for fans, foreign journalists and athletes.Why anyone in their right mind would chose Hudson’s Bay Company athletic wear over Roots? If there is one thing I know, its athletic wear. I have been forced to buy enough of it over the last 25 years. I have one Roots sweatshirt that has lasted for over 20 years. It might be a little frayed around the edges but there is certainly a few more years of wear in it. I have never bought any kind of clothes at the Bay or Zellers that can last 2 years; let alone 20. I might pay a bit more at Roots Canada but I get value for my money, plus style. Not to mention Roots Athletic wear just feels and looks damn good. Zellers is just not going to cut it and they sell cheap athletic stocks too.
Today, Roots co-founder Michael Budman is trying to figure out how and why Hudson's Bay Co., perhaps best known for its tried-and-true Hudson Bay blanket, beat out his company in its bid to outfit Canada's team -- not only for the 2006 Winter Games in Torino, Italy, but all the way through the 2012 Summer Games.
"Was I surprised [by Hudson's Bay's eight-year deal]? Yeah," said Mr. Budman, after HBC yesterday was named the official outfitter for the Canadian Olympic Committee with a winning bid of more than $100-million. "[I was surprised] because we were trying to get involved in the conversation [for a longer agreement] and we were always told, 'It can't be discussed.' "
Officials from both the Canadian Olympic Committee and the Vancouver organizing committee said HBC was picked from among 12 companies asked to submit bids when Roots's agreement with the COC expired last December.Making the final selection were representatives from the COC and the Vancouver organizing committee, although a merchandise expert was also consulted.
However, Mr. Budman remains mystified. "We were asked to bid on 2006 for the Canadian Olympic team in Torino," Mr. Budman said from his Toronto office. "We think we put in a phenomenal bid, but we weren't chosen, and we were not allowed to bid beyond 2006."
Dave Cobb, vice-president of communications for the Vancouver organizing committee, said the decision to negotiate a long-term agreement with HBC was a strategic one. The company will produce everything from parade wear to podium wear to toques, scarves, gloves and luggage, with all products sold nationally in the company's 550 department stores, including the Bay, Zellers and Home Outfitters.
Maybe Roots Canada didn’t get the memo on how to operate a business in Gaff-anda and so do not comprehend the full implications of giving to the Liberal party of Canada.
By the way, guess who is dressing the US Olympic Team on Parade for 2006?
(Tipped off by Neale News)