Hundreds of furloughed retail associates are back to work at Columbia Sportswear stores.
The Portland, Ore.-based company announced today that it has opened up 30 of its locations in 10 states across the country, bringing back more than 250 of its workers. The move comes a week after the “successful” reopening of a Columbia-branded store in Nebraska amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“We are excited to be opening our stores, helping our consumers gear up to head outdoors and welcoming our retail employees back to work,” chairman, president and CEO Tim Boyle said in a statement. “I want to thank our distribution center and call center employees who came to work every day under difficult circumstances. We could not have kept our online business working without them.”
The apparel and footwear retailer — parent to Sorel and Mountain Hardwear — expects to continue unlocking the doors to more outposts in the coming months based on state and local guidelines. At its reopened stores, associates will be required to wear face masks, while cashiers will have the added protection of gloves. Layouts will also be adjusted to allow for social distancing, and the restocking of clothes tried on in fitting rooms will be delayed for 24 hours.
As part of its COVID-19 relief efforts, the company is also preparing to launch a charity campaign to aid the communities where it operates. It has already donated outdoor clothing to frontline workers at Providence Health and other select health-care organizations in 10 states and the District of Columbia. (Separately, Boyle and his wife contributed $2 million to the Providence Heart Institute in Oregon.)
“We still have a long way to go with COVID-19,” Boyle added. “Opening stores, enjoying the great outdoors and helping each other shows there is light at the end of the tunnel and that we are truly tougher together.”