The Burton Corporation made snowboards before boardsports became extreme. The company, doing business as Burton Snowboards, is the world's leading snowboard manufacturer. It also makes a growing lineup of men's, women's, and youth snowboarding apparel, eyewear, boots, bindings, and packs under its namesake, as well as the AK, Anon, and RED brands. The company operates through a network of about 10 retail shops and factory outlets in the US, Austria, and Japan. It also sells gear through sporting goods stores and online retailers, such as Altrec.com and Snow & Rock Sports. Taking to the beach, Burton owns surfboard maker Channel Island Surfboards, whose goods are available at surf shops worldwide.
Boardsports can be played worldwide. Although a relatively new segment of the sporting goods industry, Burton's offerings have gained a following in the US, Canada, France, the UK, Norway, Switzerland, Australia, and New Zealand, countries where economic growth and tourism development is more mature.
The popularity of boardsports has soared, fueled by broad media coverage of its professional events and colorful competitors. Burton owns and runs five of the largest snowboard events in the world: the US Open, Canadian Open, European Open, Australian Open, and the Asian Open. Increased equipment accessibility and affordability has also won new participants to the sport, particularly the youth culture.
Nonetheless a lingering economic downturn, forced Burton in 2012 to sell its skateboards supplier DNA Distribution to Rob Dyrdek, a professional skateboarder and owner of Drydek Enterprises. The move is part of Burton's strategy to focus on its snow business. Concurrently, Burton has trimmed expenses, such as sales meetings, travel plans, and new hires, and in 2010 it moved its premium snowboard production operations from Vermont to Austria.
Burton strategically aims to spur sales in part by expanding its snowboarding offerings for younger kids. The company in 2012 launched a lineup of smaller gear with graphics that appeal to children. Targeting demand outside the sport, Burton teamed up with adidas to design a co-branded line of streetwear-inspired cold-weather clothing and shoes for men. The limited-edition collection launched in late 2010 at adidas Originals and Burton flagship stores. Burton has also turned to marketing through a mobile app that engages users by offering to push notifications of fresh snowfall alerts.
Burton is owned by Chairman Jake Burton Carpenter and his wife, Donna, snowboarding enthusiasts who founded the company in 1977. – less