ALAMEDA, Calif. (KTVU) - The North Face, an iconic, worldwide brand, is beginning to close its doors to leave the Bay Area by 2020, putting some 650 local jobs at risk on its home island of Alameda. Realistically, it was bound to happen, because it makes economic sense in the internet retailing age.
The iconic outdoor active wear maker was founded in San Leandro 42 years ago and has been headquartered in Alameda for the past eight years. No they’re is picking up their stakes and moving to Denver.
"They're a great company. It's been wonderful to have them here. They support our runs, non-profits," said Alameda Mayor Trish Herrera Spencer.
But, said the Mayor, clothing makers of all sorts are under intense pressure from Amazon and other online retailers. "I'm not surprised that they're consolidating, as I understand, with a unit that they already have," said the Mayor.
In a pre-recorded, corporate video, the CEO of the company's conglomerate owner, VF Corporation, is relocating several of its brands to the Mile High City.
"We believe grouping our outdoor brands together in the Denver area will help us to unlock collaboration across brands and functions, attract and retain talent, and better connect with consumers resulting in accelerated innovation," said VF Corporation CEO Steve Rendle.
Besides the corporate statement, one thing is crystal clear: The Bay Area is a lot more expensive of a place to live than the Denver area is. According to Bestplaces.net, a salary of $100,000 in Denver, Colorado buys what $214,000 buys here. Median Home Cost is 215 percent more expensive in San Francisco. Sales Taxes are 1 percent lower in Denver and Income taxes are 3.25% lower.
One other thing: Denver certainly made it worth the company's while. Parent company VF received $27 million in tax incentives from the state of Colorado, the second largest such package in state history. State information says there will be 800 people at the new headquarters with an average salary of about $186,000.
"To me, we were lucky to have them here as long as we did," said Alameda's Mayor.
With the Bay Area's booming economy, the facility should have little trouble finding new tenants for a modern, five-building facility, here on the Bay, with a fabulous view of the city.