Putting some new life in the Easton brand takes more than just engineering and better materials. There needs to be an element of
Chris Zimmerman, president of Van Nuys-based Easton Sports.
good storytelling added in and that is what creates companies that win.
While Easton-Bell had already entered the lacrosse business before Zimmerman was hired, he fits well with the strategy in that he played the sport while in high school. In college he played hockey.
In fact, in discussing the spreading popularity of lacrosse Zimmerman points out there is an overlap in states where hockey is also popular, such as Michigan and Minnesota.
Long played mainly on the athletic fields of East Coast prep schools, lacrosse has made a big enough showing in other parts of the country for a Van Nuys company to take notice.
Easton Sports this month began shipping to specialty stores and major retailers its first batch of lacrosse equipment, joining on shelves the baseball and hockey equipment that has made the company a well-known brand.
In the company’s offices are display rooms filled with baseball bats and gloves and hockey sticks, masks and protective gears.
Will lacrosse soon join them?
“That’s what we are still figuring out,” said Chris Zimmerman, the president of Easton Sports.
Lacrosse is the first new team sport that Easton has added in 25 years to its product line as it and parent company Easton-Bell Sports pursue new business. The company also opened a new helmet technology center in Northern California in 2010 and started other new business lines.
Lacrosse is one of the fastest growing sports in the country.
US Lacrosse, the governing body of the sport, puts the number of youth, high school, collegiate, post-collegiate and professional players at 568,000 in 2009, an 8 percent increase over 2008.
Easton’s interest in the sport began more than a year ago, with the purchase of a small equipment manufacturer in Northern California, Talon Lacrosse. That company was founded by three former college lacrosse players who remain a part of the new division of Easton.
Following the Talon acquisition came the development period of refining shafts (or sticks) and designing new equipment.
This is where the expertise Easton has developed over the decades came into play and blending it with the passion and knowledge of lacrosse brought by the Talon founders.
“Easton has always been a company of innovative materials and engineering expertise,” Zimmerman said.
For more: http://www.sfvbj.com/news/2011/feb/28/new-game/