By Clare Ogilvie
It’s likely that if you bought a pair of power straps for your ski boots in the late ’80s they were being made in the basement apartment of the founder of RC Sports, right here in Whistler.
Last week that same company, now based in Vancouver, was chosen as an official licensee for the Vancouver 2010 Games.
“We wanted to be a part of the Games as soon as we heard they were going to be held here,” said Erik Dier, sales manager for RC Sports.
“We wanted to be somehow involved in the Games and this was the best way we could do it.
“(The Olympics) is all about winter sports and that is how our company was started and it is what we are all still quite passionate about. And the fact that we started in Whistler and the Games are going to held there as well as Vancouver, which is where we are based, well it all just made sense.”
Since those early days when founder and sole owner Rory Carr was making power straps and then Velcro watch straps, the company has grown significantly and is now, amongst other things, the official supplier of bags to the Canadian Alpine Ski Team.
About nine years ago the company also stated producing accessories for pets, including coats, leashes, collars and seat belt harnesses.
Dier said the public could expect to see key chains, lanyards, wallets and pet accessories with 2010 Olympic logos in retailers by the spring. Other accessories for winter use, such as ski straps and snowboard stomp pads, will become available in the summer.
Dier said it took about eight months to go through the licensee process from start to finish and included submitting more than one proposal and making a personal presentation before the Vancouver Organizing Committee’s licensing committee.
“I think it seemed like a fair process,” he said, adding, “from our side of it, it was a good process to go through.”
That is partly because it forced the company to look at some of its environmental and sustainability practices.
“It is one of those things as a small company it is easy to pass on and so this forces your hand,” said Dier referring to sustainable practices.
“It is simple things like to going to a more paperless order system, and things that everybody here can be involved in.
“It is something we have always wanted to be better at and this has forced our hand a little bit, which is good. It has really opened our eyes to what else we can do to address those issue a little bit better.”