Diamond Brand Gear, a domestic outdoor gear manufacturing since 1881, was recently named the 2018 WNC Best Brand for a Business Started Before 2010 by the Small Business Center at Blue Ridge Community College in Henderson County. N.C. The distinction recognizes Diamond Brand Gear’s rich local legacy, commitment to innovation and mountain lifestyle influence.
Awarded by the Small Business Center Network, the WNC Best Brand honors are open to both for profit businesses and non-profit organizations. The honors are split into two separate categories—2018 WNC Best Brand for a Business Started Before 2010 and 2018 WNC Best Brand for a Business Started After 2010—each earning a $150 scholarship for the 2019 Business Accelerator Program.
For 137 years, Diamond Brand Gear has produced packs and tents for the U.S military, Boy Scouts of America, and outdoor enthusiasts. Long known for manufacturing gear for big outfits such as L.L. Bean and Eddie Bauer, in 2017, the legacy manufacturer began producing bags and tents for the general consumer again.
As such, Diamond Brand Gear is challenged with getting its personal brand into the marketplace again, a brand built on blending innovation and new fabric technology with tradition and a rich legacy. Since relocating its factory to Western North Carolina in 1942 and corporate offices in 1966, Diamond Brand Gear has not only kept manufacturing and hiring local, but has also found vision in the Carolina Mountains it calls home.
“We’ve long drawn inspiration from the outdoor lovers who fill our trails, the commuters who populate our roads, and the go-getters who permeate our cities and towns,” said John Delaloye, CEO of Diamond Brand Gear. “Though inspired by the mountains of our own backyard, our gear is made for anyone living a mountain lifestyle, wherever they may find themselves.”
As Diamond Brand Gear continues to explore new product and delve into new endeavors, it doesn’t leave behind its rich legacy. From experimenting with new fabrics or emphasizing micro-customization, to upcycling bags out of leftover canvas tent material or designing high quality bags with the Biltmore, Diamond Brand Gear remains dedicated to mixing tradition with innovation.
“We continue to receive the occasional note from longtime customers proclaiming that they and their family are still enjoying the tents they purchased in the 1980s or 1990s,” said COO Lauren Rash. “We take great pleasure in knowing that our gear is bringing them a touch of comfort as they explore the outside world.”