Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Standard-Examiner: Apparel Firm May Consolidate Ogden Locations... in Layton

Does this spell the beginning of the unravelling of the Boss Godfrey's "Ski Hub Concept"?

Fascinating new development on the Ogden City business development front. Scott Schwebke reports this morning that Descente Ltd., the first of a dozen or more ski companies to have moved to Ogden during the past several years, is now considering "flying the coop." We incorporate Mr. Schwebke's lead paragraphs below:
OGDEN -- Descente Ltd. is considering relocating its North American corporate office and warehouse from Ogden to Layton, a company official said Tuesday.
The winter sports apparel firm is involved in talks to consolidate the corporate office and warehouse in a single facility in a Layton business park, said Ryan Westenskow, chief financial officer for Descente North America.
"It's more efficient (to have one building)," said Westenskow, who declined to provide the address of the Layton building under consideration by Descente, which is headquartered in Osaka, Japan.
"It's suitable for what we need."
Descente's North American corporate office is presently at 2550 Washington Blvd., and its warehouse is at 159 23rd St., both in Ogden.
Here's the full story for those readers who'd like to bone up:
Apparel firm may consolidate Ogden locations in Layton / Winter clothing company says efficiency is key
Mr. Schwebke also reports that this news came from out of the blue, and hints that it's apparent that Ogden City officials feel they've been blindsided:
John Patterson, Ogden's chief administrative officer, said he was unaware that Descente may move to Layton until contacted Tuesday by the Standard-Examiner.
"I would hate to see it happen," he said. "They are such a fixture here."
The city has made proposals to Descente that include consolidating local operations under one roof at its 23rd Street warehouse location and or in a facility at Business Depot Ogden, said Mayor Matthew Godfrey.
"Clearly, we want them to stay right here in town," he said. "We've made them very attractive offers to do so."
We confess we're at a loss to explain the true meaning of this startling development. Does this spell the beginning of the unravelling of the Boss Godfrey's "Ski Hub Concept", we ask? Or are the Samurai from Osaka merely jockeying for a sweeter "sweetheart deal" from the Ogden City Administration?

One thing's for sure. We already know that Descente Ltd. operates with a bean-counter mentality, and that Descente's Osaka executives really don't give a hoot about Ogden... or its economic revival. And there's one thing more: The departure of Descente would have a fairly significant economic impact on Ogden, inasmuch as this company's Ogden payroll is a purported million dollars a year, and Descente allegedly pays $125,000 annually in sales tax to Ogden City, according to a 5/2/06 statement from former Descente Ltd. CEO Curt Geiger, (see the article linked directly above for details) .

Time for Boss Godfrey and his bloated Economic Development Department drones to get off their keisters on this, we believe. It should be painfully obvious that it serves no long-term economic benefit to initially land these ski companies, if they later "hoof it" to a neighboring city.

Time for some fancy dancin', wethinks:

Prominent Ogden City Prima Ballerinas

Strap on yer dancin' shoes, Matt and the Boyz!

And what thinks our gentle readers about all this?

27 comments:

Keisha said...

This wouldn't be happening if we had a gondola.

danny said...

Note that Layton is unaware of Descente's plans, but they say their commercial property brokerage people are probably on it.

In other words, Layton's position is it's a private sector matter, and the private sector will doubtless take care of it.

Ogden's government, on the other hand, is offering incentives and is very involved.

Guess where Descente is going?

How many more examples do we need of how Ogden government involvement is counterproductive?

The government drives away more than it attracts, and its efforts are expensive.

To thrive, we should cut government involvement and regulation. Then Ogden too would thrive with lower taxes as surrounding communities do.

Why is this so hard for so many to see? Because the hacks in Ogden government are good at making themselves seem important - to the city council, to the newspaper, to the public. It's about all they're good at, but they are good at that one thing.

Moroni McConkie said...

Keisha: Touché!

what will it cost us said...

So we finally learn Descente brought 12 jobs to Ogden. How may paying jobs did all of these high advrnture companies bring in for all the millions of incentives the state and city paid?

Good Government provides services to the community, not speculative investments in private businesses, Junction sweetheart leases, or special deals for friendly real estate developers.

Dan S. said...

When they moved to Ogden they were a ski company. Now that they may be leaving, they're merely an apparel company.

Danny said...

Godfrey consistently said that a "turning point" in his "efforts" was when Curt Geiger decided to move Descente NA operations to Ogden. This lead to "high rollers" such as Gadi Leshem, coming to town, a "Hollywood connection" with Rupert Hitzig, our own airplane company with Adam Aircraft, and other signs of a "city on the move".

Some of us maintained it was all illusory. It turned out Adam Air was non-viable, as some of us said, Rupert Hitzig was a parasite, which he proved himself to be after going to WSU looking for money and free labor, and Leshem was only a man deep in debt with little business acumen.

Now Curt Geiger is laid off, and the "turning point" is leaving.

So, since all our predictions relating to Ogden have come true so far, here is another.

Godfrey's whole mode of operation has been making things look good with debt. Now the borrowing capacity is nearing depletion, and the piper must be paid.

His "Renaissance" is ending. The heavy debt load cannot be paid off with cash flow from Godfrey's projects (like the comical "executive terminal at the airport.) Godfreyism's costs will drag on us for decades. Ogden will remain a quiet place to live for another generation.

Godfrey, if you were smart, you'd be looking for another job right now. Your current one is ending. Leave before you have to. Leave while you can characterize your leaving on your own terms, instead of being handed your hat by the voters. Don't make us watch you go back to delivering pizzas or running slum houses in Ogden again.

Leave while you can still successfully mischaracterize yourself - before the rest of the world sees you as clearly as we always have.

drewmeister said...

Fascinating. I wonder what would happen if we provided incentives to existing businesses to stay here, rather than spending millions of dollars whoring ourselves out to faceless, out-of-state corporations, and desperately trying to dream up ridiculous
velodrome and gondola schemes?

Hmm. Oh, well. At least we have a heavily subsidized, glow-in-the-dark miniature golf course.

googlegirl said...

"A not so prophetic" Note from Bob Geiger

Danny said...

Googlegirl,

Thanks for mentioning Geiger's letter. It felt so good to read it. I will miss the Geigers, Gadi, Rupert, Chris Peterson, Jeff Lowe and the rest of them. (Well, I won't miss Lowe so much.)

It is rare that a sleepy town like this gets world class clowns like that to laugh at. Godfrey truly brought world class acts to town.

And now,the carnival is moving on. Only the empty popcorn boxes and cigarette buts remain.

But they were good times.

Emily Litella said...

I'm confused. I didn't know that Mayor G-y wore a tutu! John Patterson or Mark Johnson, either.

Oh. It's a parody. That's different then. Never mind.

Curmudgeon said...

Rudi:

You ask: "Does this spell the beginning of the unravelling of the Boss Godfrey's "Ski Hub Concept"?

Well, no, what it probably spells is that the company, like most companies, is looking to cut costs in down times, and to lower its operating overhead if it can, and that if it believes it can operate less expensively in Layton than in Ogden, it will move. I don't see, necessarily, any grander meaning in its looking for cheaper digs elsewhere.

You commented: "One thing's for sure. We already know that Descente Ltd. operates with a bean-counter mentality, and that Osaka executives really don't give a hoot about Ogden... or its economic revival."

Well, Rudi, most companies I know of try to minimize their costs in order to maximize their profits. You can dismiss that as operating with a "bean counter mentality," but I'd call it good management. As for having Ogden's best interests at heart: why would you expect the managers of Descente to have anything but the company's best interests at heart? I wouldn't. The trick is to convince them that the company's best option is Ogden, not that Ogden's best option is their company. Unreasonable to expect a company --- any company --- to make key business decisions by putting the community's interests first in line. Being a good corporate citizen involves, and should, some public service good-neighbor component, but it cannot be the first priority for any private company.

Finally, this: "The departure of Descente would have a fairly significant economic impact on Ogden, inasmuch as this company's Ogden payroll is a million dollars a year, and Descente pays $125,000 annually in sales tax to Ogden City, according to a 5/2/06 statement from former Descente Ltd. CEO Curt Geiger."

Chuckled a little when I read that, since I remembered how often some posters here over the years dismissed Descente's economic impact in Ogden as trivial, insignificant, etc. That was done to minimize the significance of the Mayor's campaign to make Ogden an outdoor-marketing center. But it's a little funny, now that Descente may be leaving, to hear its contribution described as so significant when posters here were dismissing it as trivial not long ago.

Seems to me, folks can't reasonably have it both ways: trivial economic impact so no big deal the Mayor convinced them to come on the one hand, but now large economic loss that's the mayor's fault if they leave. Talk about moving the goal posts....

Danny said...

Curm,

Given that the Geigers were major "hitmen" for the mayor (if you ever saw them in action at meetings), who portrayed themselves as big, swinging, uh, guns, their layoff, and the leaving of their employer (along with Gadi, Rupert, Peterson etc) represents a collapse in the facade that Godfrey built. Since it's all Godfrey built, it's big.

As far as the payroll, it's a dozen people. Call it big or small as you will.

But I think Bernie Allen rents them at least one building in Ogden. So it's pretty big to Bernie, at least.

As far as the big picture, Ogden will roll on - deeper in debt, but it will roll on.

By the way, I tried Sonora Grill a few times due to recommendations here. I definitely like the specials. Check them out on the Internet.

blackrulon said...

Did Ogden provide any incentives for Descente Ltd. to relocate in Ogden? Did they did have any special requirements accompy the relocation requirements?

Curmudgeon said...

Danny:

I think you're conflating two things. The Lesham/River Project disaster is a good example of Hizzonah's poor business judgment. On that we agree.

But the idea of Ogden as an outdoor-oriented business hub I thought a good one, once the Ogden As The New Silicon Valley idea tanked. And Hizzonah had some success in attracting outdoor oriented businesses to Ogden, among which was Descente. I see nothing wrong with recognizing the Mayor's good ideas when he has them [few as they are].

It was good for Ogden that Descente came here. It won't be good for Ogden if it leaves. Nuff said.

[PS: in re Sonora Grill: Mrs. Curmudgeon and I are frequent flyers at Sonora's Taco Tuesdays. Part of our continuing attempt to commit Champagne Living on a Beer Budget.]

Danny said...

I just had a thought - along the lines of yours, Curm.

There is a sense that Ogden is not keen on the Geigers, due to their habits. But I for one have always been happy to have Descente in Ogden.

Most times when I pass by, I'll turn my head and smile at their offices and their warehouse.

In other words, if there is any sense at Descente that they need to leave because they are not welcome, that is not the case for me.

For me Descente is very welcome as are all the other ski people and I like having them here.

OgdenLover said...

"The departure of Descente would have a fairly significant economic impact on Ogden, inasmuch as this company's Ogden payroll is a million dollars a year, and Descente pays $125,000 annually in sales tax to Ogden City, according to a 5/2/06 statement from former Descente Ltd. CEO Curt Geiger."

Why is this statement from Curt Geiger being accepted as gospel? Is there any way to actually check these figures or will be blindly accept that his possible puffery is fact. I can think of several reasons for Mr. Geiger to inflate Descente's contribution to the Ogden economy, the least of which is to make Godfrey look good.

Dan S. said...

Ogdenlover:

Ordinarily there's no way for citizens to verify claims about sales tax. The city has access to such data, but is generally prohibited from disclosing the data to the public. I found this out when I inquired last summer about sales tax revenue at the Junction. Of course, the Godfrey ainistration has sometimes found it useful to release selected sales tax figures for it's own purposes.

Meanwhile, I'm wondering: What does Descente sell, retail, in Ogden? Why would they generate any sales tax at all?

Dan S. said...

(Apologies for the careless iPhone typing.)

Wm III said...

I'm wondering the same thing regarding Descente and the $125K sales tax ...

We pay approx $150K a year on close to $2M in sales ...

What are they retailing in Ogden to the tune of $1M plus?

RudiZink said...

Iteresting observations, OL, Dan and WM3. We've edited Mr. Geiger's quoted statement by adding the words "purported" and "allegedly."

Can anyone else shed some light on the accuracy of these figures?

ozboy said...

Count me in with those who are calling bull shit on this Descente sales tax claim. I also question the million a year in Ogden salaries. How much of that figure went to the Geigers? I think they all worked for the company except the momma who has a cushy feather bed job with the Godfreyites (paid for by the tax payers of course). I also question the number of 12 employees. I think the number may be closer to 6, with at least half of them being Geigers.

WmIII - how much of that sales tax that you pay each year actually goes to Ogden City? It seems that the Geiger sales tax claim indicates that was the amount they paid to Ogden alone, not their total sales tax bill.

Like most claims from the Godfreyites, these tend to raise more questions than they answer.

Patron said...

I'm thinking that if Descente took and filled an order at their Ogden office, then then money for that order would be taxed, just as any purchase made in any business in town would be.

Whether or not the 125K figure that Curt claims Ogden receives is accurate is for a tax numbers cruncher to figure and state. I question that amount going into Ogden coffers, but maybe it does as Descente filled a lot of orders (ski apparel outlets throughout the Northwestern US) from its Ogden offices and Ogden's share may be around 125K.

Who knows? It is a shame that Ogden may loose Descente to Layton, or any other municipality. But maybe the purported house of cards that Ozboy and others claim has been built has had one of the corner cards yanked away from it and the others are starting to sway and twist in the breeze. This, however, we really don't need.

Curmudgeon said...

Patron:

You wrote: "It is a shame that Ogden may loose Descente to Layton, or any other municipality.... This, however, we really don't need."

Yup. Exactly.

ozboy said...

Patron

Did/does Descente sell retail to the public from their Ogden operations? I was under the impression that they just did marketing and having the corporate office here. Only retail collects sales tax, wholesaling doesn't. Does Descente sell directly to the public and thus compete with the retail businesses that carry their brands?

it's a no brainer said...

Doesn't anyone realize that the warehouse Descente is currently located in belongs to Curt Geiger? He's the owner. Now that he has been fired from his position with the company it's a no brainer that they would abandon his building.

RudiZink said...

Excellent point ianb (formerly "anonymous). And your comment raises the question... were the Suits from Osaka actually aware that the warehouse they were leasing was actually owned by their corporate V.P., Curt Geiger? Specifically, Did Mr. Geiger properly disclose his warehouse ownership interest to his employer?

Inasmuch as Mr. Geiger held a property interest adverse to his corporate employer, was this the straw that broke the camel's back, resulting in the Geiger father/son duo's summary ouster?

So many questions; so few answers.

Patron said...

Ozboy, I don't know if Descent only sells wholesale or if they sell some retail. Also, alsa, I was unaware that only retail sales to the public is assessed sales tax (if so, my mistake). I took a flyer on this as I've paid sales tax on some mighty strange things in the past, but, as you most likely accurately point out, I was an individual and thus just another member of the public.

If what you say is correct, then I have to add my nbame to the "bullshit" bunch about the amount of sales tac alleged by C. Geiger.

Also, it is true that the warehouse on 23rd, just below Grant, that Descent keeps its stuff in, is owned by Curt Geiger.

Well, as someone pointed out above, that's what happens when one doesn't have a gondola. What's a City to do?

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