It’s a Utah-born business turned fashion basic. Over the last two decades,
DownEast’s soft, cozy tees have become a wardrobe staple in many women’s
Rich Israelsen, COO of DownEast, looks back at the company’s 20 year run.
20 years has passed since a 16-year-old Jonathan Freedman began selling
denim jackets out of the trunk of his car in his local high school’s parking
lot. What a ride it’s been (no pun intended). Summing it all up in one word,
I’d have to say: Really?
From the Saturday morning “Deli” sales near the Brigham Young University
campus to the 200-foot space across the hall from the beauty shop (fumes
from hair permanents and all) to now having 47 retail locations nationwide, it
is an absolutely amazing business success story—and one in which I’m proud
to be involved with.
Reflecting on our corporate milestones during this time, I see the following
as key turning points in the company:
· 1992 – Opened our first legitimate retail store in Provo.
· 1995 – Began offering home furnishings with the same philosophy we
used on the apparel side—providing great value, in this case, on home décor.
· 2005 – Launched our DownEast Basics brand, allowing us to find even
more creative ways to bring fashionable value to the market.
(Rich, Bill, Charlie and Jonathan in front of the Provo UT store)
The secret to our success can be attributed to our ability to hire and retain
great employees (and definitely not to Charlie Freedman’s fashion sense). We
employ more than 600 people across the country now, some with more than
10 years with the company. We’ve also been able to profitably manage our
growth. I like to say we only move as fast as we can pay the bills.
Additionally, we still maintain strong ties in the communities where we
planted our earliest roots. It’s fun to still be part of these towns after 20
years and see our original customers’ children now shopping in our stores.
These locations have formed the cornerstone of our retail business.
(Jonathan in front of the Provo, UT DownEast Outfitters location)
Many have asked, “So, what’s in store for the next 20 years?” Obviously, the
market will dictate that, but we plan to stay on our game and react as
necessary, continuing to bring fashionable value to the marketplace through
stylish and affordable apparel, home furnishings and accessories.
In celebration of this very important milestone, we’re running a special
Anniversary Sale. From October 7-16, all customers get 20 percent off
everything—both online and in-store, across all brands. That’s 20 percent off
all merchandise. Really!
DownEast provides exclusive deals and style tips to Facebook fans – be sure
to ‘like’ them at www.facebook.com/dow