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Vail Resorts Makes Another MN Purchase: Hoigaard’s

Resort operator Vail Resorts purchased St. Louis Park-based outdoor retailer Hoigaard’s for an undisclosed sum.

Specialty Sports Venture, the retail division of Colorado-based Vail Resorts, Inc., announced Wednesday that it has acquired Twin Cities outdoor equipment retailer Hoigaard’s.
 
Hoigaard’s 20,000-square-foot store in St. Louis Park sells clothing and equipment for skiers and snowboarders, as well as bikes, paddle sporting goods, and camping gear. Financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.  
 
Norwegian immigrant Conrad Hoigaard founded Hoigaard’s in Minneapolis in 1895, selling mainly tents and awnings. The store expanded in 1920 to sporting goods and became one of the first ski stores in the Midwest, according to Vail Resorts.
 
Hoigaard’s moved to St. Louis Park in 1960. Vail Resorts plans to maintain Hoigaard’s current location as well as the company’s name.
 
Although this is Vail Resorts’ first retail store purchase in Minnesota, the company acquired Afton Alps ski resort in Hastings in December. After that purchase, Vail Resorts invested $10 million in Afton Alps, upgrading the snowmaking processes and the terrain parks.
 
“We recognized that there was a large base of snow-sports enthusiasts in Minnesota, and the iconic nature of Hoigaard’s and Afton Alps both fit perfectly with our brand,” Specialty Sports Venture Chief Operating Officer Kat Jobanputra told Twin Cities Business in a Wednesday phone interview. “Many of the products we place in new retail stores were already being sold at Hoigaard’s, so it was a completely natural transition for us.”
 
Hoigaard’s currently has about 40 to 50 employees but houses up to 100 during its peak winter season, according to Jobanputra. Vail Resorts will maintain most of those employees, with the exception of some who are retiring, Jobanputra said. Hoigaard’s president, Todd Brewer, who is married to a fourth-generation member of the original Hoigaard family, will remain in his position.
 
“The opportunity to be aligned with companies like Vail Resorts and Specialty Sports Venture will allow us to continue to grow and prosper,” Brewer said in a statement. “We have the same values for employees and customers and that's very important to us.”
 
Vail Resorts, a public company, reported about $1 billion in revenue for the fiscal year that ended in July. The company said Wednesday that net revenue for the second quarter, which ended in January, totaled $422.5 million—up 13.2 percent from the same period the prior year; net income, meanwhile, totaled $60.6 million, representing a 30.5 percent jump.
 
Vail Resorts’ Specialty Sports Venture owns more than 170 retailers of snow sports, biking, golfing, and fishing equipment throughout Colorado, California, Utah, Nevada, Wisconsin, and now in Minnesota.