GoLite suc­ces­sor up and run­ning

The Denver Post - - BUSINESS - By Shay Cas­tle

boul­der» Less than two years af­ter the high-pro­file demise of Boul­der out­door brand GoLite, the busi­ness born from its ashes, My Trail Co., is up and run­ning with a new store and hun­dreds of thou­sands of dol­lars in­vested.

More than 260 peo­ple have in­vested in the com­pany in ex­change for a piece of the My Trail pie and dis­counts on its gear, re­pur­posed from GoLite prod­uct de­signs that owner and founder Demetri “Coup” Cou­pounas had the fore­sight to pur­chase be­fore the bank­ruptcy and ul­ti­mate liq­ui­da­tion of his first com­pany in March 2015.

“This town is filled with folks who re­ally like GoLite prod­ucts, and we have the very best of those prod­ucts — only slightly im­proved,” Cou­pounas said. “The only prod­uct that hasn’t changed is our um­brella.”

On­line sales have been steady since they be­gan in May, Cou­pounas said. And Chantel Sar­gent of Erie looks over the ap­parel at the My Trail store in Boul­der last week. GoLite’s redo — My Trail Co. — is up and run­ning with a brick-and-mor­tar lo­ca­tion on the Twenty Ninth Street mall. Cliff Grass­mick, Daily Cam­era last month, a brick-and­mor­tar store opened on the Twenty Ninth Street mall.

My Trail is be­ing bankrolled through a $650,000 di­rect pub­lic of­fer­ing (DPO) for Colorado in­vestors and eq­uity crowd­fund­ing through web­site We­fun­der.

Eq­uity crowd­fund­ing is a new con­cept; it be­came le­gal un­der fed­eral law this year. It dif­fers from tra­di­tional crowd­fund­ing in that, in ad­di­tion to in­vestors re­ceiv­ing free or dis­counted prod­ucts, back­ers can also reap fi­nan­cial re­wards such as stocks or bonds from the com­pany in which they in­vest.

My Trail in­vestors re­ceive shares of the com­pany, val­ued at $5, and a 10 per­cent an­nual div­i­dend, in ad­di­tion to a 20 per­cent dis­count on prod­ucts. The min­i­mum in­vest­ment on We­fun­der is $1,000.

The com­pany has raised $189,675 through We­fun­der this year and re­cently started a sec­ond cam­paign with a $300,000 goal. That’s in ad­di­tion to $515,000 raised through its DPO. The DPO closes at the end of the year.

Adop­tion of the eq­uity crowd­fund­ing tool has been mod­est, ac­cord­ing to Univer­sity of Colorado pro­fes­sor and Ful­bright scholar An­drew Schwartz, with $16 mil­lion in­vested in the U.S. in the six months the mech­a­nism has been avail­able.

“It al­lows for peo­ple who don’t have ac­cess to cap­i­tal to get it, and for mem­bers of the pub­lic to in­vest in some­thing they know,” Schwartz said.

Cou­pounas said it made sense to fund My Trail this way be­cause so many peo­ple have re­mained pas­sion­ate about his prod­ucts.

“GoLite was a fa­bled leader” in the out­door in­dus­try, said Buzz Bur­rell, brand man­ager for Boul­der-based Ul­ti­mate Di­rec­tion. “Coup has shown ex­tra­or­di­nary de­ter­mi­na­tion and re­silience, and I hope My Trail can make a go of it.”

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