MOB Founding Story

In January 2017, after a long day on the show floor at Outdoor Retailer, a handful of Maine-based brands met for a beer in a basement bar around the corner from the convention center in Salt Lake City. We shared stories. We shot pool. We had a lot of laughs. And we wondered, aloud, why we had to be 2400 miles from home to have this kind of connection? And in that moment, the idea of Maine Outdoor Brands was born.

Over the course of the next 11 months, the core group from Salt Lake City continued to meet. We filed the necessary paper work to make MOB official, convened with officials from the state’s Department of Economic and Community Development office and connected with other outdoor business owners. Those efforts culminated in MOB’s official launch on November 20, 2017 where Senator Angus King, DECD Commissioner Steven Leveque and L.L.Bean’s CEO, Steve Smith explained the importance of Maine’s outdoor recreation economy and celebrated MOB’s arrival. MOB was 22 members strong that day, but as news spread of MOB’s mission, that number neared 50 by year’s end.

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For the next 18 months, MOB forged onward – propelled by an experienced board of directors and equally action-oriented advisory board. The organization coordinated networking and educational sessions across the state, advocated for the creation of Maine’s Office of Outdoor Recreation (which launched in 2019) and secured booth space at Outdoor Retailer, providing smaller brands access to the national spotlight.

Midway through 2019, Jenny Kordick was hired as MOB’s executive director, charged with overseeing the continued growth and success of the organization. Now widely recognized as the voice of Maine’s outdoor industry, MOB has 150 members and works in concert with Maine’s Office of Outdoor Recreation to the benefit of all and serves as a model for more than 20 other states who have formed similar alliances in recent years.

While we may have come from humble beginnings in a basement bar, we have big goals. We invite you to join us – as a member, a supporter, or an advocate for our state’s outdoor economy.

-Jim Hauptman, Founding Board President of MOB

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