RAMONA, CA (BRAIN)—Most manufacturers considered themselves fortunate when it came to the raging fires that swept through Southern California last week.
Ellsworth was forced to evacuate its headquarters in Ramona, setting up a temporary administrative center in Oceanside. The company’s inventory and manufacturing are still intact. Ellsworth can continue filling standing orders, and orders taken from Interbike.
“The bad news is that the organic avocado grove that the company worked to restore on their administrative premises was burned in the fire,” said George Patten, who handles public relations for Ellsworth. “The grove houses the administrative, design and warehouse buildings at the Ellsworth headquarters.”
Oakley, located in Orange County’s Foothill Ranch, got an up close and personal look at one of the fires (pictured from the company’s back window, looking out into Whiting Ranch.)
“We could see flames outside our window,” said Steve Blick, sports marketing manager for Oakley. Of Whiting Ranch, a popular mountain biking location in Oakley’s backyard, Blick said, “It’s toast. That’s our dirt lab. That’s where we test all our outdoor components.”
Masi Bicycles, located further down south in Vista, wasn’t able to ship anything the first two days of last week. Trucks were able to get in toward the end of the week.
“Phone activity seems to have remained steady all week,” said Masi’s Tim Jackson. “Lots of callers were concerned about us relative to the fires, but most folks in the other 49 states just wanted to get some bikes. So they were just calling with usual business in mind. We had to explain the delays and uncertainty with shipping, but most folks seemed to be understanding.”
Haro’s Jill Hamilton was out last week on vacation, while the fires raged.
“She is fine,” Jackson said of Hamilton. “The fires have been contained to some degree around her [home]. Her place appears to be safe, which is good.”
For extensive coverage on the fires and how they affected local businesses, check out the December issue of Bicycle Retailer and Industry News. —Jason Norman