Leigh H. Perkins, who bought outdoors clothing-and-equipment company Orvis in 1965 for $400,000, and helped transform it into a company with a thriving e-commerce business, more than 80 stores, and more than $300 million in annual sales, has passed away. He was 93.
The Washington Post writes that Perkins was an Orvis customer - at the time it sold largely fishing tackle - and a salesman for a gas welding and cutting equipment company when he bought Orvis and set about transforming it into a company with a much broader portfolio.
"Alongside three-piece bamboo rods and flies with names like the Royal Coachman and Lefty’s Deceiver, the company began selling products including Fatwood fire kindling, polyester dog beds and canvas-and-leather Battenkill luggage, named for a Vermont river where Mr. Perkins often fished," the Post writes.
In addition, the story says, "Although he faced some early resistance, he persuaded competitors such as L.L. Bean to share their mailing lists in an effort to reach more customers. 'Eddie Bauer himself threw me out of his store,' he told the New York Times in 2003. 'But within a year, we were all trading lists'."