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Reef’s president on business impact of fires

By Tiffany Montgomery
November 01, 2007 6:34 AM

I checked in with Reef President John Wilson to see how the aftermath of the San Diego fires is impacting employees and business. The San Diego area experienced multiple fires and thousands of homes lost earlier this month. Reef, known for its sandals, is based in Carlsbad.

Did any Reef employees lose their homes?

No, we're all very fortunate, but some of our friends and neighbors weren't as lucky. So we're looking for ways to help each other.

How have the fires impacted Reef's business?

We don't anticipate that the fires will have a material impact on our business. Due to the offices being closed last week for three days, an extra crunch has been put on people's calendars to make up for the lost time.

Do you see any long term impact on Reef and on the San Diego economy?

I think it is too early to tell at this point, a lot the damage is still being assessed. We'll definitely be keeping a close eye on the San Diego economy and our retail customers.

Has parent company VF Corp. helped in any way?

VF, whose Outdoor Coalition includes, Reef, Vans and The North Face, is responding quickly. As a company with associates that have been directly affected by these fires, both VF and Reef want to do all we can to aid in the relief effort now underway. One of the first things VF is doing is to match employee contribution to the relief efforts of the Red Cross. The Red Cross has stressed the need for monetary contributions in lieu of apparel or other supplies for shelter, food, counseling and other assistance to victims of this disaster. Accordingly, VF's Outdoor Coalition is matching every dollar donated by our Outdoor associates to the Disaster Relief Fund for the Southern California Wildfires up to $50,000.

What's the best way for the action sports industry to help the people of San Diego?

It's really hard to say how each brand should approach this disaster, but I do encourage everyone to do something. The action sports industry is very dialed into environmental and humanitarian causes. It allows us to respond quickly, especially during times like this. Whether it is the fires in San Diego or the 2004 Tsunami the industry now has non-profit organizations set up in surf communities that are ready to help immediately. In addition to the matched Red Cross donations, at Reef we will use Reef Redemption, the company's environmental and humanitarian fund, and its committee of volunteers, to address charitable and volunteer needs right here in the Carlsbad area.

More on: Reef, John Wilson, fires

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