Holmberg family information
Here is an article about the Hart Ski Manufacturing
The article that was in the paper was sent to my by Lavern Holm, who lives in Tracy MN.
Below, is the article that was sent to me via e-mail from Dal Holmberg in Minnetonka MN.
Thanks to both of you for sending this to me.
Good luck with this venture Bill Holmberg.
All of us are hoping this works out well for you, Jerry Longstrom
Please tell all our relatives who have patiently been
waiting, that they can now purchase
Hart memorabilia and clothing right off of our website at hartskis.com
Pictures added to bottom of page.
This article was in the
newspaper and Dal Holmberg sent me an e-mail about this.
The grandson of a founder of St. Paul's famous Hart ski line is struggling to resurrect the business after it was abandoned in 1998 after a steady downhill slide.
Dick Youngblood, Star Tribune
Bill Holmberg's new business has yet to register any significant sales, which ordinarily would make it a hard sell for mention in this space.
But when a guy's struggling to resurrect an icon, exceptions are in order.
Holmberg heads a group of four partners who founded Hart Ski Manufacturing in 2003 to resuscitate a St. Paul brand that carried the likes of American Jonny Moseley and China's Nannan Xu to Olympic medals.
On and off the Olympic slopes, Hart skis have been the choice of other stars, including Billy Kidd, Suzy Chaffee, Roger Staub and members of the 2005 Canadian freestyle team.
The Canadians' boards must have some wear, however, considering that the last Hart skis were produced in 1998, after 30 years of ownership changes and occasional mismanagement that sent sales on a precipitous slide.
Holmberg, 47, is a full-time IT consultant and part-time musician (or vice versa, depending on what part of his life you're discussing) who has worked in systems management for Imation and C.H. Robinson. In 1996 he started AlphaBetas Inc., a company that does quality-assurance testing on Macintosh applications and games.
More important to today's saga, he's also the grandson of Hartvig (Hart) Holmberg Jr., who founded Hart Ski Manufacturing Inc. in 1955 with his brother, Harry, and a friend, Ed Bjork. All are deceased.
The Hart cachet: The company was one of the first to introduce a seamless metal edging for its skis, an innovation that is standard today.
That and a reputation for quality and durability, backed by a lifetime warranty, helped build Hart into one of the premier ski-manufacturing companies in the country.
Peaked in 1967
At the peak in 1967, Hart shipped 144,000 pairs of skis, and its revenue -- including skis, bindings, poles and boots -- approached $14 million.
The next year the partners sold the company to Beatrice Foods, a conglomerate with more ambition than expertise in the ski business. That began the downhill run for the brand, Holmberg said.
According to family lore, Beatrice cut back on R&D, falling behind the competition as fiberglass skis were introduced. And on the marketing front, Holmberg still shakes his head at Beatrice's choice of chess master Bobby Fischer as the brand spokesman. (Kidd and Chaffee later replaced him.)
With sales plummeting, Beatrice sold Hart Ski in 1980 to an investor group, one of at least three groups that tried to revive the business in the next 18 years. At the end, only 5,000 pairs of skis were shipped in 1998, according to Snowsports Industries America, a trade group.
So what makes Holmberg think he can succeed where others have failed? There are several reasons.
For one thing, recent market studies showed a strong brand recognition, a plus for a start-up, he said. This and a pure carbon construction that is lighter and stronger than most models, indicates the ability to position Hart as a Cadillac brand.
And his partners offer significant expertise. Included are entrepreneurial veteran Tony Copa, who was CFO in the early days at Rollerblade; Mike Grika, a graphic arts expert with stints at Imation and Kodak, and Dwight Ludvigson, a nationally ranked ski racer and an organizer of the local Ski Fest trade shows.
Thanks to Grika's graphic arts background, Hart also is using innovative printing techniques to give skis a more complex, dramatic appearance. We're talking snakes and skulls, stars and stripes, tigers and tiger lilies, not to mention a blaze of colors that could give me a migraine. There's even a design that splits the image of a shapely lass between the two skis, forming the whole when the skis come together.
Innovative printing techniques also will allow Hart to produce a premium ski customized with images chosen by the buyer and produced on a quick turnaround. Holmberg also figures to market ski boards in the same dazzling color array, along with poles, boots and other equipment.
Now all the gent needs is investment capital -- a passel of it. The company started with $25,000 contributed by the partners and has blown through another $75,000 Holmberg pulled from savings plus $100,000 in cash and infrastructure services provided by AlphaBetas.
All of which has been used to acquire the trademark, design the ski line, sign an Italian manufacturer to produce 500 pairs of skis for a beta test and line up distributors in Germany and the Netherlands.
Now Holmberg figures he needs another $400,000 to begin limited production and distribution in the United States early next year and $1 million more to get production into full swing.
Given the softness of the venture capital market, however, that could take some doing.
Hart Ski Manufacturing
Business: Seeks to resurrect the Hart ski line, which was started in St. Paul in 1955 and was abandoned several ownerships later in 1998.
Executives: Founder Bill Holmberg and partners Tony Copa, Mike Grika and Dwight Ludvigson
Employees: Five part time
Strategy: The partners are counting on innovative printing techniques to give skis a more complex, dramatic appearance and to allow rapid production of a premium line customized with images chosen by the buyer. They also are using a pure carbon construction that produces a lighter, stronger ski than most models.
Thanks for the pictures Bill.
Here's some pix from the Keystone, CO Demo Days,? of our tent and demo area. I am in Munich
at ISPO while they are slaving away at the demo.
The reception to the return of hart has been nothing short of phenomenal, and we are working hard to ensure a direct translation to sales.
I will be bringing back some really great news on developments with partners and sources, production issues and other items. Feel free to call me and get the latest on all the great developments.
All the best,
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