Columbia Sportswear Company is a United States company that manufactures and distributes outerwear and sportswear. It was founded in 1938 by the late Paul Lamfrom, father of present chairperson Gert Boyle. The company is headquartered in Washington County, Oregon, in an unincorporated part of the Portland metropolitan area near Beaverton. Columbia Sportswear also produces footwear, headgear, camping equipment, skiwear, and outerwear accessories. In 2001, it was the largest American seller of ski apparel. Columbia Sportswear began as a small, family-owned hat distributor. Present chairwoman Gert Boyle's parents, Paul and Marie Lamfrom, fled Nazi Germany in 1937 and immediately bought a Portland hat distributorship. They became the Columbia Hat Company, named for the nearby Columbia River. In 1948, Gert married Neal Boyle, who became the head of the company. Frustrations over suppliers influenced the family to start manufacturing their own products.
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