SEATTLE - Longtime Seattle retailer Filson is not only launching a new flagship store but is also opening a new chapter in its century-old story.
The outdoor outfitter has been around for decades, but a lot of people may not even know the brand. The company plans to change that.
The new store is on First Avenue, just down from the stadiums in the SODO neighborhood. Filson's first flagship store is a short distance away on Fourth Avenue in the same neighborhood.
At the new store, there are windows from the street into the manufacturing floor, so people walking by can see the rugged bags and garments being made by hand. The location is the world headquarters of Filson, which has been crafting handmade bags and coats in SODO since 1897.
"It's been a dream of ours that is coming to fruition,” said Filson President Gray Madden.
Madden and his team will launch the new store in SODO Tuesday, which will feature the company's iconic canvas and leather bags and clothing.
"This is our time to shine in the Pacific Northwest and really showcase what we do,” said Madden.
For 118 years, Filson has manufactured strong and sturdy outdoor gear for loggers, miners, anglers or anyone who works outdoors.
But now, the company is expanding its product line and marketing the brand to a broader audience, selling the Pacific Northwest lifestyle along with its handmade merchandise.
"All of our product that Filson makes is guaranteed for life, which is an incredible story. And in order to do that, we knew we have to stay close to manufacturing, which is why it's literally downstairs, below our feet,” said Madden.
Capitalizing on consumer demand for products Made in America, Filson is taking it to another level and following the farm-to-table philosophy of local restaurants.
"I know where this cotton for this jacket comes from originally. I know where it was sewn and who sewed it,” said Madden.
The company thinks that will really resonate with consumers.
In addition to the new Seattle store, which officially opens at 11 a.m. Tuesday with Seattle Mayor Ed Murray on hand, Filson has new stores in Washington D.C., and other stores in New York, London, Portland, and soon in San Francisco.
All of the growth means more workers, too. Filson has almost doubled its workforce to more than 500 in the last two years.