40+ years and still warming! This classic jacket by The North Face belongs to our founder, Tom Valone.


The stats:

  • Retail Price in 1972 = $45
  • Weight = 24oz
  • 10oz 550 fill goose down
  • Zipper replaced by The North Face under warranty in 2004
  • washed/dried 12 times

A Word From Tom:

If I count, it was quite a long time ago, over forty years.  Hair was long.  Life was simple.  I had no money and everything I owned could fit in the trunk of my old river car if I needed to find another life. “Farm out; outta state,” or was it “far out; outta sight?”


But I don’t count well at all, and it was yesterday!


The first shipment to our fledgling shop, a fulfillment of a purchase order made at the National Sporting Goods Show in Chicago, was at the door of shop on Franklin St., and it was from The North Face.  My partners and I had talked the North Face credit manager into an open line of credit when the only credit we had to our names was the 120 hours of credit we each had earned in order to graduate from college.  This retail thing just might go after all.


I wish I could remember recent happenings as well as I can the contents of that box.  One small, two medium, two large and one extra-large Sierra Parkas – international orange, 10 oz. of goose down, rip-stop nylon shell and cargo/hand warmer pockets, $45 retail.   There was also one Tuolumne tent, one Sierra tent, one Wrap pack, one Ruth Sack, one Superlight sleeping bag and one Chamois sleeping bag.


I wasted no time tagging and laying out the gear, but the medium Sierra Parka beckoned and beckoned.  A wise accountant had suggested that each of us partners buy stuff from our new company only at retail to insure that we were not tempting ourselves with prices that did not reflect what we had, as a business, invested in the writing of orders, planning, shipping, rent, electricity, etc that was part of any retail price.  So, at the end of the day, I paid the till $46.80, including a whopping 4% sales tax for my first down jacket.


It was still winter, and that parka kept me warm on my walk home that night.  And it kept on keeping me warm in all kinds of winter conditions until I outgrew it – yeah, adults outgrow clothes too!  I must have machine washed it 50 times over the years, stitched on patches as needed, and every time I put it on it felt like Christmas – warm, kind of weightless, and all in all,  a welcome, old friend, just like Christmas is supposed to be.