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DULUTH LORE

man in scuba gear welding a pipe under water

THERE’S GOT TO BE A BETTER WAY

Tough. Functional. Comfortable. Since 1989, we’ve been on the job – building innovative gear for can-do guys and highly capable women. With our Midwest catalog and online roots, and a national network of over 50 stores, the Duluth Trading experience is a colorful one.

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Before there was ever an Angry Beaver, there was a Bucket Boss®. This invention was literally a new category of tool organizers, created by three enterprising tradesmen in Duluth who incorporated in 1989. The first catalog under the Duluth Trading name was mailed in 1993, focusing on tool bags and organizers. Later, the company changed hands and moved to a new home in Belleville, Wisconsin.

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1987 – Bucket Boss® (a trademark of Pull’r Holding Company)


1992 – First Portable Products Catalog


1993 – Headquarters on a barge in Duluth


1993 – First Duluth Trading Company Catalog


2000 – Under new management

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In 2002, Duluth Trading created a successful line of shirts called Longtail T® Shirts, which were 3” longer and marketed as the Solution to Plumber’s Butt. The focus shifted to innovative, problem-solving workwear, as well as humorous, cheeky advertising that leveraged the company’s illustrated catalogs. Three years later, in 2005, the first women's catalog was released by popular request.

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2001 – Duluth Trading Company purchased by Gempler’s


2002 – Longtail T® Shirt debuts


2003 – Fire Hose® Workwear debuts


2003 – Gempler’s is sold and Duluth Holdings Inc. is born


2005 – First Duluth Women’s Catalog


2008 – Readjusting in a time of recession

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In 2010, the first Duluth Trading retail store opened in Mount Horeb, Wisconsin, where Duluth Holdings is now headquartered. In 2011, the company’s first TV ad was regionally tested. This animated spot developed by ad agency Planet Propaganda featured the company’s unofficial mascot discovering, to his dismay, that Fire Hose® Work Pants are “Tougher Than an Angry Beaver’s Teeth.”

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2009 – First Duluth Woman model


2009 – Men’s denim pants dubbed Ballroom® Jeans


2010 – Buck Naked™ Underwear debuts


2010 – First Men’s TV ad with the Angry Beaver


2010 – First retail store opens

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The “Store Like No Other” retail concept was expanded to 6 locations. Customers across the Midwest came to see, touch and try on Duluth goods in person. At the same time, more and more quirky animated creatures graced the airwaves and helped drive sales. The Women’s business found its footing, the Alaskan Hardgear® brand was acquired, and Duluth Holdings, Inc. made its initial public offering.

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2011 – First Duluth Women model contest


2012 – DuluthFlex® clothing debuts


2014 – Women’s No-Yank® Tank debuts


2014 – STIHL TIMBERSPORTS® partnership


2014 – Alaskan Hardgear® brand is acquired


2015 – Six more retail stores open


2015 – Duluth Trading Co. goes public

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The first live-action Women’s TV ads touted the No-Yank® Tank to end the war on tug. The company expanded its dialogue with customers through greater social media presence. Store count steadily marched toward 50 stores coast to coast.

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2016 – Socks Education campaign debuts


2017 – Men’s Bullpen® Underwear


2017 – Official USA Luge Off-Sled Outfitter


2017 – First Alaskan Hardgear® catalog


2018 – Buy Online, Pick Up In Store


2018 – Women’s Plus Sizes

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Duluth Trading continues as an omnichannel lifestyle brand serving hardworking men and women wherever they wish to shop. Continued growth and investment are seen in specialty brands Alaskan Hardgear and Best Made. Well-positioned as a direct-to-consumer business as well as a retailer, Duluth Trading survives and thrives during ongoing business disruptions.

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2019 – 50th store opens in Spokane Valley, WA


2019 – Women's Rebrand-Wayforgers Launch


2020 – Best Made Co. brand acquired


2021 – 65th store opens in Florence,KY


2021 – Corporate ESG and Greater Purpose narrative announced


2021 – Launch of Best Made Apparel by Duluth Trading Co.

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Duluth Trading relaunches the Men’s and Women’s brands as a single brand called Duluth. The Duluth brand focuses more tightly on work-related apparel and gear. Alaskan Hardgear gets a rebrand as AKHG, and now specializes in outdoor recreation apparel and goods for men and women. The company shifts toward a fully digital customer shopping experience.

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2022 – Duluth Brand launched for men and women


2022 – Alaskan Hardgear relaunched as AKHG for men and women