Like many New England towns, Lincoln was once a bustling mill town with sawmills, a pulp and paper mill, and the largest logging railroad in New England. Over the decades, the mills closed, and hotels were built around the ski mountain. The economy turned from manufacturing to tourism. But one determined company is working to bring manufacturing back to one of the old mills.
“The idea first started around 2011. I spent much of my childhood enjoying the mountains of New Hampshire and Vermont. I like to say it was all ‘ice cream and swimming holes.’ It wasn’t until I came back to the White Mountains as an adult that I realized how tough it can be to live here,” says Burgeon Founder, Rudy Glocker. “I wanted to find a way to give back to the communities that gave me so much.”
In a world of L.L. Bean, Patagonia, and North Face, it might be difficult to break into the outdoor apparel industry but Burgeon is taking a different approach. All of Burgeon’s products are made in their studio in The Village Shops in Lincoln or Merrow Manufacturing in Fall River, Massachusetts. Machine-sewn by local artisans, Burgeon is dedicated to using high-quality materials that will stand up to the elements of the White Mountains and beyond.
“Our products are designed and tested in the White Mountains. Unlike other outdoor apparel companies, we can test our gear right outside our doorstep and modify it in a matter of days,” says Glocker. Glocker and his team, including mountain guide and Burgeon General Manager, Justin Walsh, have tested their gear this past winter, spring, and summer. They also had a little help from Philip Carcia, a well known mountain athlete who recently broke the speed record when he hiked all 48 of New Hampshire 4000 foot mountains every month for a full year. Carcia was able to provide the Burgeon team with valuable feedback on their products in real-time so Burgeon could continue to innovate their products to meet the demands of outdoor enthusiasts.
In a few short weeks, Burgeon will be launching their first three lines of apparel to the world. Each apparel line is named after iconic White Mountain peaks or ridges. The Flume Base Collection is a fast-wicking and comfortable base layer perfect for laying under your ski jacket or wearing around the house for après ski. The Franconia Mid Layer, made of Polartec Power Stretch Pro, adds an extra layer of warmth and flexibility on those below zero days or for peak bagging in the spring or fall months. The Washington Outer Collection combines Polartec Windpro and DWR (durable water repellent) to keep you warm and dry when the weather changes. And we all know how fast the weather can change in the White Mountains!
Burgeon is a brand built on its mission, which is “to preserve and enhance the enjoyment of the outdoors by investing in the people, economy, environment and social fabric of outdoor communities.” Five percent of each Burgeon sale is donated to community and environmental efforts in the White Mountains so generations of people can continue to enjoy the mountains for years to come.
“Burgeon products are New Hampshire made. We have a team of three local artisans who work right in our studio in Lincoln to finish all our products. As we continue to grow, we hope to hire more local community members. Not all our artisans have extensive sewing skills, but we’ve trained them, and they are producing incredible work that we’re proud to sell,” says Justin Walsh. One of the reasons that Glocker chose Lincoln for Burgeon’s headquarters was the strong work ethic and pride that its community members have for the work they do.
While Burgeon will be launching in November with only a few products, they have been working hard on developing additional apparel lines for women and lifestyle products for those who desire less technical merchandise. Product will be available both online and their shop in Lincoln in mid-November — just in time for the holidays!
“Our Lincoln location is just the beginning. I want Burgeon to be a model that can be replicated across mountain towns in the United States and beyond. In 10 years, I hope we have locations in other New Hampshire towns such as North Conway, down the Appalachians, and even the Rockies. We want to be where people go to enjoy the mountains,” says Glocker.
For more information about Burgeon, visit their website or stop by their studio at the Village Shops in Lincoln.