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Mount Bohemia announces a third-party retail program

KEWEENAW COUNTY — In an effort to quell social media discord regarding Mount Bohemia and the Lac La Belle Lodge and Bear Belly Pit Stop, Mount Bohemia on Monday announced a third-party retailers program in which the ski lodge plans partner with stores to sell Mount Bohemia merchandise.

According to a release posted to Instagram, Mount Bohemia will provide merchandise at no cost to any brick-and-mortar retailer located within 45 miles of the ski resort, said Lonie Glieberman, owner of the Mount Bohemia Ski Resort. Trademarked items will be provided to retail businesses, but only when the retailer sells the product is any money owed to Mount Bohemia. The two parties split the profits after the cost of the merchandise is paid for.

Any unsold merchandise can be returned to Mount Bohemia free of cost.

Glieberman said the program is essentially a partnership by which Mt. Bohemia and local shops work together to sell Mt. Bohemia merchandise.

Under the program, there are a number of benefits to the retailer, said Glieberman: the retailer incurs no cost to acquire the merchandise; the retailer can sell official Mount Bohemia merchandise and only pays back cost when the item is sold; and the retailer retains 50 percent of the profit with no financial risk of unsold merchandise.

“Obviously, the idea is that shops want to sell Mt. Bohemia merchandise,” said Glieberman, “and Mt. Bohemia wants to protect its trademark (name) and its brand image.”

Over the past eight days, Mt. Bohemia has talked with many parties involved, including local retail stores, customers, and township board members, Glieberman said. The intention is to arrange a partnership that works for the store and works for Mt. Bohemia.

Glieberman said the wording of the program agreement underwent several revisions. Either the agreement was written to favor Mt. Bohemia, or it more favored the businesses, but finally one was created that seems fair to everyone involved.

“There are two main objectives,” he explained. “to protect the Mt. Bohemia brand image and allow stores to sell Mt. Bohemia merchandise.”

In addition to Mt. Bohemia protecting its brand, Glieberman said there is another significant benefit to the business owners: Mt. Bohemia has extremely high purchasing power, by which the company buys merchandise in bulk quantities of thousands, whereas smaller businesses most often purchase the minimum standard 72. Smaller purchases cost much more, because the cost of setting up print machines is the same, whether 72 items are produced, or 1,500.

“So, right off the bat,” he said, “Mt. Bohemia can help the ‘small mom and pop’ stores, because it has the buying power to pay 20-30% less than the smaller stores’ wholesale purchasing power.”

Businesses interested in selling Mt. Bohemia merchandise will receive it for free. The profit of any sales will be split, but only on the Mt. Bohemia merchandise that is sold, Glieberman explained. Their profit per item will be higher, because the item was originally purchased at 30% less.

“So, even though there is a split in the profits, the store is still coming out good,” he explained, “because our cost to purchase is so much lower than what they would normally pay per shirt, because their purchasing, say 72, instead of, say, 1,500 of one item.”

Secondly, he said, the business will not pay out money in November. The stores that were marketing Mt. Bohemia merchandise in the past, were writing checks for thousands of dollars, say in November, and the merchandise, depending on the weather, may sell in Jan. or Feb. or March, forcing the business to earn a return on the investment. If the weather is bad, said Glieberman, and the items do not sell, the business may have to sit on them for a whole year before seeing a return on them.

“In this case, we give them the merchandise they select of our styles,” he said, “and whatever they don’t sell, they can return to us.

“We enter into an agreement, they then get the merchandise, they don’t pay anything for it. If they sell an item, the first thing they would pay for would be the cost of the merchandise, then the two parties will split the profit.”

Glieberman said merchandise is not necessarily restricted to just merchandise bearing the Mt. Bohemia logo or brand.

“We’ll consider anything,” he said. “Obviously, the first thing is, we’re hoping that all parties can work together. If you want to be done with the legal stuff. Say, if Troy (Westcott) wants to sell Mt. Bohemia merchandise, he can zero legal costs.”

Glieberman said he does not want to sue anyone for any damages. All Mt. Bohemia wants is that their brand is protected.

“If Lac La Belle likes this,” he said, “the merchandise is arriving in December; they can have merchandise on their shelves before Christmas, and no more legal bills for either one of us. It will all be done.”

In response to those arguing against Glieberman having trademarked the name Mount Bohemia, he said, again, it was to protect the brand image the name has come to be associated with.

“While Mount Bohemia was here long before 2000,” he said, “before it was a ski hill, Mt. Bohemia was not some famous place that people from Chicago or further away would travel to come to every winter.”

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