Bomber Industries expanding |

Bomber Industries expanding

Summit Daily/Kristin Skvorc

SILVERTHORNE ” Bomber Industries began in a 600-square-foot former weight room at an old health center in Silverthorne without any heat or windows.

Twelve years later, the hardboot snowboard binding company has moved into a bigger building, expanded into the production of telemark bindings and the distribution of boots, splitboards and accessories and gone global, with distributors in Europe, Norway and Korea.

With business continuing to bulge, local owner Fin Doyle is preparing to move his operation again, from its current shop on West 10th Street to a larger building in town.

The Silverthorne Town Council approved a conditional use permit Wednesday allowing Doyle to operate the production business in the town’s commercial district.

The council also approved a conditional use permit for an apartment on the second level of the new building, where Doyle will live.

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“You kind of have a proven track record,” said Councilmember Dave Koop. “It’s encouraging to see a hometown industry gradually thrive.”

The new space will be three times larger than the company’s current business, which consists of a small office space and an adjoining L-shaped warehouse ” no larger than a three-car garage ” where the bindings are made.

Doyle employs two full-time staff members and hires five or six part-time employees during the busier winter months, but said that could change with more space.

“We’ll expand, we’ll grow, we’ll need employees ” we’ll have the room for them,” Doyle said.

Although 80 percent of bomber sales are made online, one of the main reasons for the move is to allow more room for on-site purchases.

The new shop will have a showroom to service walk-in customers who want to check out Bomber products.

The room will also house a carving museum, where Doyle will display his collection of old carving boards from the 1980s.

Not wanting to get a “real” job, Doyle moved to Summit County from the Bay Area after graduating from college.

With a mechanical engineering degree in hand, he landed a job as a snowboard instructor at Copper Mountain.

After seeing the classic plastic plate bindings break on snowboards time after time, he thought there had to be a way to make a better quality product.

He and a friend, who would later become a business partner, designed and made a prototype and began selling it to friends.

In 1992, the 2 1/3 business partner started the small binding company. At first they outsourced production because their small office space couldn’t support manufacturing equipment, but that was expensive.

“Our product wasn’t profitable, thus we didn’t grow,” Doyle said. “You have to spend money to make money.”

By 1999, Doyle was ready to take that plunge. He bought out his two partners, who were ready to move on to new endeavors, and moved into his current warehouse.

“That was like the evolutionary jump in Bomber,” Doyle said.

Since then, he’s added other ways to make money into the mix, including the foray into manufacturing telemark bindings, which came about five years ago.

Back then, he had noticed telemark skiing was blossoming as a sport, but didn’t think there was a viable market for his product.

“Why would I make $300, high-end bindings for guys who wear woolly pants and drive beat-up cars?” Doyle said.

Then one day at A-Basin, he noticed a bunch of newer-model cars loaded up with new telemark gear and knew that something had changed.

The company has been manufacturing the Bishop telemark binding ever since. In addition, it still manufactures its original alpine snowboarding binding ” the Trenchdigger ” designed for carvers, as well as about a half-dozen other models.

Doyle described his operation as high quality but low-volume.

“We’re not Ford, we’re the Porsche of bindings,” he said.

Doyle’s not really sure where his business will go in the next five years, but who knows, it could take a turn into the automotive industry: In his free time, Doyle has been toying around with a prototype of an after-market intake manifold designed for Subarus.

“Bottom line: I see some big growth,” Doyle said.

Doyles hopes to move into the new location next month.

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