GREENSBORO — Prospect Brands announced Tuesday that it has acquired Duck Head, the venerable clothing and shoe company currently based in Richmond, Va. It’s planned to relaunch in Greensboro this spring.

It’s the company’s second brand.

Prospect’s original brand is Gerbing, a heated clothing company that’s planning to relocate its corporate headquarters to Greensboro from Stoneville after the City Council approved incentives of $150,000 in August.

Tom Nolan, CEO of Prospect Brands and Gerbing, declined to disclose the terms of the Duck Head deal.

“The opportunity to work on and be a part of a brand that is almost 150 years old and is a true icon is one that doesn’t come along very often,” Nolan wrote in an email. “We are always looking to add the right brands to the portfolio.”

Gerbing doesn’t have the name recognition that Duck Head has, but it’s established in its niche market. Cabela’s, one of the nation’s pre-eminent outdoor retailers, has been selling Gerbing’s merchandise since last year. Gerbing also has partnered with Harley-Davidson since 1996.

Roger Beahm, executive director of the Wake Forest University Center for Retail Innovation, said the name recognition of Duck Head allows Prospect to expand faster than it could with just a niche brand like Gerbing.

“What you’re looking for is synergy that creates a win for both partners, and it looks like perhaps this could be a situation where that’s the case,” Beahm said.

“I do think it all boils down to the fact that they looked at their established brand, Gerbing, and made the conclusion that they needed to grow faster than they could with that brand alone,” he said.

Beahm pointed out that moving from a single-brand niche company into fashion presents new challenges and requires more resources.

But Nolan’s experience as a former executive for Polo Ralph Lauren will likely be an asset, he said.

“Almost everyone has seen the Duck Head icon and is familiar with the brand,” Beahm said. “Now, it’s up to Prospect to demonstrate that they can create the fashion and the function of products in demand.”


GREENSBORO — Prospect Brands announced Tuesday it acquired Duck Head, a clothing and shoe company currently based in Richmond, Va.

It's the company's second brand.

Its first brand is Gerbing, an electronic clothing company that is planning to relocate its corporate headquarters to Greensboro from Stoneville after city council approved $150,000 in incentives in August.

Duck Head will operate in Greensboro. Tom Nolan, CEO of Prospect Brands and Gerbing, declined to disclose terms of the deal. 

"The opportunity to work on and be a part of a brand that is almost 150 years old and is a true icon is one that doesn't come along very often," Nolan wrote in an email. "We are always looking to add the right brands to the portfolio." 

Cabela's, a national outdoor recreation retailer specializing in hunting, fishing and camping, has been selling Gerbing's merchandise since last year. It has also partnered with Harley-Davidson since 1996.

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Contact Kelly Poe at (336) 373-7003, and follow @kelly_poe on Twitter.

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