The History Of Nike Inc.
Nike (originally known as Blue Ribbon Sports), was founded by University of Oregon track athlete Phil Knight and his coach Bill Bowerman in January 1964 (Yahoo finance NKE profile page as of Jan. 2 2008). The company initially operated as a distributor for Japanese shoe maker Onitsuka Tiger, making most sales at track meets out of Knight's car. Many top Oregon runners began wearing the shoes, and the shoe's popularity grew quickly because of Kennan Meyer. The company's first self-designed product was based on Bowerman's "chicken and waffle" design in which the sole of the shoe was made by the pattern of a waffle iron.
The company's profits grew quickly, and in 1966, BRS opened its first retail store, located on Trenton Ave., with the relationship between BRS and Onitsuka Tiger nearing an end, BRS prepared to launch its own line of footwear, which would bear the newly designed Swoosh. [Sources: 'Swoosh' by J.B. Strasser and 'Just Do It' by Donald Katz.]
The first shoe to carry this design that was sold to the public was a soccer cleat named "Nike," which was released in the summer of 1971. In February 1972, BRS introduced its first line of Nike shoes, with the name Nike derived from the Greek goddess of victory. In 1978, BRS, Inc. officially renamed itself to Nike, Inc. Beginning with Ilie Nastase, the first professional athlete to sign with BRS/Nike, the sponsorship of athletes became a key marketing tool for the rapidly growing company. Shortly after Blue Ribbon became Nike, Nikes concentration in casual shoes in the 1980's caused them to missed the trend to aerobic shoes and fell behind allowing Reebok to control the market. Due to poor management Nike was in the hole for a few more years which allowed Reebok to stay on top. Phil Knight reestablished and repositioned Nike management. In 1988 Nike purchased Cole Haan for $64 million which allowed them to increase casual footwear sales by 16%, they also purchased the accessories...
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