History Text Part 7

By the late 70s, GRIFFS had a strong brand and an enviable position within the motorcycle industry. Following initial success, GRIFFS began to expand its line into a broader range of offerings; enduro jackets, jerseys, t-shirts, gear bags, pants, shorts, team gear, rainsuits, heated electric clothing, and more. GRIFFS found success on all levels, worn by the best motocross racers everywhere from domestic races to the MX Des Nations, with enduro jackets conquering the mud from the Blackwater 100 to the ISDE.

“We were getting tons of orders” says Rolf, “but we couldn't meet the demand”. This problem of under-supply opened a hole for the Finnish-based hockey apparel manufacturers, notably Sinisalo, to go after Stanley 's private label customers. The Finnish government subsidized these companies, allowing them to offer better pricing and attractive payment terms of six months or more. Still, Stanley adamantly continued US production. “I probably should have sourced elsewhere but I wanted to keep jobs here” he recalled in 2007.

Meanwhile, a bigger problem was emerging. The other gear companies, especially JT Racing, were becoming marketing powerhouses. They had great ads, sponsored lots of athletes, and were fast becoming famous brands in the motocross industry. Stanley was a manufacturing guy, and he was lost when it came to marketing. GRIFFS had a great product, but that wasn't enough to keep up. Rolf remembered “We ran some ads here and there, but JT had all these spreads. We just got out-marketed and out-promoted”. In addition, gear companies were starting to pay the riders to wear their gear. “Hannah got an offer for $50k from JT. We couldn't match that.”