Friday, October 8, 2010
Starting as the Portland Knitting Company with a few knitting machines above a small retail store in downtown Portland, Oregon, and later incorporated in January 27, 1910, Jantzen is now celebrating it's 100th year. A reunion was held to honor this monumental occasion.
A reunion celebration to mark the centenary milestone of the company started out as a small gathering but soon grew to impressive numbers due to an overwhelming response from former and current employees, almost 500 in total. The scheduled events over the course of two days, began with a golf scramble at Lake Oswego Municipal Golf course. The evening followed with a picnic at Historic Oaks Park on the Willamette River. Ironically this is the same river that the founders swam in 100 years earlier when testing Jantzen's first bathing suits and when rowing as members of Portland Rowing Club.
There were over 300 participants that dined on picnic fare and mingled together under a huge tent amid the giant oaks to the tunes of a single man band. They were treated to centenary t-shirts, cups and cooler bags that were handed out by current employees wearing old fashioned swims supplied by the archive dept. Many brought Jantzen memorabilia to share and seemed thrilled to be in the company of former friends and co-workers.
The next evening, festivities were held at the Double Tree Hotel. Guests, including current and former employees came from all over the country. They included former executives, designers, models, sales force, many departments and descendants of the Zehntbauer family. Licensees came from Mexico and Japan. As they entered the ballroom they viewed a display of beautiful suits on mannequins from the Jantzen Heritage Collection. Socializing and dinner followed. The program began with organizer Al Zindel speaking about the Women's division, Bob Ludeman, the Men's division, Ron Gustaff, the International Division and Jeff Harden, the Foundation D. Videos followed including the Zehntbauer Sisters at Jantzen and Lori Medici's Behind the Scenes, and Through the Decades. Robin Inman, granddaughter of founder John Zehntbauer, summed up the evening perfectly when she said, "It is humbling, all the love that is pouring out of you (attendees) for this company".