BY: SARAH MCKENZIE
North Loop retailer Askov Finlayson has launched a “Keep the North Cold” campaign and has pledged to donate proceeds from the sale of its popular North hats to Arctic explorer and environmentalist Will Steger’s Climate Generation organization.
The store’s North hats, which have sold out multiple times, are back on the shelves. The retailer at 204 N. 1st St. has also expanded the North brand to T-shirts, sweatshirts, water bottles, pennants, hockey pucks, baseball caps and mittens as part of an effort to create a simple new identity for the region.
Eric Dayton, who co-founded Askov Finlayson with his brother Andrew, said Steger has been a close friend and mentor to him. He joined the explorer on a six-month, 2,000-mile dogsled expedition to the Arctic in 2004 to raise awareness about climate change. More than 2 million students followed the journey online.
“That was my introduction to seeing the impacts of climate change on the northern region of the world,” Dayton said. “It really does happen much more quickly and dramatically the further north you go, and Will really opened my eyes to that.”
The retailer plans to pledge $1 for every North product sold to Climate Generation.
The North hats cost $29. Askov Finlayson has sold thousands of them and had more than 800 people on the waiting list for the store to notify when more became available.
“The response to our North hats since day one has been overwhelming,” Dayton said. “Our customers have been asking for additional ways to show their regional pride, and Keep the North Cold is an opportunity to take the momentum around the North and turn it into a larger movement for good.”
Steger said he’s thrilled about the partnership.
“The company’s North movement is already changing the way people view our region, and our hope is this partnership will change the way people think about climate change as well,” he said. “Through the sale of North products at Askov Finlayson, we’ll be able to educate and empower the next generation to help keep the North cold.”
Steger announced the rebranding of his organization as Climate Generation: A Will Steger Legacy in May. The organization is working on a number of fronts to confront climate change, including developing youth leaders at high schools throughout the state, hosting community conversations about the issue and lobbying for clean energy policies.
Climate Generation also recently selected 10 teachers to serve as education ambassadors for the upcoming United Nation’s climate change summit in Paris. The teachers will be part of a Window into Paris program that will allow them to share firsthand accounts from the conference with students around the country via webcasts and daily blogs.