Public companies

Vista Outdoor relocates HQ to Anoka

Minnesota picked up a public company late last year when Vista Outdoor moved its headquarters from Utah to Anoka.

The maker of outdoor consumer and shooting sports products moved its headquarters into a distribution center of Federal Ammunition, its largest subsidiary, about 3 miles from Federal Ammunition’s manufacturing facility.

Federal employs 1,400 between the distribution center and manufacturing facility, and the corporate center has 120 employees.

Vista would have ranked No. 22, were it included in the most recent Star Tribune list of Minnesota’s public companies.

Vista Outdoor’s CEO is Christopher Metz. He was CEO of Minnesota-based Arctic Cat Inc. before the maker of snowmobiles and ATVs was acquired by Textron Inc. of Providence, R.I., in March 2017. Metz joined Vista in October 2017.

His initial compensation included a $500,000 signing bonus and also $110,000 in commuting expenses for Metz’s travel between his home in Florida and Utah.

Company officials said Metz lives in Florida but spends most of his time on the road between the Anoka headquarters and those of its various brands. They include Bell, Blackburn, Bushnell, Federal and Giro.

Vista last fiscal year cut $44 million in administrative expenses, including closing its former corporate office in Utah.

Vista operates two business segments: outdoor products, including outdoor cooking equipment, binoculars and range finders, bicycle helmets, and gun-cleaning supplies; and shooting sports products.

For the fiscal year ended March 31, the company had $2.1 billion in revenue, down 11% from 2018 due partly to the sale of its eyewear business. Ammunition was the biggest segment, accounting for $883.1 million in sales or 43% of overall revenue.

Patrick Kennedy

Tourism

Minneapolis area broke record in 2018

The Minneapolis area welcomed a record 34.5 million visitors in 2018, up 3.7% from 2017, according to tourism-research firm DK Shifflet and Meet Minneapolis, which markets the area as a destination for conventions.

Meet Minneapolis said visitors spent $8 billion, up 3.3%.

“These increases in visitors and spending … mean we’re moving in the right direction. … Minneapolis is a world-class destination,” Mayor Jacob Frey said in a statement. “The tourism and hospitality industry accounts for close to 36,000 jobs in Minneapolis — the fourth largest driver of jobs in the city by industry — underscoring the role tourism plays in our economic success.”

The visitor count has risen every year since 2010, according to Meet Minneapolis. Hotel occupancy was 70.8%, up from 68.5% in 2017. The number of tourism-hospitality jobs increased 3% in 2018.

In addition to 2018 Super Bowl events, which attracted an estimated 125,000 visitors; the American Legion’s 100th National Convention in August, brought in nearly 10,000 attendees. The Society of Women Engineers conference attracted 12,000 people. About 23,000 will converge July 11-15 on Minneapolis for the 2019 Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod Youth Gathering. The X Games are expected to attract 100,000-plus, between August 1-4, for the third year in a row.

Neal St. Anthony

med-TECH

Device should improve walking for patients

After years of development, a Minnesota-designed sensory prosthesis intended to improve walking abilities in patients with little to no feeling in their legs is hitting the commercial market, starting with patients who are veterans.

Eden Prairie-based RxFunction announced the launch of its Walkasins system. It seeks to improve gait and walking speed in patients who have a condition called peripheral neuropathy in the lower limbs.

“This marks the culmination of building the organization, hiring and training sales and operational staff, launching our walk2Wellness long-term clinical trial and publishing results of an earlier clinical trial,” RxFunction CEO Tom Morizio said in a news release. “We will first offer Walkasins within the Veterans Administration, which has a large number of veterans with peripheral neuropathy.”

With sensory peripheral neuropathy, nerve damage in the feet causes numbness, often as a result of diabetes or chemotherapy, leading to difficulties walking and a higher risk for falls. The Walkasins system doesn’t restore nerve function, but rather uses sensors worn in the shoes and vibratory units worn on the ankles to give patients a sense of how their feet are moving and when to take the next step. No surgery is required.

The Walkasins system is available with a doctor’s prescription. The company said patients with peripheral neuropathy who have balance problems can talk to their doctor, or go to the website rxfunction.com.

The walk2Wellness study is being conducted at theMinneapolis Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Fairview Health Services and Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.

Joe Carlson