Jim Spring, the charismatic retail tracking pioneer, ski industry veteran, and founder of Boulder’s Leisure Trends Group, died Monday October 22nd at his home in Boulder, CO. Jim battled throat cancer and myelofibrosis, a rare bone marrow disorder, which was diagnosed in 2008. He was 75.
Jim was universally respected for his business acumen, keen retail wisdom, honesty and humor and most of all, one of the greatest belly-chuckles the world has ever known all of which he freely shared with employees, peers and the sports industries he served.
Known as “the smartest man in the specialty retail business” he pioneered the use of universal vendor codes at SMART Inc., a company he founded in 1970 in New Canaan, CT and later sold to retail tracking giant NPD Group. SMART was the first company in the world to capture point-of-sale information to be used by both retailers and manufacturers to understand market structure, product trends, and movement.
Jim continued to pioneer the retail tracking field at Leisure Trends Group a company he started in 1989 in Boulder, CO expanding business services to include market research and customer relationship management. This triad of services proved a successful combination for Leisure Trends which was voted one of Outside Magazine’s Best Places To Work in 2012 and has continued significant growth. Jim retired as President of Leisure Trends Group at age 74 to become chairman of the board of the company.
In his early years Jim worked for the American Broadcasting Company and Pittman an English publisher. Jim was an editor for several magazines in New York and Connecticut before becoming editor of Ski Business magazine and executive editor of SKI magazine.
Jim was born in Sudbury, MA on Aug. 14 1937 and attended Henry Ford’s historic Redstone School House, a one-room schoolhouse at the Wayside Inn. His family moved to Henniker New Hampshire where he was a high school basketball star. He attended Colgate University where he was a Delta Kappa Epsilon.
“I left in the middle of my sophomore year at Colgate to follow Jack Kerouac on the road. I never caught up with him but did manage to hitch across the country, experience what it was like to freeze and be hungry and ended up in Stowe, Vermont as a ski instructor. Two winters and summers later and after a stint as a fire warden on Mount Belvidere on the Canadian border, I headed for New York City looking for work,” he wrote in Colgate’s alumni magazine.
Jim served as the President and Chairman for ISHA, the International Skiing History Association from 2004 to 2007. Over his career Jim authored three books on retail management and the use of statistical information, and contributed to numerous publications such as American Demographics, Bicycle Retailer and Outdoor Insight. Jim enjoyed playing tennis, skiing, hikes, and had a constant affliction with golf courses.
Jim is survived by his wife of 22 years, Joy Spring, an older brother Russell Spring of Craftstbury VT, his younger sister Deborah Reed of Falmouth ME, his three children from a previous marriage, James Wright Spring, Elizabeth Hayden Spring and Thomas Cody Clarke Spring, his wife Laura, and two grandchildren, Sophia and Maxwell Spring.
For more details on the memorial and celebration of Jim’s life, click here.
To make a donation in memory of Jim cilck here.