Chalk it up to another idea born on the river by a guide looking to make things better and easier. Yep, thanks to a longtime river runner, paddlers’ sunglasses have been staying on their heads through waves, holes and more for four decades.
Eyeglass retainer company Chums, founded by river guide Mike Tagget in Hurricane, Utah, way back in 1983, celebrates its 40th anniversary this season, marking four decades of helping keeping eyewear where it belongs.
With three offices and over 75 employees, today Chums manufactures as many as 15,000+ units a day today in its Hurricane, Utah facility, adhering to its “Born on the river/Made in the USA/Homegrown in Hurricane, UT” mantra.
Chums History in a Nutshell
But it wasn’t always that way. Chums has a long and storied history on the water. In 1983 Chums inventor Mike Taggett was tired of watching his customers lose their sunglasses to the bottom of the Colorado River, giving birth to the idea for the Original Cotton Chums. Living in the back of a VW van, Taggett began making his first round of retainers with a $60 sewing machine in 1981—eventually giving them the namesake of his trusty golden Lab dog, Chumley. By 1985, the company adopted Booby Bird, the blue-footed booby bird, as the Chums mascot and in 1993 it opened its first Chums retail store on Main Street in Hurricane, Utah.
In 1995, Chums opened a sales and design office in Portland, Oregon, before the Chuck Ferries family purchased the company in 2002. In 2007 Chums expanded its operations again, merging with Chisco and opened office in Salt Lake City. It branched out gain in 2014, rolling out their first accessory case, and the company opened a new office in Sun Valley, Idaho, in 2016.
“Over the three decades they’ve been around, they’ve learned a thing or two,” says company spokesperson Bridgett O’Hara. “Mostly how to have fun while still getting after it and they pride ourselves in having a team filled with the raddest, most talented people in the industry.”
New Chums Products to Put on Your Radar
Chums Camper Mug ($14.99)
- Ultra Lightweight
- Oversized 18.6 ounces – perfect for that tall can of beer or the iced beverage of your choice
- Unique ergonomic two-finger handle with an attached lanyard to clip to a bag or pack
- BPA-free and suitable for hot beverages up to 110 degrees
Floating Phone Protector ($19.99)
- Chums is known for being an insurance policy against your precious sunglasses, phone, and other essentials getting lost or ruined, and otherwise enhancing outdoor fun. Their Floating Phone Protector is great for the SUP, trip to the resort pool, and more. Touch screens on both sides let you do what you need to do.
New waist packs ($21.99-$36.99):
- Never Enough Pockets When Hiking?If you need just a bit of room, there’s the Neo Pocket (made from flexible neoprene for comfort). The Trekker can hold almost anything you’d need, and the Trail Dawg comes with a portable water bottle for a four-legged friend and extra room for water bottles too.
- The product that put Chums on the map 40 years ago, the made-in-USA Original eyewear retainer is the brand’s #1 best seller and has saved countless pairs of glasses from going for unintentional swims since its invention in 1983.
- Chums’ most popular wallet, boasting a slim, front pocket-friendly design and made from lightweight, durable ripstop material. Get it wet, get it dirty, and rest assured, knowing that your ID, credit cards, and other micro-essentials are organized and secure.
View timeline here: https://chums.com/pages/about-chums