Coldwater Creek is a specialty direct mail retailer of apparel, gifts, jewelry, and home accessories. The company was founded in 1984 by Dennis and Ann Pence with one catalog that included 18 items. Today, the company has a unique brand identity and loyal customer base built through providing exceptional value, superior customer service, and a desirable line of merchandise that reflects a casual, North American spirit.
Prior to Coldwater Creek, Dennis Pence served as a national marketing manager with Sony Corp. in New York City. After he and his wife, who worked in retail advertising, tired of urban life, they decided to move to Idaho and start their own company. They started working out of their apartment and for the first two years of the company's operations, they did everything for themselves, including taking customer calls. The company published its first catalog in 1985, and in the following years, sales expanded rapidly. In 1989, the Company reached $1.2 million in sales. The company went public in 1997, with an initial public offering of 2.5 million shares of stock.
Coldwater Creek is known for its commitment to customer service. Customer service agents are enrolled in an intensive, two-week computer and product training program, then assigned a "buddy" who monitors their calls for a week. Customer service and shipping department error rates average well below two-tenths of 1 percent, among the lowest in the catalog industry. Abandoned call rates average less than one-half of 1 percent, eight times lower than the industry standard.