It was a chilly gray day in November 1976 when the Dreissigacker caravan of Dick, Peter, Peter's future wife Bari, and all their belongings, pulled into the old Vermont farm that would become the home of Concept2. They had spent the last year designing a faster oar for their own use, and thought maybe it had a future. Or if it didn’t, they would design something else. So they formed a partnership and Concept2 was born.
They had spent the summer cruising the United States looking for a place to settle, and by the fall, had chosen northern Vermont. They brought their boat and oars and camped alongside Waterbury Reservoir in Waterbury, Vermont, so they could train each morning for the Head Of The Charles Regatta. The rest of their days were spent looking for a place to start the business.
Pretty quickly, they found the old farm in Morrisville, Vermont. It was a beautiful October day with great weather and brilliant foliage. But once the foliage fades, early November can be a pretty bleak time in Northern Vermont. The morning they arrived at the farm it was cold and blustery and there was a coating of early snow on everything. The farmhouse had a rickety old oil burner for heat, so one of the first things they did was install a good wood-burning stove to keep the place warm.
Over the next few years, they fixed up the farmhouse, added a garden and a passive solar water-heating system, and began to clear out the barn to make room for oar production. The first prototype oars were rowed at the World Championships in Amsterdam in the summer of 1977, and the first actual oar sales came in the fall of that year.
In 1979, they hired their first employees. The first RowErg, the Model A, was introduced in 1981—designed to help rowers train during the winter. In the early years, most of Concept2’s customers were fellow rowers, often friends. So began the Concept2 tradition of creating high-quality products to serve our friends and our greater community. We’ve held firm to this tradition even as our community has grown well beyond old friends and teammates. Our products, our service, our extended customer support are all designed to take care of all our customers as we would our friends.
So here we are, 45 years after the founding of Concept2. As we write this, it’s blustery and chilly—just as it was 45 years ago. But we want to extend warm appreciation to all of you for joining the Concept2 community and making it the welcoming, vibrant, healthy community that it is.