“Do what’s right. Stand behind what you do every single minute of every day. Take care of people.”

ASB MAGAZINE: Paul Van Doren, the co-founder of Vans , has died at age 90, the company announced Friday. Van Doren launched the brand in skateboarding circles alongside his brother Jim Van Doren and two other partners. The first Vans store opened in 1966 in Anaheim, California and was an instant hit with the Southern California surfing community. Van Doren led the company at various times for the next two decades until it was sold in 1988. Vans is currently one of the most profitable divisions  of VF Corporation, with sales regularly exceeding $2b annually and with more than 300 Vans stores worldwide.


“It’s with a heavy heart that Vans announces the passing of our co-founder, Paul Van Doren.  Paul was not just an entrepreneur; he was an innovator,” the company tweeted.


“The Van Doren Rubber Co. was the culmination of a lifetime of experimentation and hard work in the shoe industry. Like Paul, from the first day of business, Vans was uniquely innovative. When the first Vans store opened, there were no stand-alone retail stores just for sneakers. Paul’s bold experiments in product design, distribution, and marketing, along with his knack for numbers, and a genius for efficiency turned Paul’s family shoe business into an all-American success story.”


Less than two weeks ago, Van Doren released on Amazon his autobiography, “Authentic: A Memoir by the Founder of Vans,” which details his life and the growth of the company to a force in the sneaker and apparel industries.


“We send our love and strength to the Van Doren family and the countless Vans Family members who have brought Paul’s legacy to life,” the company said via Twitter.



The Tweet was accompanied a photo of Van Doren smiling and giving a thumbs-up along with a quote  that stated, “Do what’s right. Stand behind what you do every single minute of every day. Take care of people.”


Van’s currently employs two of Paul Van Doren’s  five children: son Steve, who serves as Vans’ vice president of events and promotions, and daughter Cheryl, who is vice president of human resources.  Two grandchildren are also part of the once-family business. Kristy Van Doren serves as Vans’ senior director of marketing for the North Americas and Jenny Battiest works at the Costa Mesa-based company as merchandising manager for the Americas.