This Grandma Wants To Keep The World Warm

They told Gertrude Boyle, 70, that she might not play well in Tokyo. The grandmother and businesswoman owns Columbia Sportswear Co., an outerwear company based in Portland, Ore. She's the star of Columbia's commercials, which depict her as a tough-talking matriarch who runs roughshod over her son, Tim, 45, the company's CEO. American audiences love the spots, which were crucial to turning Boyle's fledgling company into the world's largest manufacturer of outdoor apparel. But Columbia's Japanese distributor worried that shoppers would find "Mother Gert" offensive. Boyle persuaded them otherwise. Now, Columbia's jackets are best-sellers in Japan.

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