Glen Casey and Cathy Sullivan, owners of Patagonia in Byron Bay.
Glen Casey and Cathy Sullivan, owners of Patagonia in Byron Bay. Mireille Merlet-Shaw

Swell times at Patagonia, Byron Bay

A LOVE of surfing and the natural environment led Glen Casey and his partner Cathy Sullivan to establish the Byron Bay Patagonia store 12 months ago after moving from Victoria's surfing capital of Torquay.

Patagonia sells surf equipment, lifestyle and outdoor clothing and has a strong environmental focus with both its products and grants to environmental campaigns and fair-trade commitment.

The couple moved to the Northern Rivers last year to build a home on land they purchased at Tintenbar, and to raise their three-year-old daughter, Willow.

"We made a conscious decision to step out of corporate life to raise Willow in a natural environment," Glen said.

After learning to surf as a child and competing at the Bells Beach Pro, Glen said he gravitated to a career within the surfing industry, starting at Rip Curl in 1980, followed by working at the surf clothing agency, Rusty, for 25 years while Cathy has worked for Quick Silver.

"In 2008 My family introduced the Patagonia brand to Australia and I was brand manager with Patagonia in Torquay for six years," Glen said.

While Patagonia bought back the Australian company four years ago, when Glen and Cathy decided to move to Byron Bay, they were offered their own shop - the only locally owned Patagonia store within the Australian franchise.

Glen says he and Cathy feel passionately about nature and their responsibility to the environment for their children and future generations and it was Patagonia's environmental credentials that first attracted him to the company, Glen said.

"They were one of the first companies in the world to go completely organic with their cotton clothing and we thought Australia was ready for environmentally-friendly products such as wetsuits with recycled content," he said.

"We feel you can be environmentally responsible and minimise your impact on the world around you and still run a successful business.

"Patagonia had everything we were looking for. The other Australian shops are owned by the company, but we own this one and they don't give them out easily."

The company also has stores in Torquay, Sydney, Manly and Burleigh Heads.

Patagonia's goal of leaving a green footprint extends to every product it produces, along with a commitment to assist grassroots environmental groups and campaigns, something that has been well received locally.

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