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Pioneer company keeps hits coming

Spanning the length of the 20th century, and connecting widely divergent cultures, the venerable Pendleton nameplate may be one of the very few surviving brands that can link together such authentically American legends as Geronimo and The Beach Boys.

In its earliest days, the frontier woolen mill was a key resource for the vividly colored and richly symbolic woolen blankets and robes worn by Native Americans. Indeed, it's the only surviving supplier, and the company still cherishes its close ties to Native American tribes, especially in the Northwest, said Mort Bishop III, president.

Indeed, when Bishop, describes Pendleton's century-old ties to the Native American, he details an intensely close, almost spiritually felt relationship, one that carries with it as many obligations as opportunities.

"One of our concerns has always been to preserve that relationship and we are very careful not to allow the retail business to compromise the design, the quality or the authenticity of the product."

At the same time, a more recent business for Pendleton, its classic woolen plaid shirt, became a '60s icon, and defined The Beach Boys look, and even their name for a while. Forty years ago and just starting out, The Beach Boys were originally called the Pendletones, named for their signature look of Pendleton woolen shirts worn over tee shirts and jeans. Pendleton shirts adorned most of their album covers throughout the 60s.

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