Outdoor Retailer, in cooperation with Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) and Grassroots Outdoor Alliance, will solicit proposals for venue locations for shows and events scheduled for 2019 and beyond. Outdoor Retailer will maintain its current contract in Salt Lake City through Summer 2018.
“Outdoor Retailer has always been about ‘Right time, right place, right stuff,’” said Marisa Nicholson, show director for Outdoor Retailer. “We’ve been listening to the concerns from the industry and agree that it’s time to explore our options. Salt Lake City has been an incredible home to Outdoor Retailer and the outdoor community for the past 20 years, and we aren’t opposed to staying, but we need to do what’s best for the industry and for the business of outdoor retail.”
These concerns are due in part by the recent actions of Utah Governor Gary Herbert that sparked the exit of Patagonia from the show, one of Outdoor Retailer’s biggest brands.
“Utah Gov. Gary Herbert signed a resolution on Friday urging the Trump administration to rescind the Bears Ears National Monument, making it clear that he and other Utah elected officials do not support public lands conversation nor do they value the economic benefits – $12 billion in consumer spending and 122,000 jobs – that the outdoor recreation industry brings to their state,” said Rose Marcario, president and CEO of Patagonia in a statement. “Because of the hostile environment they have created and their blatant disregard for Bears Ears National Monument and other public lands, the backbone of our business, Patagonia will no longer attend the Outdoor Retailer show in Utah and we are confident other outdoor manufacturers and retailers will join us in moving our investment to a state that values our industry and promotes public lands conversation.”
“Grassroots Outdoor Alliance, in partnership with OIA and Outdoor Retailer, is committed to ensuring the best possible tradeshow cycle and experience for our retailers and vendor partners,” said Rich Hill, president of Grassroots Outdoor Alliance. “Our 62 independent specialty retailers look forward to being in a location that from a business, cultural, and values standpoint, best serves our industry.”
Choosing a new host city requires careful consideration of factors that affect the tradeshow business, as Darrell Denny, executive vice president for Emerald Exposition’s Sports Group, explains: “Our responsibilities as producers of the Outdoor Retailer shows require us to consider all aspects of any city and state that may serve as host to the thousands of brands, retailers, media and others who make up the entire outdoor community. Those criteria include facilities, hotels, transportation, labor costs, environmental policies and the degree to which host states are in sync with outdoor industry values. This decision allows us to explore new venues while taking all of these factors into account.”