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Outdoor Retailer expo boosts both industry and local economy


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SALT LAKE CITY -- If you can't go on vacation, just go outside.

That's what exhibitors are saying at this year's Outdoor Retailer Summer Market, and thousands of people are taking their advice.

Many people have been forced to change their vacation plans due to the recession. For some, the backyard -- or at least somewhere closer to home -- is a more affordable option.

That's why the Outdoor Retailer expo is crucial to both the outdoor industry and to Utah's bottom line.


We've actually seen a great number of companies moving here or expanding operations to Utah, and we feel a lot of that is due to the fact that they've been introduced to the state of Utah through the Outdoor Retailer Market.

–Shawn Stinson, Salt Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau


More than 21,000 manufacturers, retailers and outdoor enthusiasts are in Utah for the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market -- the largest outdoor trade show in the country.

The market boosts Utah's economy by almost $20 million in less than a week, but that's just the beginning.

Outdoor Retailer expo boosts both industry and local economy

"We've actually seen a great number of companies moving here or expanding operations to Utah, and we feel a lot of that is due to the fact that they've been introduced to the state of Utah through the Outdoor Retailer Market," said Shawn Stinson with the Salt Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Over 40 Utah-based manufacturers are attending the expo, a number that keeps growing. That's good for Utah, but perhaps better for the outdoor industry.

Exhibitors say that while the recession packed a punch, its effects on the outdoor industry were minor when compared to other industries.

"This year the industry is up significantly," said Bill Conradt with Cascade Designs.

Exhibitors say the market is crucial if they want business to continue to grow.

"We definitely find this trade show to be key in our growing," said Mark Hsieh with Madrock Climbing. "This is where we show off all our new innovations, anything new in marketing that's coming out."

That leaves exhibitors feeling positive about the future.

"We always leave Salt Lake having better confidence about the marketplace because people are just enthusiastic," Conradt said.

Exhibitors have a message for Utahns: Take advantage of the resources here in Utah. They say there's no better place to enjoy the great outdoors.

The Outdoor Retailer Summer Market continues through Friday and the event is closed to the public.

E-mail: kmccord@ksl.com

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Keith McCord

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