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Outdoor Retailers Convention Underway

Outdoor Retailers Convention Underway

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Keith McCord ReportingIt's not only back to school, it's the time of year we see a lot of canoes on SUV's around town; that's a sure sign of the Outdoor Retailers Convention. It's Salt Lake's largest and most lucrative convention.

Today was day one and it runs through Sunday. This is the show's 26th year. More than 20,000 people are expected to attend, including both manufacturers of the latest outdoor recreation equipment and the store owners who will buy the stuff and have in their stores next year.

Each year buyers have a chance to try out some of the gear before placing orders. This week they're on the water at Pineview Reservoir.

During the next four days they'll place millions of dollars worth of orders.

Frank Hugelmeyer, president of the Outdoor Industry Assn., said, "It's the largest outdoor show in the world and the largest in Salt Lake so far."

This show is the reason that the Salt Palace was expanded a year ago, and the extra space was put to good use.

Executive Director Salt Lake Convention & Visitors Bureau, Scott Beck, said, "The one thing we noticed is that people who were in the new section absolutely demanded to be back in the new section. But now we've seen the traffic flows, we've been able to add some booths. So there's a growth component, we're a bigger show this year then we were last year."

Statistics from last year's show indicate that most of the 7,000 buyers who attend are from Utah and from our neighboring western states, an indication of the many recreation opportunities in the region. But company reps are here from coast to coast, and the number of foreign manufacturers and buyers is really starting to take off.

Hugelmeyer said, "It attracts from China, from Asia, Argentina, from Chile, some of the emerging markets that are now trying to get into the, trying to create an active outdoor lifestyle within their own country."

This convention, and its winter counterpart, is a goldmine for Utah, contributing nearly $6-billion to the state's economy. Boating, camping, fishing, skiing and all the equipment that make it possible, it's all a big deal for our state.

"We generate 65,000 jobs, and that's growing because of the companies moving into the state. And we generate $300-million in state tax revenue each and every year," Hugelmeyer said.

As we mentioned, the Salt Palace was expanded to accommodate this show and it's already full to the max! It was just announced this week, that starting next year, the Outdoor Show will start using the Energy Solutions Arena to help with the ever-expanding show.

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