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Salt Lake fights to keep Outdoor Retailer show

Salt Lake fights to keep Outdoor Retailer show



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SALT LAKE CITY — The Outdoor Retailer show is considering new digs away from the Salt Palace and Utah, but "Visit Salt Lake" says it's ready for battle. The large, semi-annual Outdoor Retailer show has given notice that it might leave Salt Lake City after 2014.

CEO Scott Beck said that Outdoor Retailer has told him that it's just looking for the right fit as it continues to grow.

"They've given clear explanations as to what the right city looks like," he said. "They've also been very clear to say there's no such thing as the right city."

Beck said the negotiations are common to all types of shows constantly searching for the most floor space and hotels to welcome the most people. He added that Salt Lake can still handle it, with room to grow.

"Our outdoor environment and the ability to grow and expand their activities in the outdoor environment are still untapped here," Beck said.

Beck said Outdoor Retailer brings 22,000 people to the Salt Palace every year, and they spend $40 million locally. He said Salt Lake has enough hotel rooms and convention floor space, but Outdoor Retailer wants 900 taxicabs, which the city doesn't have.

"It's just what we go through all the time in this industry. There's no such thing as a sure thing, he said. "You've always got to be improving, you've always got to be communicating your client, and this is just a client that we do that with a lot."

He said his group, and the local and state governments, will prove to the huge, semi-annual Outdoor Retailer show that it should stay at the Salt Palace.

"We're addressing their needs in terms of what we can offer, additional amenities that we know that they need. We know what it means for convention center expansion, hotel rooms and taxicabs. They've been very clear," Beck said.

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Peter Samore

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