What events like Outdoor Retailer do for the outdoor industry

What events like Outdoor Retailer do for the outdoor industry

(Cara MacDonald, KSL.com)

Estimated read time: 3-4 minutes

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DENVER — Outdoor Retailer has been a staple of the outdoor recreation industry for years, but many people don’t fully understand what it does for the outdoor industry or why it has such a massive economic impact.

“Outdoor Retailer Summer Market is North America’s largest trade show in the outdoor industry, drawing attendees from around the world,” the organization explains on its website. “The Summer Market is all about face-to-face — it’s where products are shown, orders are written, new accounts are found, connections are made and brands are launched. This show is about buying, sourcing, strategic meetings, trends, education and networking with decision makers, influencers, stakeholders, key buyers and athletes that influence the outdoor market.”

It’s not just the physical products and appearance of the market that demonstrate how impactful it is. The organization estimated that, in their move to Colorado from Utah they would generate an additional $110 million per year for Denver through their three shows.

This number may seem far fetched, but the city of Denver didn’t think so when they wooed the show in 2017. Colorado put forth $3.4 million in that year as an incentive to lure the convention away from Salt Lake City and other interested hosts.

Outdoor Retailer sign in the front entrance at the event; Cara MacDonald, KSL.com
Outdoor Retailer sign in the front entrance at the event; Cara MacDonald, KSL.com

“(Outdoor Retailer is) an incredible convening place,” Chase Anderson, program coordinator for Utah State University’s Outdoor Product Design and Development program, told KSL.com. “The outdoor industry isn’t in one location — the industry is everywhere. It’s a great place for us to meet with people from all different areas, get new perspectives, share ideas and learn from each other. I think the best thing it offers is a place where people can be and work with one another.”

Ryan Cope, founder of Utah travel bag company Wandrd, said he loves the way Outdoor Retailer connects his business with like-minded individuals and companies. He believes that by coming together in this way, brands around the world can work collectively to improve the industry as a whole.

“It’s building that awareness and bringing together people who like to do the same type of stuff,” Jarris Neufeld with Vssl Gear told KSL.com. “We see the outdoor hiker, climber, paddler, adventurer and the bike guy that’s trekking across the continent — it’s bringing everyone together and saying, ‘Hey, what’s the newest thing, where’s it heading, and where do we want to take it?’”

The collaborative nature also makes the event an excellent place for nonprofits and activists to have a voice within a community which cares a lot about preserving natural, wild places.

Outdoor Retailer front entrance; Cara MacDonald, KSL.com
Outdoor Retailer front entrance; Cara MacDonald, KSL.com

“(Outdoor Retailer) allows retailers and buyers to get an early view of what's available across the marketplace,” Marisa Nicholson, Outdoor Retailer vice president and show director, told KSL.com. “From a brand perspective, we are seeing an increased emphasis on sustainability. The outdoor industry has always been a leader in sustainability.”

The Outdoor Retailer Summer Market opened in Denver on Tuesday an will wrap up Thursday. Learn more about the companies and nonprofits showcasing at Outdoor Retailer here.


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