The Outdoor Retailer event in Denver drew more than 29,000 attendees. Courtesy Scott Martin

Outdoor Retailer celebrates first shows

Two of Outdoor Retailer’s three shows have been completed. Courtesy Scott Martin

DENVER — Outdoor Retailer wasted no time making the transition from Salt Lake City to Denver. With two shows — Outdoor Retailer + Snow Show in January and Outdoor Retailer Summer Market in July — behind them since making the move, which was announced mid-2017, show producers and partners are pleased with the location change and remain enthusiastic about the future.

“The two shows in Denver this year have far exceeded our expectations,” said Marisa Nicholson, vice president and show director for Outdoor Retailer. “We made the move to Denver in a very short time frame, but the outdoor industry has widely embraced the move, and with the support of the city and state, it has been a smooth transition.”

Luis Benitez, director of Colorado’s Office of Outdoor Recreation Industry, praised Visit Denver for its role in the transition.

“It’s really a credit to Visit Denver for finding a home for the shows,” said Benitez. “It worked incredibly hard. We did a move in 16 months, and normally it takes a couple of years. For them to be respectful to existing business, plus find a home for Outdoor Retailer, was a tremendous win on its part.”

The show’s Denver debut happened in January with the Outdoor Retailer + Snow Show; the event took over three floors and over a half million net square feet of the Colorado Convention Center, making it the largest show ever staged at the venue. The show attracted more than 29,000 attendees, with more than 7,500 retail buyers from 60 countries. Buyer and other attendance categories surpassed the sum of the 2017 Outdoor Retailer Winter Market and SIA Snow shows when they stood separately.

In July, the first Outdoor Retailer Summer Market in Denver attracted more than 26,000 attendees and nearly 1,400 brands, including 300 new brands. The Summer Market featured new experiences and events, including the Demo Experience, the first outdoor demo held in Denver.

Outdoor Retailer’s producers and partners say the biggest challenge over the past year was identifying the right dates for the shows, and they have adjusted the schedule for future shows.

“The biggest change for upcoming shows are the new dates,” said Nicholson. “The new show cycle kicks off when Outdoor Retailer Winter Market begins in November, then Outdoor Retailer Snow Show moves to late January in 2019 and Outdoor Retailer Summer Market shifts to June starting next year. All of these changes will create a more efficient and engaging trade show experience. This November’s show will also focus on innovation, with an awards night recognizing those pushing the limits in our industry.”

Jennifer Pringle, vice president of marketing and research for Boulder-based Outdoor Industry Association, the association partner, title sponsor and education provider for Outdoor Retailer, said the new show cycle shifts dates to the front end of the ordering cycle, starting with the November show.

“This move reflects member input that making Outdoor Retailer a launch show will mean a higher return on investment for attendees,” said Pringle. “We are excited to see the positive impact this will have for outdoor industry businesses.”

The November show will also mark the first time Outdoor Retailer will be co-located with the industry’s largest retailer buying group, Grassroots Outdoor Alliance. This will allow retailers and vendors to handle much of their business in one city, said Pringle.

As Outdoor Retailer begins to hit its stride in Denver, Benitez said his expectations remain high. In 2019 he hopes to find new ways to engage the general public in Outdoor Retailer shows and in discussions about topics that impact the outdoor recreation industry.

“I want to create an ecosystem around these shows because the reality is the general public needs to understand this isn’t a normal trade show,” said Benitez. “This is where we get together to talk politics and talk policy. … My expectations will always be high that the show does the business it’s supposed to and that things around the show really help to show the general public that being an over $800 billion industry, we take that responsibility very seriously. … My hope for 2019 is we’ll continue to find venues and opportunities to pull people in who don’t have [industry] credentials. I think we’ve done a really great job of that so far with things like Night of Stoke, which is a mini film fest that’s focused on not just the fun stuff happening in the outdoors, but also activism and the things that we care about, the things that we fight for.”

Two of Outdoor Retailer’s three shows have been completed. Courtesy Scott Martin

DENVER — Outdoor Retailer wasted no time making the transition from Salt Lake City to Denver. With two shows — Outdoor Retailer + Snow Show in January and Outdoor Retailer Summer Market in July — behind them since making the move, which was announced mid-2017, show producers and partners are pleased with the location change and remain enthusiastic about the future.

“The two shows in Denver this year have far exceeded our expectations,” said Marisa Nicholson, vice president and show director for Outdoor Retailer. “We made the move to Denver in a very short time frame, but the outdoor industry has widely embraced the move, and with the support of the city and state, it has been a smooth transition.”

Luis Benitez, director of Colorado’s Office of Outdoor Recreation Industry, praised Visit Denver for its role in the transition.

“It’s really a credit to Visit Denver for finding a home for the shows,” said Benitez. “It worked incredibly hard. We did a move in 16 months, and normally it takes a couple of years. For them to be respectful to existing business, plus find a home for Outdoor Retailer, was a tremendous win on its part.”

The show’s Denver debut happened in January with the Outdoor Retailer + Snow Show; the event took over…