What’s Next for Outdoor Retailer

What's Next for Outdoor Retailer
On the show floor at Outdoor Retailer.

Outdoor Retailer’s summer edition will welcome more than 300 new exhibitors, according to show director Kenji Haroutunian.

The Nielsen-run show, which kicks off Aug. 2 in Salt Lake City, will showcase the additional vendors in an expanded pavilion, which it built last year outside the Salt Palace Convention Center. More than 500 booths will be housed in the space.

Inside the convention center, the Mezz at OR area in Salt Palace’s West Wing will also be devoted to new exhibitors. And for a first time, the show will use the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art, located adjacent to the convention center, as an event space for film screenings and the educational program.

Haroutunian said the show is focused on driving traffic to these areas by making them hubs of OR’s social programs. He added that coffee, breakfast and food trucks would be set up there, as well as the Stand Up Paddle tank for attendees who want to try the sport, and the Happy Hour Zone, where parties will be held.

Vendors showing for the first time — or returning after many years — include athletic brands Asics and Puma.

“Part of what’s happening at Outdoor Retailer is that [we’re seeing more of] these stories like fly-fishing or, in the case of Asics and Puma, the running and ultra-running and multisport market,” he said. “We’ve been in pursuit specifically of those bellwether brands — the Orvises and the Asics of the world — brands that will, just by their presence at the show, make it more exciting for buyers to plunk down their money to attend.”

Because the summer show is projected to be the largest yet, the discussion about the future of Outdoor Retailer is expected to take center stage throughout the event. While Salt Lake will continue to be OR’s home for the next few years (OR is under contract with the Salt Palace until summer 2014), stakeholders will be asked for feedback about what future editions should look like.

Since April, Nielsen and the Outdoor Industry Association have solicited feedback from OR attendees about options for the show, including thoughts about growth; potential new locations such as Denver, Las Vegas and Orlando, Fla.; changing venues for summer and winter shows; and even the possibility of operating separate East and West Coast versions.

“By the summer market, we’ll have a lot of good feedback and a lot of [opinions will be] aired out during the show,” Haroutunian said. “Between [now] and the end of the year, we’ll have enough time to look at feedback, ask more leadership and come out with a second survey.”

Calender of Events

Open Air Demo
8 A.M.-4 P.M., Wednesday, Aug. 1
Jordanelle State Park
Preview and test new product before the show starts.

OIA Industry Breakfast

7 A.M.-9 A.M., Thursday, Aug. 2
Marriott Downtown at City Creek, Salons A-J
Caroline Waddell and Michael Wood from research firm TRU present the keynote on understanding millennial outdoor consumers.

Industry Party
6 P.M.-8 P.M., Thursday, Aug. 2
200 West
Catch up with other attendees among the tents, where games and contests will be held.

Conservation Alliance Breakfast
7 A.M.-9 A.M., Friday, Aug. 3
Marriott Downtown at City Creek, Salons F-J
Aron Ralston, the inspiration for the film “127 Hours,” speaks about wilderness protection.

Fancy Footwork — Lowering Footwear Costs Using Free Trade Agreements
10 A.M.-11:15 A.M., Friday, Aug. 3
Marriott Downtown at City Creek, Salon E
Speakers Blake Krueger, chairman, CEO and president of Wolverine World Wide Inc., and Matt Priest of the Footwear Distributors & Retailers of America will address the Outdoor University group. (For additional Outdoor University educational sessions, see the trade show website.)

Outdoor Industry Women’s Coalition — Ragnar

6 A.M.-8:30 A.M., Saturday, Aug. 4
New Exhibitor Pavilion
Show participants compete in three-person teams, with each person racing a four-mile loop.

Schmooza-Palooza
11 A.M.-4 P.M., Saturday, Aug. 4
Marriott Downtown at City Creek
The free job fair and networking event returns for a second installment. To get involved, contact Kelly at kelly@malakye.com.

All-Star Industry Jam
9 P.M.-1 A.M., Saturday, Aug. 4
Club Elevate, 155 West 200 South
Hosted by rock climber Timmy O’Neill, the night will feature a battle of the bands and beer.