Outdoor Retailer Show Preview

Outdoor Retailer made a few tweaks for its winter edition, though a bigger move could be on the horizon.

The Nielsen-run event, set for Jan. 23-26 at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City, will move forward with plans to take the trade show into its next phase, including a new weekday schedule, increased outreach to international buyers and a final decision on its 2015 location.

The winter show will be the first to adopt the Wednesday-through-Saturday schedule, replacing the Thursday-to-Sunday schedule of past years.

“Response has been very positive,” show director Kenji Haroutunian said of the change. “People get it. The demographics of the show have changed, and the small mom-and-pop shops that attend, as well as the [retailers from the] peripheral world of clothing and footwear boutiques, want to get their work done during the week. The importance of the show is around networking, business intelligence and marketing partnerships, and if you’re not there during the week, you miss that.”

This edition also will be the start of a more sophisticated outreach program targeting overseas buyers, especially those from Asia, South America and Australia and the Pacific Rim, Haroutunian said. Working in partnership with the U.S. Department of Commerce, OR is looking to “put out a welcome mat for them and [give them] an easy way to understand the travel matrix.” Efforts include a new brochure that focuses on breaking out travel options for the greater Salt Lake area and not just downtown, and more signage and transportation options for retailers staying in such nearby towns as Sandy and Park City.

And after much consideration, the show will reveal the resolution to the question of where Outdoor Retailer will make its home once its current contract with the Salt Palace ends in 2014. Faced with severe shortages in exhibition space and area lodging, OR launched a stakeholder survey last April to get feedback on the options, including moving the show to Denver and finding a way to stay in Salt Lake City.

Haroutunian said that while final agreement details are still being hammered out, OR is set to announce its decision at 3 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 22, at the ChillZone industry party during the pre-show All Mountain Demo Day.

“We’ve made significant movement along the path to a solution, and we see longer-term solutions over the horizon,” Haroutunian said. “The acute situations we have in Salt Lake City are something we’re going to move the needle on with this announcement.”

Calendar of Events

Innovation Gallery by Outdoor Retailer
Thursday, Jan. 17-Tuesday, Jan. 22
Main Street, Park City
Created in partnership with industry manufacturers, this exhibit runs during the Sundance Film Festival to show filmgoers the history and technology of the outdoor industry.

All Mountain Demo
9 A.M.-4 P.M., Tuesday, Jan. 22
Solitude Mountain
Retailers can preview the newest gear for skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing and more on the slopes before the show.

OIA Industry Breakfast
7 A.M.-9 A.M., Wednesday, Jan. 23
Downtown Marriott
Presented by The Timberland Co., this event features speaker Majora Carter, urban revitalization expert and host of public radio show “The Promised Land.”

OR Winter Games Industry Party
6 P.M.-8 P.M., Wednesday, Jan. 23
Meeting Room 250 & 251

Conservation Alliance Breakfast
7 A.M.-9 A.M., Thursday, Jan. 24
Marriott Salons F-I
Featuring speaker Cheryl Strayed, author of the New York Times best-selling memoir “Wild.”

The Outdoor Inspiration Awards
6 P.M.-8 P.M., Thursday, Jan. 24
Meeting Room 250
Hosted by Adidas Outdoor, the awards celebrate the people and organizations who inspire others to get outside.

All-Star Industry Jam
8 P.M.-2 A.M., Friday, Jan. 25
Club Elevate, 155 West 200 South
Klean Kanteen and Osprey sponsor a battle of the bands made up of industry insiders.

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