Outdoor Retailer Summer Market Stages Largest Show Ever in Salt Lake City

August 8, 2013

Emerald Expositions’ Outdoor Retailer Summer Market continues to defy the odds of being seemingly maxed out for space in Salt Lake City, Utah, and managed to still grow the show to its largest ever.

With the Salt Palace Convention Center completely filled, the show had a total of 516,000 net square feet (92,000 in three, temporary pavilion structures), which is 2.5-percent larger than 2012.

With stricter attendance qualifications, especially for drive-in and non-exhibitor attendees, approximately 27,000 visitors checked out all of the products displayed by 1,300 exhibitors, which was on par with the summer 2012 show.

"The feedback from the market at this version of Summer Market has been incredibly positive, from every sector and every section of the show. Innovation continues to drive consumer interest through specialty outdoor retail, which is the engine that keeps this industry and show humming," said Kenji Haroutunian, Emerald Expositions vice president and Outdoor Retailer show director.

This year’s show kicked off with the Open Air Demo in Ogden, Utah, at which 140 brands ranging from premier outdoor apparel, camping, fly fishing, GPS/geocaching, hiking, hydration, paddlesports, travel to trail running-focused brands were shown off.

"Attending Open Air Demo gives us a competitive advance over shops in our area that do not,” said Arnetta Hanzel with CJ Ventures in Killdeer, N.D.

She added, “Beyond the value of testing and trying products for ourselves, the event exposes us to brands and products that might take several more months to enter our radar through other channels."

Other highlights from the show included 900 industry leaders gathering for the Outsiders Ball and raising $350,000 for youth-led community projects; the newly-launched Industrial Design Center and New Product Lounges; a fly fishing excursion to the Provo River, onsite casting pond and instruction; and All-star athletes such as Tommy Caldwell, Sasha DiGiulian, Lynn Hill and Chris Sharma participated in the U.S. first-ever deep water soloing competition at the Olympic Park in Park City, Utah.

"From where we travel, attending OR is a significant investment for our shop,” said Denis Lavoie from FGL Sports in Laval, Quebec.

He added, "It's more than evaluating what was successful and what needs to be replaced, it is about seeing and trying products in a side-by-side environment so we can purchase correctly and then inform our customer more completely."

Even with the space limitations, Outdoor Retailer is sticking with Salt Lake City as the home for the show at least through 2016. A new contract was signed at the beginning of this year after members of the outdoor industry voiced their support of staying in Salt Lake.

The Outdoor Retailer Summer Market will be celebrated as one of the fastest-growing trade shows for net square footage at the 4th Annual TSNN Awards Nov. 1-3 in Reno, Nev.

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