Five days of demos, exhibits, product launches and business education leave industry members excited and positive for the coming season
With booths now shipped, business cards scanned and business made, Outdoor Retailer ended on a resoundingly high note with members of the outdoor industry.
“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.
Despite applying stricter qualifications for drive-in and non-exhibitor attendees, preliminary numbers show even performance with summer 2012 counts. Just under 27,000 overall attendance with 1,300 exhibiting brands mirrored last year’s numbers very closely. The show floored over 516,000 net square feet (92,000 in three temporary pavilion structures), which is 2.5 percent larger than 2012 and the largest OR show ever staged.
Summer Market kicked off at the Open Air Demo with near pristine weather and water conditions at Pineview Reservoir, near Ogden, Utah. Retailers, media and brand representatives gathered for demos with 140 brands ranging from premier outdoor apparel, camping, fly fishing, GPS/geocaching, hiking, hydration, paddlesports, travel to trail running-focused brands.
Just prior to participating in the “Helly Hansen Train with Confidence 5K Trail Run,” Arnetta Hanzel with CJ Ventures LLC in Killdeer, N.D. said, “Attending Open Air Demo gives us a competitive advance over shops in our area that do not. 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.”
Brands echoed the event’s value and success. Pat Loomis, president of Bergans of Norway said, “We exhibited at last year’s Open Air Demo showing our Ally foldable canoe line. Carrying some momentum into this year’s demo, we believe we met with a significantly higher number of interested buyers and media than we did last year, and are looking forward to continuing that momentum into the indoor expo.”
From the demo, the industry met in the Salt Palace Convention Center for four full days of product launches, events, business education, buying and new technology.
As part of the launch of a new hydration recovery drink, Clif Bar served industry attendees more than 20,000 product samples during the expo.
“We love keeping the industry fed and fueled during the show, but more exciting to us is that retailers are digging into the why, the technology behind the products,” said Pat Bush, National Sales Manager for Clif bar. “At this show, more than ever, I feel like we are talking to the decision makers and less of the ‘fringe’ folks. Outdoor Retailer is one of two shows that are absolutely imperative to our business, which is why we choose to be here in such a big way.”
Highlights from the expo include:
- More than 900 industry leaders gathered for the Outsiders Ball, raising $350,000 kicking off a multi-year, multi-million dollar campaign for youth-led and retailer endorsed community projects that invest in the future of the industry
- Attendees and brands alike got an interactive experience with the latest tools, technologies and best practices of outdoor product design in the newly-launched Industrial Design Center and New Product Lounges
- A VIP retailer and media focused fly fishing excursion to the Provo River, onsite casting pond and instruction, with The Fly Fishing Zone, powered by media partner The Drake magazine, continued to bring home the relevancy and opportunities in this growing segment of the OR show
- All-star athletes including Tommy Caldwell, Sasha DiGiulian, Lynn Hill and Chris Sharma thrilled more than 2,500 attendees with the United States’ 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. That being said, it is necessary for us to help us make the decisions we need to be successful in our buying for next season,” said Denis Lavoie with FGL Sports in Laval, Quebec. “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.”
Outdoor Retailer Summer Market will return to Utah with the Open Air Demo on Tuesday, August 5 and the Summer Market Expo running Wednesday August 6 through Saturday, August 9, 2014.
Logo courtesy Outdoor Retailer