After five years in Denver, Colorado, Outdoor Retailer has announced it is moving back to Salt Lake City in 2023. This is despite threats of a boycott from outdoor giants, including Patagonia, REI and The North Face.
After two decades hosted in Salt Lake City, Utah, the outdoor industry’s largest trade show moved to Denver in 2018. The move was prompted by numerous retailers withdrawing from Outdoor Retailer after Utah’s then-Governor Gary Herbert signed a resolution urging the Trump administration to rescind the Bear Ears National Monument that was established in the final days of the Obama administration. After the backlash from the public and retailers, Outdoor Retailer began looking for new sites to hold their trade shows.
This June’s Summer Market will be the final Outdoor Retailer in Denver before the show moves back to Salt Lake City for the Winter Market in January.
The statement released on Outdoor Retailer’s website on March 23, 2022, reads:
“As our contract nears its natural end after 2022, we’ve been exploring our options and conferring with the industry to map our next steps.
After much deliberation and input from all sides, we’ve decided the best move for Outdoor Retailer is to return to our basecamp. We’re heading back to Salt Lake City and County to the place we grew up and where our industry matured into the dynamic and powerful community it is today. Moving forward, Outdoor Retailer will bring the community together in January and June at the Calvin L. Rampton Salt Palace Convention Center. We have a strong relationship with Salt Lake City and a committed partner in Mayor Erin Mendenhall, whose values align with ours following tremendous investments in clean energy and a strong commitment to public lands. This proved to be a real turning point in our recent negotiations.
The statement also details OR’s commitments, including:
- “Committing revenue over the next three years from Outdoor Retailer events in Utah to fund programs to support outdoor recreation and protect public lands;
- Forming the Business with Purpose initiative in partnership with Visit Salt Lake to bring city, county, state and federal officials, public lands and outdoor recreation leaders, and industry stakeholders together for biannual meetings focused on addressing challenges, influencing policy, assisting advocacy efforts, and directing resources into protecting natural and cultural spaces and improving access;
- Providing increased opportunities for the industry, local communities, and media to participate in panel discussions, educational activities, and volunteer projects.”
Learn more about the move back to Utah on the Outdoor Retailer website here.
Just last month, on February 14, 2022, The Conservation Alliance released a statement along with more than two dozen other outdoor industry member companies urging Outdoor Retailer’s parent company, Emerald Expositions, not to move the Outdoor Retailer trade show back to Utah, “so long as its elected officials continue attacks on national monuments and public lands protections.”
The statement goes on to read: “So long as Utah’s elected delegation continues its assault on public lands and the laws designed to protect them, Emerald faces a choice: move the show to Utah and ensure that many of the key players in the outdoor industry will not return to Utah with the trade show, or work with the industry leaders to shape a future trade show that balances the interests and values of industry members and partners.”
The companies committed to not participating in a Utah show include:
- REI Co-op
- Patagonia, Inc.
- The North Face
- Public Lands
- KEEN Footwear
- Oboz Footwear, LLC
- Sierra Designs
- Peak Design
- NEMO Equipment
- Backpacker’s Pantry
- Helinox USA, Inc.
- GU Energy Labs
- La Sportiva N.A., Inc.
- Alpacka Raft
- Backbone Media
- GRAYL Inc.
- Bergreen Photography
- Tread Labs
- Swen Products, Inc./Sven-Saw
- Kiitella, Inc.
- Vibram Corportation
Main image: Outdoorretailer.com