Paddlesports Industry Coalition Endorses Paddlesports Retailer Show

A group of leading paddlesports manufacturers announced January 13 that they will endorse new trade show Paddlesports Retailer as the official industry show.

The endorsement comes after concern from paddlesports manufacturers that the 2018 date change of Outdoor Retailer in Salt Lake City, Utah, from the first week of August to June 11-14 would be in the middle of paddling’s peak season. The paddlesports industry has reacted to the difficult timing with a new show.  

Paddlesports Retailer will have its first show from August 29-September 1, 2017, in Madison, Wisconsin—home of the spring consumer paddling show, Canoecopia. The endorsement by leaders in the paddlesports industry was the result of an eight-week process to unify around a single show, elect an advisory council and begin working to form a paddlesports trade association. It also included polling a wide range of retailers to determine their upcoming trade show plans and preferences.

Wenonah’s vice President Bill Kueper has been named the coalition’s chairman, and the advisory council includes Sue Rechner of Confluence Outdoor, David Blue from NRS and Jeff Turner from Kokatat.

“We are pleased to endorse Paddlesports Retailer as our industry’s national trade show. We are proud of how our industry came together in a very short period of time, defined shared objectives, and rallied behind a focused show we feel will give the paddlesports industry its best commercial and cultural experience,” says Kueper in the official press release, released today.

Paddlesports Retailer is being organized by Darren Bush, owner at Rutabaga Paddlesports in Madison, Wisconsin, and Sutton Bacon, CEO of Nantahala Outdoor Center in Asheville, North Carolina. Paddlesports Retailer will follow the popular format of an on-water demo day followed by three days of hall exhibition.

The new show is intended to be a paddling-specific show, and according to the recent release, is being developed with meticulous attention to cost and efficiency. One specific way this is being addressed is the mid-week timing, allowing retailers to return to their stores on the weekends. Bush and Bacon have booked the Alliant Energy Center in Madison through 2020 for Paddlesports Retailer.

The industry advisory council has also worked with Paddlesports Retailer to create a fund to be invested in various ways to help make sure the new show is a success.

“Our goal is to get as many retailers to Madison as we possibly can,” says Bush. “And because of our show’s low cost basis compared to other national shows, we can pass along those cost savings to our exhibitors who have in turn allocated those savings to this fund. It’s a win-win for everyone, especially specialty retailers.”

The coalition sees the announcement as a step towards focusing on industry issues of shared importance. “We are all hopeful that this effort to unify around a tradeshow will ultimately be the catalyst to create a trade association,” says Kueper. “Our industry has long needed a voice and a collective effort to grow our category.”


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