Outdoor Retailer Summer Market wrapped up its 2012 show yesterday on a high note in Salt Lake City. The show was packed with new brands across categories, including more than 35 new SUP brands exhibiting in the show’s nearly half-million square feet of space.
Walk the show with us and get the run down from all the brands we caught up with, including insight on the expansion of the explosive SUP market:
In order to accommodate the 1,400+ brands and tens of thousands of attendees from over 40 countries, OR doubled the size of its New Exhibitor Pavilion, an air-conditioned tent in a parking lot across the street, which housed 500 brands this year, including the majority of the SUP exhibitors and an SUP tank for the first time. According to Outdoor Retailer VP & Show Director Kenji Haroutunian, hauling the flooring alone for the pavilion required 20 semis. The pavilion took nearly a month to erect at a cost of approximately $1 million, much of which came from outside sources looking to keep the show, which adds $40 million to the local economy, in town.
Some of the biggest buzz around the show was OR’s evaluation of moving to a new venue. Haroutunian said that while the show will stay in Salt Lake through 2014, they are examining numerous options including moving both the winter and summer shows, one of the two, or none depending on the response from Salt Lake and Utah.
Part of the issue stems from the show outgrowing the current facilities and having to use space like the pavilion, but Haroutunian says this growth requires serious reflection on OR’s part. “As demand increases and we can’t add any more footprint, we’ll have to say no to brands and that’s a tough call,” explains Haroutunian. “The market should decide that by forcing businesses out.”
The question becomes what categories should OR focus on and allow growth in then? “Should we allow more growth with categories outside the core outdoor channel or focus just on that? How should we grow? You don’t want to grow forever. The graveyard is full of shows that tried to be all things to all people.”
That said, Haroutunian says categories like SUP are seeing immense expansion and fit really well with the culture of outdoor.
Here’s a look at Haroutunian’s take on that fit and his definition of the outdoor market:
The other major issue impacting the show’s future in Utah is the state’s stance on open lands, and the governor’s efforts to appropriate federal lands under state control to increase resource exploration. During this summer’s show, the Outdoor Industry Association, which partners with Nielsen 0n OR, met with Utah Governor Hebert about this very issue and issued an open letter on its stance.