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Outdoor Retailer Settles in


Several times a year, Outdoor Retailer brings together media, manufacturers, retailers, and industry advocates through trade shows, Outdoor Retailer Magazine, product demo events, media events and web-based business solutions. They have remained gathering hubs of outdoor recreation businesses for decades. By providing platforms for critical face-to-face business initiatives and retailer education; the Outdoor Retailer trade shows are considered premier outdoor industry events.

Anyone in any industry knows that staying on top of trends and keeping up with the latest innovations is key to continued success. No matter if you are a retailer, manufacturer, or distributor; attending trade shows becomes a regular happening. The sheer availability to directly connect with all other legs of an industry is incomparable to other forms of networking leads.

In January 2018 Outdoor Retailer moved their conference headquarters from Salt Lake City to Denver. Yellow Scene covered their move in June 2018. Outdoor Retailer shows have multiple roles: beyond being a perfect venue to see and be seen by big brands, athletes, and influencers; it’s provides a home for an industry economic ecosystem to thrive. “Denver exceeded our expectations as the new home for the first Outdoor Retailer + Snow Show, reuniting the outdoor and winter sports communities for the first time in nearly 30 years,” Marisa Nicholson vice president and show director for Outdoor Retailer events, was quoted after the first Colorado show.

There were many considerations as why Outdoor Retailer moved to Colorado but the biggest emphasis was on the progressive protections of outdoor use spaces and the growing outdoor enthusiast population that lives and travels to the state each year. These shows are incredibly important to the industry’s health, providing a place for brands to collaborate with other organizations, showcase their innovations to retailers,  and get up to speed on industry happenings.

Outdoor Retailer strived to move to a location that aligned with its core sustainability values and Colorado fit that need. With record setting climate focused legislations always on the house floor, Colorado has made an image for itself as sustainability aware by taking actions toward a greener future. This stance has not only helped the state make some of the most progressive regulations and goals in the country, but has opened the door for partnerships with companies and brands who also align with the progress being made.


The 2018 Snow Show graciously hosted approximately 29,000 people and featured roughly 1,000 brands. The 2019 Snow Show estimates put attendance close to 25,000 people with about 950 exhibiting brands. Not growth overall but also not too bad for a show that is a day shorter — three instead of four. Also since the event is only two months after Outdoor Retailer’s Winter Market, an event some brands chose to attend instead of the Snow Show, the total turn out for the events is growing. While these two shows are close together, they each provide ideal opportunities for exhibitors.

In July 2018, over five event days the Summer Market show welcomed more than 26,000 attendees and nearly 1,400 global brands. Program changes being made similar to the Winter Show include the event length being shortened from five to just three days. With Outdoor Retailer being owned by Emerald Expositions, a leading operator of business-to-business trade shows in the United States – strategic efforts are always being made to fine tune the events for the changing demographics and trends in the outdoor adventure marketplace.

The next Denver Convention, Summer Market 2019 is scheduled for June 18 – 20, with the Demo day set or June 17, 2019. This year’s Demo Day will be held at Chatfield State Park and is an ideal opportunity to make informed buying decisions by getting some hands on experience with the latest products. Outdoor Retailer Summer Market trade show will give solid indications on the positive successes brought about from the transition to Colorado. Attendance is expected to surpass last year’s Summer Market Show despite the shortened event dates.

As the event settles in they have made some changes to the scheduling and event length in attempts to smooth interest and attendance into optimal ranges. With trade shows and demo market events that occur each season finding the ideal demographic and timing is crucial to the longevity of each market show.

Since only authorized buyers and members of the trade are allowed (not open to the public) it leads to inevitable real business transactions taking place, that means money exchanging hands, goods being moved and a deepening of the relationship for Colorado and Outdoor Retailer. By meeting the industry’s needs at the top of the ladder the benefits are sure to trickle down to the customer and the community.

How Colorado Benefits

As a direct supporter of environmental conservation, Outdoor Retailer has found comfort in Colorado’s history and continued conservation efforts. This creates an ideal dynamic for the tradeshow and the local culture to join hands in furthering many agenda’s. Business is good but nature is better! Outdoor Retailer’s website introduces their commitment to sustainability;

“With a commitment to sustainability, green practices and reducing our show’s environmental footprints, Outdoor Retailer practices what we believe—that sustainable business and environmental stewardship can go hand-in-hand as we move forward.”

Outdoor Retailer has previously gained political strength in stating its biggest reason for leaving Utah was because of the governmental attack on public lands for attempts at scaling back environmental protections on areas like Bears Ears National Monument. Using the show as a platform industry leaders have spoke out publicly in support for increased conversations about not just products but the politics that surround them. In addition local representatives have subsequently shown their support at the shows for the state’s continued expansive environmental protections for public access areas and overall health.

Economic stimulation in the outdoor adventure industry is growing as fast as Colorado’s population. Direct correlations between new residents becoming more active or whether active outdoorsies seek Colorado’s adventures, is currently unstudied. Colorado being the eighth largest state by size, but it is the second fastest growing state with an estimated growth rate of 1.65% population increase per year. Even with such population growth, the local active culture shows in other statistics like Colorado boasts one of the lowest obesity rates in the entire country.

With a surface area of 104,094 square miles that showcase terrains for every adventure one could think of, and over 300 days of sunshine each year; it’s no wonder why Colorado is the outdoor adventure mecca for the region, if not the country. The booming outdoor industry has sparked up new brands and products that meet the changing demographics of the average outdoor enthusiast globally. Every industry has breakthrough products and brands needing exposure to the right crowd.

Outdoor Retailer provides the opportunity for these brands and manufactures to share, network and distribute the latest innovations. Local perks for hosting the Outdoor Retailer trade shows, like any large conference hosting city, Denver receives an influx of industry specific visiting professionals and their teams during the shows; whom while in town utilize general services and goods. In addition to local attendees, visiting industry leaders drum up local buzz about the event.

A by product of Outdoor Retail trade shows being held here in Colorado is becoming a first exposure market. Colorado provides an ideal demographic (public and professional) to introduce and source the very products and brands these trade shows were designed for, in an environment primed for healthy living. Not to mention the state is known for being exceptionally fast paced when it comes to healthy, active and environmental initiatives.

Future of Outdoor Retailer

It seems that Outdoor Retailer’s new home in Denver is going to continue into the foreseeable future. The relationship and connections the trade shows and corresponding organizations bring to Colorado strengthens protections for our state’s popular outdoor recreational areas. In addition to solidifying the perfect market area for showcasing such events, the local demographics are more than welcoming to such an industry leader.

Outdoor Retailer and Colorado seem like a match made to be – for distributors, retailers and consumers. Brightening the light on Colorado’s love for the outdoors, environmentally sustainable companies and the booming population growth – Outdoor Retailer opens the door for similar relationships to sprout in the future. The outdoor industry will continue to thrive in Colorado just as the population will continue to grow, what an opportune time for meeting on issues that affect sustainability and economic growth.