This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2016, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Talk about exceeding expectations.
Salt Lake City's convention people knew they had landed a good product when they first brought the Outdoor Retailer trade shows to town in 1996. But they never would have dreamed that this year's Summer Market, which opens Wednesday at the Salt Palace Convention Center after Tuesday's Open Air Demo at Pineview Reservoir east of Ogden, would ever grow to its current size.
The bottom line: $25 million in direct spending by the 29,000-plus people expected to attend this week's trade show, which runs through Saturday.
There are new people all the time. This Summer Market's lineup of 1,470 exhibitors includes 301 companies new to Outdoor Retailer, said Kate Lowery, a spokeswoman for the semiannual trade show now organized by Emerald Expositions.
"This is the 20th anniversary of OR being in town, so it's a substantial milestone," said Scott Beck, executive director of Visit Salt Lake, the county subdivision responsible for promoting Salt Lake City as a convention site.
"If you look at the economic impact of the trade shows, I'd dare say that it surpasses everything we ever could have dreamed of," he added.
His figure for the 20 years: $565 million in delegate spending and $52 million in taxes for local, county and state governments.
"And that's not counting the number of companies that have chosen to come to our state after participating in Outdoor Retailer," Beck said. "It continues to be this incredible tool to showcase what we are as a community and what we can provide to outdoors businesses."
Salt Lake works for Outdoor Retailer, too.
"Each Summer and Winter Market, the community is welcomed so warmly," said Marisa Nicholson, Outdoor Retailer show director. "The community shares our passion for the outdoors and the outdoor lifestyle, making it a wonderful place to conduct business."
The selling begins Tuesday in Ogden Valley, when the Open Air Demo of water products takes place from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Cemetery Point Marina on Pineview Reservoir.
For the rest of this week, just about every available hotel, motel and bed-and-breakfast room in a five-county area will be filled.
Ensuring those masses are as comfortable as possible is a perennial challenge, Beck said.
What helps, he added, is that so many convention attendees "kind of grew up here, so they know every bed and breakfast, every short-term vacation rental, and they know that Park City and Layton aren't that far away."
This year, he's looking forward to what the show has to offer in the ever-expanding world of adventure sports, one of his particular favorites being stand-up paddleboarding.
Event organizers are excited to see what comes of "Venture Out," a program they have been developing for the past 18 months.
"It puts a shining light on lifestyle apparel," said Lowery, which she described as "outdoor clothing that allows people to go from hiking a trail right into a board room and then to dinner."
While six companies were involved in the original Venture Out effort, 74 brands will take part this year. Many of those, she added, provide products to millennials "interested in sharing their experiences in a more technical way."
Educational sessions during the trade show will focus on:
• Protecting outdoor enthusiasts from Zika and other mosquito-borne illnesses.
• The potential influence of outdoor-industry policies on the 2016 election.
• The value of hiring military veterans.
• New trends in shopping by and for women.