Our Goal is Not Just to Speak. Our Goal is to be Heard
NOTE TO EDITORS: In light of recent developments regarding Outdoor Retailer, please find below a letter from Marisa Nicholson, Outdoor Retailer Show Director.
Our Goal is Not Just to Speak. Our Goal is to be Heard.
The last week has certainly been an interesting time as a show organizer and I am most thankful for the incredible team at Outdoor Retailer, our partner - the Outdoor Industry Association, rep associations, retailers and brands, in addition to the hundreds of emails offering support.
We respect that brands have to make decisions that reflect their values. However, in the last week, the heart-felt expressions of support for the show from exhibitors of all sizes have far outweighed those choosing not to participate. Iconic brands such as adidas Outdoor, Ibex, The Conservation Alliance, The North Face, REI and Wolverine Worldwide, among many others have not only reinforced their intent to come to SLC this summer, but also, will make their voices louder than ever before. (Please look at unity.outdoorretailer.com for specific expressions of support.)
We can all most easily agree that this is not a question of inaction. Rather, it is a matter of what action.
This is not a one-and-done issue. While Bears Ears National Monument status is a lightning rod, it is just the most currently visible example of what will be a long, hard series of fights the outdoor community needs to not only raise our voices about, but, even more importantly, about which we need to be heard.
Outdoor Retailer is the only gathering where the entire industry comes together to conduct commerce, share best practices and exchange ideas. There is no other event where the most respected iconic brands and retailers - large, medium and small in size - show up "en force."
But the boycott of Outdoor Retailer levies the most significant negative impact on those medium and small-sized companies that count on the show to conduct business. We have a unique, maybe even singular, opportunity to coalesce, organize, speak and lay plans to make a difference around public land awareness in such a way that it is not only heard but that it can make a positive difference.
Our goal is not just to speak. Our goal is to be heard.
Now is the time for action, not words. These are turbulent times with passions running high – a wonderful trait of the industry we serve. We share these passions. We hear you, are listening closely and taking action. Here is what we are doing:
An Ideal Venue: As swiftly as humanly possible, we are doing the work necessary to procure potential alternative locations for Outdoor Retailer. Though we may wish it different, this is far from a snap of the fingers thing to make happen. Convention centers and hotels are not sitting idle. In every instance of every potential venue, there are hurdles that have to be cleared and that simply cannot be done overnight.
We expect that our current proposal process – which we initiated before any of the company withdrawal announcements last week – will take between 60 and 90 days. We are exploring options for expediting this process and will keep you updated on the progress.
Gather Best Ideas: Outdoor Retailer and Outdoor Industry Association will harness the creative ideas already being put forth by exhibitors to express their opinions at Outdoor Retailer Summer Market. Through unity.outdoorretailer.com, we are exploring options including utilizing the time and funds earmarked for the Industry Breakfast as a time to express our opinions; rallies; conservation town halls; and a community camp out using city parks, among other ideas. We must work within the rules of the city, the existing permits we have and other laws by which we must abide. Our team has already begun to investigate what steps need to be taken to accommodate those activities. We are working in tandem with parties that have put forth ideas including brands, retailers, non-profits, rep groups and others.
We Need You: We need your voice. We need your support. And we need your creative ideas at unity.outdoorretailer.com. Please visit the site and lend your ideas to the community. We will provide updates on what we’ve gathered on Monday, February 27th.
Show Director of Outdoor Retailer