OR Summer market now in session | ParkRecord.com

OR Summer market now in session

by Andrew Kirk, OF THE RECORD STAFF

The 20th Outdoor Retailer Summer Market started Tuesday and welcomes almost 1,000 vendors and tens of thousands of attendees to the Salt Palace through Friday.

The Salt Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau estimates that the 23,000 attendees will generate $19 million in direct spending.

Park City experiences some spillover from that. Peter Robinson, a manager at Trout Bum 2 on Highway 224, said he gets a lot of people coming up during breaks at the convention to fish the Provo River.

"They’re typical outdoor people," Robinson said. "I’m sure they spend a lot of money in Park City while being in town."

Maura Lansford, spokesperson for the OR Summer Market, said registration and attendance numbers are right on track. This year may even exceed last year.

"It’s not a recession-proof industry, but in general, outdoor recreation is doing quite well," she said.

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About 800 booth vendors are returning this year with an additional 120 first-time exhibitors.

Dan Templin, chairman of the board for the Outdoor Industry Association, said the slow economy has definitely had an impact on the industry, but that sales are down only about 5 to 9 percent, with some areas actually seeing increased sales.

For example, a trend has been for people to reassess their values and how they spend their time. Many are deciding to take their families camping more. Tent and sleeping-bag sales are up almost 20 percent from last year.

To take advantage of this increased camping activity, outdoor retailers must communicate that they have "cool, functional, authentic products to help people reconnect with nature," he said.

That’s the purpose of events like the OR Summer Market, he said.

"We’re focused on increasing participation among youth and increasing diversity," he said. "This industry is all about innovation. You will see a lot of new things at this show they’ll be pushing innovation because it creates hype. Our industry is very optimistic about the future."

Glen Traylor, assistant to the hard-goods buyer at Cole Sport, said the buyers attend the show to see new products and hear feedback from other retailers about products.

"It allows us to get our preseason orders in," he said. "It lets us get a head start on things."

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