The Show Itself: Highly Questionable

Crowds kicked off ORSM19 held at the Colorado Convention Center June 18-20th.

Outdoor Retailer, celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2019, has morphed over the years to become a congenial community gathering. Business is still getting done at OR, it’s just not about writing orders. The hunt for what’s new and trending, networking — in exhibitors’ booths, but increasingly happening in the aisles — and making new contacts has come to define business at today’s OR.

Textile suppliers gave the show two thumbs up. The question is whether the textile community is willing to make the trek to Denver yet again in November for OR Winter Market. With the debut of a Functional Fabric Fair, powered by Performance Days, in Portland, Oregon this October, textile people have a new option to consider. The Fair, launching two weeks prior to Winter Market, is a cost-effective show format that prioritizes textiles.

While textile suppliers grapple with the current trade show schedule, the overall industry ponders the relevancy of the current trade show model. Contemporary thinking along the lines of “small is the new big,” suggests the era of everyone under one roof type trade events may be on the wane. A stroll through the packed Venture Out section of ORSM19 is an indicator of what an outdoor show may look like in the near future — youthful, spirited and uniquely outdoor.