Colorado’s outside retailer 2021 smaller than previous occasions however nonetheless going robust – CBS Denver
DENVER (CBS4) – For the first time since before the pandemic, the country’s largest outdoor leisure fair is taking place at the Colorado Convention Center. In outdoor retail, companies vie for the attention of industry peers, not the public.
The show comes after more people than usual turned outside while the pandemic closed indoor events.
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“It was an explosion in the outdoor industry,” said Tim Nakari, owner of Broomfield-based Gamiviti.
According to a spokesman, around 12,000 people signed up for the event and nearly 400 brands appeared, which is smaller than past events. Regardless, the people in the showroom told CBS4 that they were thrilled to be back at a convention.
“There is definitely a lot of buzz about it,” said Jon Frederick, US country manager for outdoor clothing companies Rab and Lowe Alpine. “It’s exciting to see how the outdoor industry is bringing some revenue into this economy.”
The opportunity to exhibit the company’s products in person is not a matter of course for Frederick. Like many others, his company hopes to build on the unexpected success of a pandemic year.
Frederick said 2020 started with uncertainty and ended with the two best quarters the company has ever reported.
“As never before in the outdoor industry, we saw new users at all levels such as hiking, trail running, backpacking, etc.,” said Frederick.
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Nakari, a retailer, says the boom was industry wide.
“Without being able to get on a plane or a hotel, people have been pushed to get into their vehicles now and explore more, or get on their feet and explore more,” said Nakari. “I have a feeling that it will probably be on a plateau, but I don’t see any downturn.”
For companies like Rab, the fair is a chance to keep that momentum going and it starts with face-to-face networking.
“We wanted to sit across from dealers who feel comfortable here, because we’re all about partnerships,” says Frederick.
“It’s great to see people’s faces, to reconnect with people you haven’t seen in two to three years, and to shake hands and hug people again,” said Kelley Smith, president of Kokopelli , a Denver-based company that sells inflatable packrafts.
This year these connections can be made in smaller groups or through a mask that many attendees wore, but it’s an improvement over last year when large events weren’t possible.
“I think this show really needs to be on, and these retailers really need it,” said Nakari. “You rely on it.
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The show is scheduled to take place again in Denver from January 26-28, 2022.