In the last week the Outdoor Retailer Show has seen several companies state their opposition to the policies of Utah’s Governor Gary Herbert by announcing that they will not be attending this summer’s Outdoor Retailer Show in Salt Lake City, Utah — Patagonia, Arc’teryx, and Polartech just to name a few. With all these announcements the group that stands to lose the most is the Outdoor Retailer Show itself. And we wondered what their response would be.
In a open letter to the outdoor industry titled Our Goal is Not Just to Speak. Our Goal is to be Heard, OR Show Director Marisa Nicholson said today (Tuesday, February 14, 2017) that while several companies have announced they are leaving, other have showed their support.
“We respect that brands have to make decisions that reflect their values,” Nicholson says. “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.)
While Nicholson says OR respects the larger company’s decisions, the people she says the boycott hurts most are the smaller brands.
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,” Nicholson says. “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.
Yes, trade show directors still believe that trade shows are important, and so do some brands, but Utah’s governor certainly isn’t helping anyone out by being staunchly against the protection of wilderness lands.
Nicholson says Outdoor Retailer is “as swiftly as humanly possible” looking for alternative locations to hold the show. So there’s that. For Nicholson’s entire letter, please follow the jump.
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