Outdoor: Did you hear?...

VNU Expo loses Gordon and Williams, ispovision postponed, Michigan pursuing out-of-state businesses, Buff sponsors Team Salomon, Kneissl files bankruptcy, MapCard launches new features, Atomic holds dealer camp, Birthday challenge, Merrell launches Shop-In-Shop...
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>> Two long-time VNU trade show employees are leaving the Outdoor Retailer and Fly-Fishing Retailer fold. Beth Gordon, national sales manager, and Summer Williams, special events manager, each gave notice in late April. After more than six years, Gordon is joining Czarnowski Exhibit Services as an account executive, which she said allows her to continue her work in the trade show industry. Her last day is May 14. For now, account executives, Andy Tompkins and Kenji Haroutunian, will work with Gordon's clients for the upcoming trade shows. To stay in touch, Gordon can be reached at andeeandme@aol.com. Williams left May 1 after nearly four years with the company to move back to her home state of Missouri to be closer to family and prepare for her upcoming wedding. Expo management is looking for replacements for the two positions.

>> Messe Munchen's new ispovision trade show has been postponed until winter 2004. Originally scheduled for summer 2003 during the ispo trade show in Munich, the show's concept is to blend lifestyle, fashion and sports into a Fashion City exhibit showcase complete with shopping streets, market squares and multi-level storefronts in an exhibit hall. Within each module, exhibitors can create their own themes from concept shops to showrooms to flagship stores in one of four districts. Peter Knoll, exhibition director of Messe Munchen, told SNEWS in an email that despite favorable feedback on the overall concept, it has been postponed based on recent input from industry participants. "At the moment our project team, which consists of external market experts and exhibition managers, are holding intensive discussions with all representatives of the market. The allotted time span only until the summer of the current year is however somewhat short, with the result that numerous firms cannot or do not wish to make a decision at present on their participation in ispovision," Knoll told SNEWS.

>> Michigan now has a Single Business Tax (SBT) and the state has announced it will begin enforcing against any out-of-state business entity conducting sales or business in the state that has not filled out an SBT tax return. The SBT is a value-added tax imposed on any company conducting business in the state and is based upon the gross receipts from business transactions in Michigan with a threshold of $250,000 for the tax year ending Dec. 31, 2002. Recently, California also made businesses aware it has had a similar tax on the books for decades, but has yet to really enforce the code. Contact your business tax consultant or legal advisor to be sure your business is in compliance.

>> Caviro, S.L., parent company of Buff-branded headwear, has signed sponsorship deals in the United States with Team Salomon USA's adventure racing athletes and Yeti Cycles racing team. "Buff headwear is ideal for adventure racing because, by their nature, adventure races are unpredictable and last long enough that the weather conditions and exertion levels are bound to vary widely. Given the versatility of a Buff, bringing it along for the entire route is a no-brainer," Adam Chase, Team Salomon's captain, said. The Salomon Team plans to use the headwear when it competes in the 2003 Raid Gauloises in Krygyzstan, the Wasatch Adventure Race, the Salomon Raid Series in Idaho, and the U.S. Adventure Racing Association National Championships. The Yeti racing team will use Buffs in various downhill and four-cross events this year.

>> Austrian company Kneissl & friends group has filed for bankruptcy. Company officials have stated that they hope to keep the factory, which has a capacity of 15,000 high performance skis, open but insiders tell us a more likely scenario is an investor acquiring Kneissl assets and probably shutting down the factory. In the United States, Kneissl skis and boots are distributed by Roces USA. SNEWS View: Raichle, Deeluxe and Dachstein brands, all former Kneissl brands sold by the company in the last year are probably breathing a sigh of relief that they are not affected by bankruptcy proceedings. It is likely the Kneissl brand will continue, but under new ownership. Hmm, wonder if an Italian company might be interested simply because of the brand name and its sales strength in the German markets? If so, it'll probably be able to snap up Kneissl for a song.

>> MapCard -- www.mapcard.com -- a Backpacker magazine award winner in 2003 for Best New Product is adding a new feature this June -- automated exchange with GPS. Users access the website during the subscription term and can customize and generate their own maps using GPS waypoints uploaded to the site. Pretty nifty. MyTopo.com, which recently merged with MapCard, has also begun offering customized air photo maps, which the SNEWS team recently tested and came away quite impressed with the quality. Go to www.mytopo.com for details.

>> Atomic USA recently flew 15 key North American dealers to Altenmarkt, Austria, to visit Atomic's worldwide headquarters and the company's new $7 million research and development center. All were first-time visitors to Atomic headquarters and all were afforded a quick peek into a facility that manufacturers 4,000 pairs of skis per day, as well as Atomic's state-of-the-art boot-molding department. Dealers also got a memorable chance to test skis at nearby Zauchensee with Michael Walchhofer, winner of this year's World Championship Downhill in St. Moritz. More such dealer camps are planned.

>> Birthday Challenge update. It's been a while since we've reported on this unique website and its associated whacky challenges for a good cause, but we've been made aware of one that is worth some attention. Patrick Neuman is attempting to raise $24,000 for Cystic Fibrosis and children's organ transplants. He's about to start his 24-day challenge where he'll attempt to drive to 24 states and complete 24 bouldering problems in each state. Neuman is only $5,000 off his goal, so contributions are greatly appreciated. If you live near a bouldering area he's visiting and wouldn't mind offering up a shower or a driveway to park his van in, Neuman would appreciate the assist. Go to www.birthdaychallenge.com for details.

>> Merrell has launched a national Shop-In-Shop initiative, a modular program featuring a customized selling environment. Designed to accommodate any retail situation, the program offers multiple solutions from a freestanding floor display to a 20-foot by 20-foot dedicated brand area. The program will showcase two distinct product segments: Outventure (a fusion of outdoor and adventure) and Aftersport. Retailers can choose from a variety of shop configurations including floor fixtures, tabletop units, wall structures and a unique "oasis" display, which provides a seating and fitting area. Materials include faux fur, textured fabrics, wood laminates, recycled rubber, cork and colored acrylics. Graphic components include lifestyle imagery, leather logos, technical signage, graphic inserts and audio. In 2003, 60 shops will participate, including Dillard's, Larry's, Littles, Paragon, Parisian's, Bivouac and Erewhon.

>> Confluence Watersports has promoted Scott Robards to the new position of marketing director. Robards will be responsible for managing all day-to-day marketing operations and will report to Kelley Woolsey, vice president of marketing and sales.

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