Free food, inspiration, the new governor and a toolkit to increase sales
The Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) has received a significant boost to its efforts to bring strong events to Outdoor Retailer trade shows through a multiyear relationship with SmartWool, as the title sponsor of the Industry Breakfast and Retailer Seminar Series -- beginning with this year's Winter Market. The agreement is a four-year commitment through 2008. The Industry Breakfast and Retailer Seminar Series are designed to generate new ideas on how to develop the industry's consumer outreach initiatives and grow critical markets.
The sponsorship is starting out with a bang this year. In an effort to put research into practice and grow participation in outdoor recreation, the Outdoor Industry Foundation released "Getting Women Active," the first installment in the Toolkit for the Trade series. "Getting Women Active" is a toolkit filled with practical research case studies and tips for growing the women's segment of outdoor recreation across all channels and includes:
â€¢ Four case studies covering a diverse group of specialty retailers. Each case study highlights techniques for increasing participation among women in outdoor activities and tailoring the retail environment to meet the needs of women.
â€¢ Sharon Leicham (the GearTrendsÂ® and SNEWSÂ® merchandising editor) booklets on how to create a "Women Friendly Store" and "Marketing and Promotions" to and for women.
â€¢ Research tracking participation, attitudes and purchase behaviors among women with a tip sheet on turning data into tangible actions.
â€¢ CD of successful regional ads and retail shop photos from around the country.
â€¢ Newsletter by expert marketer Lisa Johnson on Visible vs. Transparent marketing.
Attendees to the Industry Breakfast will receive their own copy of the toolkit. Lisa Johnson will also be speaking. But it gets better. Following in Govs. Leavitt and Walker's footsteps of strengthening ties with the outdoor industry, Utah's recently inaugurated Gov. Jon M. Huntsman Jr. will likely make an appearance at the breakfast and say a few words to the crowd. This is significant as the 2005 Outdoor Retailer Winter Market will mark the ninth consecutive year that the show has been held in Salt Lake City, bringing an estimated $32 million and 35,000 visitors to the state each year. The 2005 Winter Market will be the first show since OIA recommended keeping the show in Salt Lake City for five years contingent on commitments from the state to promote and protect Utah's premier recreation destination and economy, as well as a significant expansion to the Salt Palace which has already broken ground.
If you have not reserved your space at the OIA Industry Breakfast, do so now by emailing Cathy Howland at email@example.com
Naturally, all the events at Outdoor Retailer have worth, or they wouldn't be scheduled, right? Well, OK, maybe worth is a relative term. Our team has poured over the litany of events, book signings, parties and scheduled debauchery and the following are our final picks of those we believe are absolutely worth your valuable time:
>> No, it is not really exciting in terms of an event or free stuff or even free food, but in light of the new seamless technology which is being used more and more, Winter Market attendees now have a unique opportunity to check out how Sewfree, a film that enables seamless garment construction, is used by brands such as Arc'Teryx, Marmot, Nike, Columbia, EMS, Cabela's, Mountain Hardwear and The North Face. Sewfree's Massachusetts-based manufacturer, Bemis Associates, will be running a fully interactive exhibit showcasing Sewfree. The exhibition booth will feature continuous, live machine operations to demonstrate how to bond fabrics and materials in a variety of apparel applications. Ultrasonic, hot air sealers and continuous fusing presses will also be on display, as will video presentation of apparel manufacturing utilizing the latest machinery in the industry -- booth 3597.
>> ProBar is kicking it up with a "Snack for Cash" promotion. All you have to do is swing by the ProBar booth 1551 on Day 1, 2 or 3 of the show -- try one of its all-natural energy bars, drop off a business card and pick up a badge sticker. Be spotted on the trade show floor wearing your ProBar sticker and become the recipient of $100 bill on the spot. Three $100 bills will be awarded daily, with the promotion limited to buyers and journalists only. In addition to the cash, ProBar tells us it will give away four cases of ProBar to one name daily that will be drawn out of a hat -- you need not be present to claim a prize.
>> We all love free music. Working with Backpacker magazine, High Gear will be supplying 2,000 custom music CDs that include the music of Patrice Pike (she's playing at the Industry Party) as part of Backpacker's Survival Kit Winter Door Drop promotion. The Survival Kits have been created by Backpacker in an effort to promote its annual Editor's Choice Awards. If you are lucky enough to be one of the show attendees occupying the 2,000 hotel rooms closest to the Salt Palace, you'll be smiling. In addition to the folks who will receive a complimentary copy of this CD hanging on their door, High Gear will be giving away two of its MP3 players each day of the show by randomly drawing retailer business cards from a hat. There will also be 100 extra copies of the CD available at High Gear's booth -- 1305.
>> Well, they aren't putting on a log cutting competition this year, but Arborwear is worth a peek nonetheless. An arborist buddy will be demonstrating tree climbing techniques from a rope hanging from the ceiling. This won't be quite as exciting as climbing a 200-foot redwood, but we think folks will get a kick out of some of the nifty tricks tree climbers use to get up into the canopy. Demonstrations will be conducted by the same fellow who braved the mechanical bull at the Hooked On The Outdoor's Summer Market party in 2004, wearing nothing but a one-of-a-kind Arborwear thong -- we're just grateful that he has since retired the garb and will be wearing real pants for the climbing demonstrations.
>> We've seen the Zip Code Man performing outdoors in downtown Boulder and can confirm -- he's a riot! No matter where you live or the weather conditions you endure, the Zip Code Man can tell you what your zip code is and a weather fact about where you live. Thanks to SmartWool, you can catch the Zip Code Man, a Guinness world record holder and "Best of Boulder" entertainer at booth 3333 on Days 1, 2 and 3. He'll be showing off his incredible memory, as well as storytelling skills and, as expected, tossing SmartWool socks to the audience as part of his "oops, I lost it" juggling act. SmartWool also informs the SNEWSÂ® team that it will be serving adult beverages.
>> Exercise while at any trade show is a good thing, and no, hefting a beer mug repetitively does not count. Based on personal experience, we'd recommend heading outdoors to the south plaza corner of the Salt Palace between 6:30 and 8 a.m. to hook up with the Leki team for Nordic walking demos. We guarantee you'll work up a good sweat and you'll also get to learn personally what Nordic walking is all about -- and perhaps decide if it is a good product for your store or not? Beside the fitness potential, Leki will be serving up Starbucks coffee and ProBar snacks and giving away products from High Gear, GoLite, Katadyn, Deuter, CamelBak, Thorlos and, of course, Leki.
>> At the Backcountry Basecamp on Jan. 28, Tubbs will donate $5 to the Susan G. Koman Foundation for every person that walks their marked snowshoe course in their snowshoes. The first 100 participants to sign up for the event will also receive an official Nalgene pink "Romp" water bottle. The event is a scaled-down Romp To Stomp Out Breast Cancer event. For every participant who walks the course, Tubbs will also introduce its first official women's-specific "Romp" series pink ribbon snowshoe, available next winter, to raise awareness and funds for breast cancer testing/screening and research. While the course is open all day, the event begins at 1 p.m. At that time, participants will have an opportunity to hear from a representative of the Salt Lake City Susan G. Komen Affiliate to learn more about the Komen Foundation and the snowshoe series; be among the first to test drive the new "Romp" snowshoe; enter to win a Tubbs and Columbia Gear Package (jacket, ski pants, boots, snowshoes); enjoy a cup of Green Mountain Coffee at the Tubbs/Green Mountain Coffee Kitchen, located at the heated Tubbs Event Tent.