SNEWS® (Specialty News) publishers Michael Hodgson and Therese Iknoian have partnered with former Outdoor Retailer show sales representative Gene Treacy to launch a news and product communications network for the outdoor and fitness industries.
The newly expanded network will include GearTrends® and SNEWS®, an independent, advertising-free news source. GearTrends® will be a web and print package designed to reach the trade, consumers, and media in an expanded format.
"It is our mission to clearly establish SNEWS® and GearTrends® as the indisputable industry sources not only for accurate and timely news, analysis, and trend information, but also for the scoop on companies and their products that will help grow business, inform the trade, and educate consumers," said Hodgson. "We promise inspiration, truth, and open discussion in a way that is always curious, never too serious."
A new partner in the joint venture is outdoor industry veteran, Gene Treacy, who resigned from Outdoor Retailer after 14 years -- where he most recently was an OR trade show account executive -- to become an equity partner with Iknoian and Hodgson in the project. Treacy's career began with Sporting Goods Business where he worked on ad sales, until moving into ad and trade show sales for both SGB and OR. Treacy will be director of sales for GearTrends®.
"The challenge and the opportunity to create a new industry communication model makes this project especially attractive," Treacy said. "These tools are poised to become the most efficient methods for retailers, manufacturers, media and certainly consumers to have immediate and constant access to the best information and happenings in the outdoor and fitness industries.”
As part of the network, SNEWS® -- an electronic source of insider news serving both industries -- will remain advertising-free so it can supply the best and bias-free news and analysis, while retaining its reputation for wit and attitude.
In its new format, slated to launch by late September, GearTrends® will be a searchable electronic reference and research tool on the web offering snapshots of key company information and new products. It will now be supported by three print information guides, each version tentatively titled "GearTrends, The Book:"
- "GearTrends, The Book -- Winter Outdoor" will appear in January
- "GearTrends, The Book -- Fitness" will appear in July
- "GearTrends, The Book -- Summer Outdoor" will appear in August
All three GearTrends books will be unveiled at major domestic trade shows and international trade fairs, and will be widely mailed to retailers, media and manufacturers.
"The outdoor and fitness industries overlap in many ways," said Iknoian. “The distribution of these books will help introduce companies of either segment to both markets and help them reach multiple audiences without having to attend every single show. Since the GearTrends books will not be trade-show reliant, they will be the most cost-effective approach to business expansion."
The web site, GearTrends®, (www.geartrends.com) is customized so that the public sees only consumer-relevant information, while trade and media, logging in with a password, see additional details for their business needs.
Staff for SNEWS® and GearTrends® will continue to be those who live, breathe, and love the industries -- real do-ers, not outsiders just looking in, and not wanna-bes. For Hodgson, Iknoian, and Treacy, the new endeavor is also as much about giving back to the industries they are a part of, as it is about providing an information service for them. Part of the team's business plan commits a percentage of profits to be given each year to support causes important to both the outdoor and fitness communities.
Also joining the SNEWS®/GearTrends® team will be Marcus Woolf, former Outdoor Retailer senior editor, who becomes a senior contributing writer to cover news and trends for SNEWS® as well as to write market reports for "GearTrends®, The Book." Other contributors will include Sharon Leicham, merchandising and design consultant and former OR merchandising editor; Clyde Soles, outdoor and training book author, and former Rock & Ice and Trail Runner gear editor; and outdoor and sports free-lancer Ted Stedman. The team will continue to expand over the next few months.
Published since 1983, SNEWS® reaches thousands of industry professionals around the globe.