Grassroots Connect returns with strong 1Q sales growth and sharpened focus on shared values, opportunities and threats

Grassroots buying show returns to Knoxville, June 14-17
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(KNOXVILLE, TENNESSEE) – Grassroots Outdoor Alliance, the national organization dedicated to the health and growth of specialty outdoor retail, returns to the Knoxville Convention Center with their four-day Connect spring buying show, June 14-17, 2018.

In addition to strong retail sales throughout the Grassroots Outdoor Alliance member network -- 5% year-to-year growth in the first quarter of 2018 -- Connect organizers are also reporting increased vibrancy in their retail community following a series of high impact actions taken by the group over the last six months.

According to show organizers, that collaborative process has both sharpened their values commitment and strengthened the organization as a whole.

“The more committed we are as a group to the long term health of independent specialty retail, the easier it is to see the challenges as well as the actions needed to correct them,” said Rich Hill, president of Grassroots Outdoor Alliance. “The emerging threats to our industry health are more than just well known online-only plays. They include other entities that are in opposition to our shared values and to the long-term health and growth of a multi-faceted outdoor industry.”

The consistency and commitment of the value-based organization has also drawn positive attention from outside the retail network: the spring Connect show drew record numbers of vendor exhibitor requests for the invitation-only event, and will see a spike in senior executive attendance from vendor brands.

“There’s a growing awareness that a healthy outdoor industry is simply one that prioritizes the customer instead of a certain sales channel,” said Hill. “We’re seeing an alignment of retailers and vendors around this ‘channel agnostic’ idea, and key players from all sectors are creating and delivering creative programming to drive this home.”

Efficient and affordable for all attendees, Grassroots Connect is the only national show designed specifically to improve retail buying results. Scheduled as early as possible in the buying cycle, and organized to be as simple as possible in layout and design, the upcoming Grassroots Connect show will attract leading independent specialty retailers, vendor brands and outdoor industry media.

Open to members and invited guests, Connect provides a highly efficient opportunity for retailers, reps and vendors to present, discuss, plan and collect pre-season orders. Invited retailers also receive a per attendee reimbursement to offset their travel costs.

The spring Connect show will begin with a member education Day (June 13) which is scheduled to include multiple group seminars as well as the eagerly anticipated Grassroots Dinner & Award night. Retailer and vendor appointments -- which are pre-booked for all attendees by Grassroots Connect staff -- will fill attendee calendars from Thursday to Sunday (June 14-17).

“From pre-booked appointments to a single venue for all events and meetings, the ease of attending Connect remains one of its greatest strengths,” added Hill. “From to the moment you arrive, your time is maximized with pre-booked appointments, all-show events, and truly meaningful conversations.”

Grassroots Connect will be held in the Knoxville Convention Center (, a 500,000-square-foot facility which includes a 120,000-square-foot exhibit hall, a 30,000-square-foot divisible ballroom and 18 meeting rooms. The hall is the first convention center in Tennessee to be certified LEED Silver for Existing Buildings from the USGBC, and Green Certified through the TN Green Hospitality Certification program. The show venue is located a short walk from Market Square, the heart of the city’s vibrant and walkable downtown which includes eclectic shopping, fine dining, outdoor concerts and hotels.

ABOUT GRASSROOTS OUTDOOR ALLIANCE: Grassroots Outdoor Alliance is an active, independent network of 64 independent retailers working together for the health and growth of specialty outdoor retail. Through data collection and analysis, direct member support, specialty events and deep vendor partnerships, Grassroots Outdoor Alliance is creating both a vision and roadmap for the long-term success of independent specialty retail. Grassroots Outdoor Alliance is also recognized as a catalyst for the success of its retailers and vendor partners; an advocate for specialty independent retail; a promoter of education and community within the specialty channel; and a key influencer of the national outdoor industry. For more information on Grassroots Outdoor Alliance, please go to

ABOUT GRASSROOTS CONNECT: Grassroots Connect is an ideally timed, invitation-only buying show for the specialty outdoor industry hosted by Grassroots Outdoor Alliance. Scheduled as early as possible in the buying cycle, Connect provides a highly efficient opportunity for retailers, reps and vendors to present, discuss, plan and collect pre-season orders. Cost-effective and simple, Connect is both an incubator and testing ground for the greater outdoor industry. Invited retailers receive a per attendee reimbursement to offset their travel costs. Future dates for Connect include Denver, Colorado (Nov. 4-7, 2018) and Knoxville, Tennessee (June 10-13, 2019) and. For more information on Grassroots Connect, please go to


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