Outdoor Industry Association Announces Revamped Outdoor University

Outdoor University, an Outdoor Industry Association program that delivers premier training resources to outdoor industry retailers, will offer an entirely new program series in 2007.

BOULDER, CO (December 6, 2006) – Outdoor University, an Outdoor Industry Association program that delivers premier training resources to outdoor industry retailers, will be offering an entirely new program series in 2007. Outdoor University will focus on providing retail managers and owners with practical business skills training to improve their performance, competitive edge, and business success.

Based on participant and industry feedback through surveys and interviews, the 2007 Outdoor University programming will focus on management and higher level specialty retail staff, where training resources will improve business infrastructure and ensure top-down skill development. 2007 Outdoor University training will include a series of retailer workshops on business topics such as retail sales growth, operating margins, cash flow, inventory turns, business expenses, internet sales, and technology. Other training areas will include strategies for buying, employee and staff management, manufacturer relations, and community involvement.

“Outdoor University was developed to improve the growth and prosperity of specialty outdoor retailers. Whereas the original Outdoor University provided this through floor staff training, it did not address the outstanding long term training needs of specialty retailers, including access to financial, management, and best practices training,” said OIA President Frank Hugelmeyer. “This new training model addresses these needs with stronger and more accessible retail management training.”

The new Outdoor University training model will provide training workshops in conjunction with regional buying shows, national tradeshows, and national OIA conferences. This structure will allow Outdoor University to access the diverse regional distribution of specialty retailers during convenient times alongside established shows. Outdoor University training camps geared at retailer floor staff will no longer be offered in 2007.

The new Outdoor University structure offers some clear advantages; the program will be more cost effective, concentrated, and tactical for both the administrators and the attendees. ”Previously, a great deal of time, money, and organization was devoted to the logistical aspects of Outdoor University. This took resources away from the programming element,” explained Hugelmeyer. “Moving forward, OIA will be better able to focus Outdoor University resources on the high caliber speakers and presenters that can provide the professional level of training that our industry expects. Outdoor University is well positioned to ensure the success of specialty outdoor retailers, and the industry as a whole.”

A tentative schedule has been set for 2007 Outdoor University Training Workshops:
• August 19 – EORA Mid Atlantic Show
• August 25 – EORA Southeast Show
• TBD – ORA Midwest Rep Show
• October 3 - OIA Rendezvous Conference

A survey to finalize 2007 workshop curriculum is currently underway with past Outdoor University participants and specialty reps and retailers.

For information about the changes in the Outdoor University format please contact Ann Obenchain, OIA Director of Member Services, at 303.444.3353 or email aobenchain@outdoorindustry.org