After Outdoor Retailer's unexpected cancellation of the November show in Denver, Grassroots Outdoor Alliance has decided to move its fall event to Kansas City beginning in November 2020.

The selection process included more than 20 cities. Denver and Reno, Nevada were finalists, but ultimately, Kansas City took the cake for its overall cost, attendee experience, venue location, flight availability, amenities, walkability, and exhibitor logistics.

“We knew Kansas City was going to deliver a combination of walkability, ease of location, and low cost," said Rich Hill, president of Grassroots Outdoor Alliance. "But what surprised us was how modern, cool and engaging it was. Kansas City is a fantastic venue for Grassroots Connect as it truly mirrors the qualities of our most successful events. Kansas City also has tons of awesome restaurants, plenty of great hotels and the ability to scale for future growth.”

2020 and 2021 Grassroots Connect dates

June 12 to 15, 2020 in Knoxville, Tennessee

Nov. 9 to 12, 2020 in Kansas City, Missouri

June 7 to 10, 2021 in Knoxville Tennessee

Nov. 8 to 11, 2021 in Kansas City, Missouri

When Outdoor Retailer cancelled the fall show, Grassroots Outdoor Alliance also lost its contract in Denver because the buying show was co-locating its Connect Show with the national event. The  group held its last show in Denver in November 2019, but expedited its search for a new venue.

Kansas City Convention Center

Grassroots' fall Connect Show will take place at the Kansas City Convention Center in 2020 and 2021.

“It was a bit of a scramble, but it was also a huge opportunity," Hill said. "Our strategy was to hone in on exactly what we wanted, and to blanket the world with requests for proposals. We were incredibly fortunate and thankful to have the quality of response that we did."

There's opportunity for the Connect Show to grow. Interest in Grassroots Outdoor Alliance continues to rise because specialty retailers and vendors are attracted to the show's unique format, which includes covering a large portion of travel costs for attending retailers.

“Grassroots Connect delivers a remarkable value to retailers, Hill said. “And we want to be able to offer that opportunity to more retailers in the future.”

Kansas City, located on Missouri's western edge, is an underrated mecca for art, food and beer, culture, and history. It was ranked this year as one of the top 50 metros to live in the U.S., according to U.S. News and World Report.

The Kansas City Convention Center includes 388,800 square feet of column-free exhibit space, in addition to more than 500,000 square foot of associated facilities. The center is connected to major downtown hotels and underground parking, as well as a popular shopping plaza.

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