What a difference a year makes. Outdoor Retailer Winter Market 2010 was full of smiles and energy and, yes, much busier and much fuller aisles than we experienced in 2009 -- a time when it appeared most retailers and exhibitors were full of fearful apprehension. The economy is still an issue, but there was little evidence that worry was part of the industry’s state of mind anymore. In fact, our team’s takeaway is that most retailers and exhibitors in 2010 are looking at opportunity in the months ahead and collectively saying, “Game on!”
“Hey, it was a great show. I liked that we were a 10-x-10 with people strewn out into the hallway,” Gheen Hillman, marketing manager for Elite Creations camera bags and accessories, posted on his Facebook page. From most accounts, even those who reported to us that their appointment calendar was far less booked than at previous shows, this was a show that indicated 2010 is full of promise.
Though final numbers will not be released for another week or two, Kenji Haroutunian, Outdoor Retailer show director, said attendance was up by about 9 percent through mid-day of day two.
“We had already hit last year’s number by 11 o’clock yesterday morning,” he said on Jan. 23, referring to Friday, Jan. 22. “We’re tracking well above last year in every category -- stores, buyers and overall attendance.”
To temper the enthusiasm, it is important to note that Haroutunian said he believes that it will take some time before the show again sees the peak attendance it had in 2007 and 2008, and that he expects exhibitors and buyers to continue being selective with the numbers of attendees they send to the show.
SNEWS Morning Report – Don’t miss ‘em
To get a full sense of the energy and vibe from the show, you can revisit what the SNEWS® and Backpacker editorial teams were experiencing, reporting on and observing in the SNEWS Morning Report at www.snewsnet.com/MorningReport. Our team of reporters delivered what we deemed the most entertaining and important Winter Market news to your iPhone, Blackberry, smartphone, computer and, yes, even a few dumb phones every morning by 1 a.m. (OK, so we were yawning a bit by then.)
To be sure your friends and colleagues at Summer Market 2010 don’t miss all the news and insider photos, party and gear reports, and event recommendations, have them signup to get the report at www.snewsnet.com/IWantMyMorningReport -- SNEWS subscribers automatically receive the Morning Report.
If you missed them or even just one, go to www.snewsnet.com/MorningReport where you can take a quick look to see if your company was mentioned or your mug made the news.
– Michael Hodgson