The November show will not go on, Outdoor Retailer announced on its website on Wednesday.
The Winter Market was scheduled for Nov. 5 to 7, but it is now being united with Snow Show slated for Jan. 29 to 31, 2020 in Denver.
“We care deeply about our community, and alongside OIA, we’re working to support the diverse, evolving needs of the market in order to help the outdoor and snow industries thrive," said Marisa Nicholson, Outdoor Retailer senior vice president and show director. "It’s our goal to bring our industry together and provide the most productive platform for success."
Outdoor Retailer held the first November show in 2018 after the outdoor community asked for Winter Market to occur before the buying season. It was previously held in early January and the Snowsports Industries America (SIA) show was later that month.
But the first November show was rocky and received mixed reviews. Some said it was perfect timing and the quiet hallways allowed them to get real work done; others said it was a waste of their time and expenses.
A SNEWS poll right after the November 2018 show found that 39 percent of voters felt the Winter Market was a disappointment and 15 percent said it was productive. Only 2 percent said it was the best show ever.
After the cancellation of Interbike 2019, Outdoor Retailer announced that they were adding bikes to the 2019 Winter Market. Nicholson told SNEWS that they will continue to welcome bike brands to both shows.
Nicholson in her statement continued, “Through ongoing feedback, it has become clear that one combined winter show in January will best support brands, retailers and reps, leading to greater value for all in attendance. Outdoor Retailer is where the entire industry comes together, and we’re looking forward to having outdoor and snowsports gather for one vibrant show and to collectively help our industry continue to grow."
“It is clear now that the industry would like one consolidated winter show and we support Outdoor Retailer’s decision to bring the two winter shows together under one roof and in one timeframe," Amy Roberts, outgoing OIA executive director, said. "Outdoor Retailer is the one moment when we come together as an industry and we look forward to supporting an exceptional show in January 2020."
Outdoor Retailer is holding spots at the newly-named January Outdoor + Snow Show for already contracted exhibitors and sponsors. If brands cannot make it to January, they will be refunded, Nicholson said.
Grassroots Outdoor Alliance responds
For now, Grassroots Connect is still slated for Nov. 1 to 5.
Grassroots President Rich Hill shared with SNEWS the message he sent to vendor and retailer members:
Earlier today, we were all informed by Emerald Expositions that they were cancelling their November Outdoor Retailer show dates.
We recognize that we need to move ahead carefully and thoughtfully, as the potential impacts of the Outdoor Retailer withdrawal are significant and varied. We also recognize that while Grassroots Connect has always been an essential gathering for specialty retail businesses, it is even more important now.
Our intention for the fall 2019 Grassroots Connect is to continue as planned with our original venue, show schedule and dates. However, based on today’s information, Grassroots Outdoor Alliance is confirming all operational details and working to ensure Connect delivers on its core values of efficiency and affordability for all of you.
So...DON'T CHANGE YOUR FLIGHTS JUST YET...we will communicate any adjustments to the fall 2019 Connect show plans as quickly as possible. Our goal is to ensure that travel adjustments only occur once in the face of this change to all of our schedules. In the meantime, if you have specific questions, please let our team know.
The outdoor and snowsports industry reacts
Nick Sargent, president of SIA, told SNEWS that he's excited to make the January show bigger and better than ever. The point of Outdoor Retailer and Emerald Expositions buying the Snow Show was to consolidate into two shows. Sargent said the two winter shows created confusion.
"On one hand, we tried it. On the other hand we proved it's just one too many shows for our industry. You could feel it," Sargent said. "...There are always going to be those people or brands that it doesn’t align for, but the majority will benefit from it in the alignment."
One clothing and footwear buyer commented on Facebook that the January show is "useless" to him. "Too close to deadlines to get anything done and I’ll use most of my open to buy budget at GOA and WWSRA. I feel sorry for buyers that can only get to the January show. Those deadlines are gonna be tight."
Brands who asked for the November timing will now need to find other avenues to meet their needs for the buying season, such as at regional shows, through sales reps, and during personal visits. An outdoor industry member commented on Facebook, "Tell those brands who have early deadlines there are tons of other choices in the market."
Nicholson said that at this time they are receiving no pushback as the overall sentiment is that a single show is the most efficient for the industry. "Our goal is to provide value to the communities we serve, so in doing so, we need to be able to listen and hear what the industry wants and respond accordingly," she said.
Oberalp North America told SNEWS in a statement that the brand “supports the decision to combine the two shows back into one. For our backcountry ski brands Dynafit and Pomoca, the January timing and the ability to see both our outdoor and ski retailers at one national winter show has always made the most sense. Now we have that again with the Outdoor + Snow Show in one event in Denver in January. It works great for us.”
In another SNEWS poll posted July 17 asking about which shows outdoor professionals were attending, 42 percent voted that they were only going to the Snow Show, 23 percent said both, 22 percent said neither, and 13 percent said November Winter Market only.
"The November show was a great idea in theory but difficult to implement so soon between summer and winter shows," Michael Restivo, an outdoor industry professional, said. "While Outdoor Retailer attempted to rebrand it, I don't think that it was well received by many and I think that OR burnout was real. Some found November show as an easier way to communicate, as there was less attendance, but in the end, it didn't seem like it was a sustainable schedule."