Outdoor gear show not back to pre-pandemic numbers, still important for participating retailers

Local News

DENVER (KDVR) — The Colorado Convention Center is hosting the Outdoor Retailers Summer Show. While the number of exhibitors is down dramatically, the show remains a very important cornerstone for Colorado retail.

Two years ago, over 800 exhibitors from around the country filled the halls at the Colorado Convention Center. This year, post COVID, only 400 showed up. It is not business as usual, but it is still business, 

“This is where the action has been since the pandemic started, people going outdoors and looking for more outdoor product, more apparel,” Pendleton Wool Mills Executive Vice President, Bob Christnacht said.

Colorado is a huge outdoor merchandise market, and the challenge for exhibitors now is to catch the eye of a retailer.

Inventory that was manufactured overseas is not back at 100%, which increases the challenge to catch a retailer’s eye like that of Jimmy Funkhouser who owns FERAL Outdoor Gear in Denver. 

”We are here trying to predict the future, what’s the thing that’s gonna be cool not now, but 12 months from now, and that’s the whole job with shopping at trade shows,” Funkhouser said.

Some well-established exhibitors, like Pendleton, offer up new items, as well as some classics that are here to stay.

And when all else fails, there is comfort to be found in the familiar.

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