In an open letter, Grassroots Outdoor Alliance President Rich Hill addressed the outdoor industry last week. Here is that letter in full:
Dear Grassroots Principals: I’ll get right to it.
Grassroots Outdoor Alliance is going to delay plans to co-locate Connect with Outdoor Retailer until at least the fall of 2019.
We remain happily committed to Knoxville for our next two Connect shows through June 2018. But following an unanimous vote by our board of directors last week, we are looking for a new home for Connect for fall 2018 and summer 2019. This new search will continue looking at sites in the Rocky Mountain West, but will include other options nationwide.
As Grassroots Outdoor Alliance members, your resources –- both time and money –- are our top priority. Based on our team’s lengthy and full evaluation of venues in Denver and surrounding areas, we have concluded that Connect will provide a better value to you by being held elsewhere.
As you know, Connect is uniquely built around the buyer experience, prioritizing efficiency and enabling easy “connections” to be made among attendees. To achieve this, Connect requires a quality exhibition location clustered within walking distance of lodging, restaurants and other amenities. It also requires coordinated dates that work for both our members and our vendors.
At 170,000 square feet and growing, Connect is bigger than many people realize. The Grassroots team has canvassed all available exhibition hall options from Colorado Springs to Ft. Collins, as well as some in neighboring states. While there are locations in development in the Denver area which may be suitable for future Connect events, none currently exist.
Co-location of Connect with Outdoor Retailer is still a goal, as the concept has the potential to deliver extremely efficient and profitable shows for our membership. To achieve that goal, however, Connect must be held in a location that allows us to maintain or exceed the value delivered at previous venues.
For the last year, Grassroots Outdoor Alliance has enjoyed the chance to contribute to many of the conversations regarding re-location of the Outdoor Retailer show, with hopes of realizing the potential of a hyper-efficient, co-located event.
We definitely recognize that many of you benefit from attending Outdoor Retailer. Because of that obvious reality, we will continue working on solutions that enable you to maximize your time and resources around Outdoor Retailer as well as the rest of the trade show calendar.
As always, we will communicate any updates or changes to our future event calendar as soon as possible in as direct and clear a manner as possible.
Rich Hill, President, Grassroots Outdoor Alliance