As an outdoor customer, have you ever wanted to attend an industry trade show to get a glimpse of all the gear coming out next season? Soon you will be able to. The Big Gear Show (BGS), the exclusive hardgoods only event created in 2020, attempts to reinvent and reinvigorate the outdoor show model by inviting the public next June.
Moving from its former outdoor location in Park City, Utah, to the Convention Center in downtown Denver, Colorado, the June 8-11 show will feature two days of events for industry buyers and outside media. approved, and two days of a “first-of-its-kind consumer festival”, where everyone is invited to get an up-close look at the new equipment coming to market.
The consumer portion will not involve sales, but rather an “educational and experiential opportunity for those looking to learn and try before they buy,” according to the BGS website. Consumer tickets have yet to be released, but show director Kenji Haroutunian said they will go on sale in early 2023.
BGS calls the event “business-to-business-to-consumer”. According to Haroutunian, “Our philosophy has always been to embrace both retailers and consumers, and we believe the time is right to bring our industry to where the people are.”
Haroutunian said when his team developed the show in 2020, they envisioned it taking place in an accessible downtown like downtown Denver. The pandemic necessitated moving it outside and staging it in an open-air format without consumers, but now, with Utah in the background, the show is poised to become what its creators had in mind from the start.
In addition to this move, BGS is also partnering with its sister event, (e)revolution, an e-bike show, to better serve shoppers and consumers reluctant to fill their calendars with multiple events requiring travel.
At last year’s Big Gear Show in Park City, one point was repeated by many attendees: it was well-run and enjoyable, but too few buyers showed up to make it worthwhile for any many sellers. It wasn’t quite an unexpected challenge. During the pandemic, outdoor gear manufacturers and wholesale buyers have learned how to do business remotely, sign deals and create new partnerships without the hassle, time and money spent attending trade shows.
Despite the new way of doing business, however, the shows are still relevant for in-person camaraderie and an outdoor celebration of culture, according to Haroutunian. By inviting consumers to BGS, he hopes to inject value back into a decidedly old-school event.
“So many purchases have gone digital, and brands have added studios and other measures to showcase their products to remote shoppers,” Haroutunian said. “Having said that, there’s no substitute for face-to-face interaction, especially in an industry as closely related as the outdoors. We don’t want to lose that, and by inviting consumers to experience these interactions, we’re now adding a new dynamic for everyone. »
Moving the show to Denver will also make it accessible to a wider audience. The Denver metro area is home to nearly three million people and has one of the most active outdoor populations in the country. The new show will be especially impactful after Outdoor Retailer moves from Denver to its original home in Salt Lake City next year.
“The outdoor industry is a big part of our thriving economy, creating well-paying jobs, supporting our small businesses across the state, and connecting people to our world-class outdoor activities,” the governor said. of Colorado, Jared Polis, after the news broke. “As a businessperson, I am thrilled with the opportunity the Big Gear Show presents for our entrepreneurs and for our state.”
As for attendance, Haroutunian is optimistic. June is a prime buying window for retailers. For this reason alone, more buyers are expected at BGS 2023 than during the staging in late August last year, when many seasonal orders have already been placed.
“We recognize that early June is a busy time for the industry,” Haroutunian said. “But we think there’s no better time than June to come together and kick off the summer leisure season.”