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Outdoor Retailer Announces it Is (and has Been) Looking for a New Location

Last year's summer show. This photo is a screenshot from OR's 2016 Summer Market Recap Video

Yesterday, Outdoor Retailer responded to all the kerfuffle around the show this year that really started when Black Diamond CEO Peter Metcalf wrote an op-ed calling for OR to leave Utah. Marisa Nicholson, the show's director, sent out a press release stating that OR is looking for other locations. She also said the show had already been looking, even before brands like Patagonia announced they will be withdrawing in protest to Utah Gov. Herbert's move to rescind Bears Ears National Monument. 

RELATED: Patagonia Takes Action, Withdrawals from Outdoor Retailer

While Nicholson respects that brands need to make decisions that that reflect their values, she emphasized that this is not a "one and done issue." Bears Ears is just the most current example of what has been a long and hard series of fights for the outdoor industry — and Outdoor Retailer, wherever it is held, is a unique platform for the industry and brands of all sizes to come together and make a stand.

"Outdoor Retailer is the only gathering where the entire industry comes together to conduct commerce, share best practices and exchange ideas. There is no other event where the most respected iconic brands and retailers - large, medium and small in size - show up 'en force,'" she said in the release.

It looks like Outdoor Retailer is doing the work necessary to find potential alternative locations for the show, but they expect the proposal process (which, to be clear, was initiated before any company withdraws from the show) will take between 60 and 90 days. "Though we may wish it different, this is far from a snap of the fingers thing to make happen. Convention centers and hotels are not sitting idle. In every instance of every potential venue, there are hurdles that have to be cleared and that simply cannot be done overnight." 

(Arc'Teryx Follows Patagonia's Lead, Drops out of OR)

Nicholson emphasized "the heartfelt expressions of support for the show from exhibitors of all sizes have far outweighed those choosing not to participate. Iconic brands such as adidas Outdoor, Ibex, The Conservation Alliance, The North Face, REI and Wolverine Worldwide, among many others have not only reinforced their intent to come to SLC this summer, but also, will make their voices louder than ever before."

To further persuade other companies from dropping out of the show, she added: "The boycott of Outdoor Retailer levies the most significant negative impact on those medium and small-sized companies that count on the show to conduct business. We have a unique, maybe even singular, opportunity to coalesce, organize, speak and lay plans to make a difference around public land awareness in such a way that it is not only heard but that it can make a positive difference."

READ: Ibex Will Attend OR, to Fight the Public Lands Battle In Person

Lastly, Nicholson wrote, "We need your voice. We need your support. And we need your creative ideas at unity.outdoorretailer.com. Please visit the site and lend your ideas to the community. We will provide updates on what we’ve gathered on Monday, February 27th." 

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