What was supposed to replace the annual Paddlesports Retailer Show held for the past three years in Oklahoma City, the new Big Gear Show, headed by Paddlesports Retailer founders Darren Bush and Sutton Bacon, has thrown in the towel as well, following the lead almost every other consumer and trade show in the outdoor industry.
“Now’s definitely the time to reconsider ‘business as usual,’” says show co-founder Bacon. “We hope that brands will continue welcoming an alternative show like ours that allows them to meet with their specialty customers and effectively demo and launch new products for a fraction of the cost of traditional shows.”
After hopes of capitalizing on the year’s earlier Outdoor Retailer tradeshow dates in June, which don’t work well for many exhibitors in peak selling season, the Big Gear Show was still trying to stage the show as originally planned in Salt Lake City this July. Organizers announced last week that they are cancelling the inaugural event due to the pandemic, with the dates for nest year’s show to be August 3-5, 2021.
“While we’re disappointed, we know it’s the right call,” organizers said in the announcement. “We believe our model of a hardgoods-focused, low-cost, retailer-centric trade show will be even more appealing to brands and retailers in 2021 in the wake of this unprecedented sales season. Now, more than ever, is the time to rethink old ways of doing business.”
The postponement comes two months after Big Gear Show co-founder Bush cancelled his industry-leading Canoecopia consumer show in Madison, Wis., in March. Bush and Sutton had hired longtime industry veteran Kenji Haroutunian as the show’s director.
Though the cancellation of the first-year event is difficult, The Big Gear Show’s management is confident their model, which offers a hardgoods-focused, low cost, retailer-centric show with an unsurpassed demo opportunity, will be even more necessary in 2021, as brands and manufacturers take a hard look at their marketing budgets and finances.
“The extra time gives us an opportunity to tailor the first-year event to our exhibitors’ new realities,” says Bike Show Director Lance Camisasca, which was partnering in the event. “We had already decided to establish dynamic, cutting-edge features for the inaugural event, but now we’ll be able to push that even farther and rethink every element of our show and optimize it for 2021’s new landscape.”
Camisasca, former Show Director of Interbike, will be working alongside the former Show Directors of Outdoor Retailer, Kenji Haroutunian, and Paddlesports Retailer, Charles Conner, to create an experience that’s in-step with the new reality of the outdoor industry and of hardgoods manufacturers in particular.
“In addition to helping brands right-size their budgets, we’ll be focused on providing specialty retailers the support they need during recovery. We’ll bring in experts to give advice and facilitate discussions on what’s working, and what’s not. Opening these discussions across the different channels of retail will help retailers learn how to emerge from the crisis in the best shape possible”, says Haroutunian.
The Big Gear Show team has already begun working on its 2021 event, scheduled for August 3-5, 2021. Registration for the 2021 event is expected to open by mid-summer.
Registration for the 2021 show is expected to open by mid-summer.