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SLC officials brace for decision on show’s future

Published January 21, 2013
Camelbak's booth was under construction during setup Monday.
Outdoor Retailer's Winter Market

SALT LAKE CITY (BRAIN) — Outdoor Retailer’s Winter Market kicks off Tuesday with an outdoor demo at Solitude Mountain Resort. But for Salt Lake’s business community, a 4 p.m. announcement at Solitude by the show’s owner, Nielsen Business Media, could mean millions of dollars in future business.

Nielsen, which also owns Interbike, will disclose its near-term plans for the twice-a-year show. Nielsen’s contract with the Salt Palace Convention Center expires in 2014.  The city would like to retain the two shows at least through 2016, if not permanently. Utah, however, is going all out to retain the two expos with a $2.66 million grant from the Governor’s Office of Economic Development. 

The grant would pay for a 150,000-square-foot tent to house spillover exhibitors attending Summer Market. The tent would be erected on vacant land north of the Salt Palace. The summer show has overwhelmed the convention center’s 670,000 square feet of exhibit space. 

Winter and Summer market inject into Utah’s economy some $40 million in visitor spending. A decision to move the show to another city would be a significant loss to Salt Lake’s local economy.

While Winter Market is of little importance to the overall bicycle industry, many companies will remind outdoor retailers that they also offer a variety of cycling-centric products that easily fit in outdoor retail. And there are dozens of crossover companies exhibiting at the show ranging from rack brands like Thule and Yakima to Pearl Izumi, W.L. Gore and many others.

For example GU, the energy brand, will roll out some new lemon-flavored Chomps and will have plenty of Roctane on hand for dealers attending the show, said spokeswoman Rebecca Robinson in an email. 

Craft, a supplier of base layers and jerseys for the cycling industry will outline new plans to offer custom cycling apparel, said Lisa Lazarczyk. And MiiR, an active lifestyle brand best known for its stainless steel water bottles, will introduce a new commuter bike dubbed the High5, said Cathy Herbstler, a company spokesperson.

For every bike sold, one person in need will get a bike, she said. The company is working with World Bicycle Relief and the Boise Bicycle Project on the program. MiiR is underwriting the project, she said.

And REI has invited the news media to get a peek at its fall 2013 cycling apparel which complements its Novara line of bicycles. REI has become a significant although quiet player in the bicycle industry. REI has set up a display for its outdoor and cycling apparel in a private meeting room just off the main floor of the convention center.

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