The Outdoor Retailer trade show in Salt Lake City ended on a positive note, according to the organizers and many key exhibitors whom we met there. There was a general sentiment that the outdoor market is growing or stabilizing, thanks to innovative products and more active lifestyles. Procurement costs have stopped escalating, and vendors and retailers are beginning to cope with the vagaries of the weather with better inventory management.

According to preliminary figures, the number of visitors ended up at just under 27,000, very close to the level of a year ago, but the quality level improved due to stricter guidelines for their admission.

Even one of the two principals of Globetrotter had trouble getting in because he could not produce appropriate evidence of his status, but he reportedly made it after an hour of discussions at the registration counter. Like at the winter session of the fair last January, Utah-based retailers were asked to submit invoices showing that they have been ordering meaningful quantities from vendors in the sector.

Hotel accommodation problems persisted for some of the participants in the fair, forcing them to take up residence in hotels outside the city. There were also fewer cabs due to the Ramadam, but local authorities have apparently decided to enlist a new taxi company from another city to help solve the situation next year.

OR continued to fiddle with the limits of its growth in SLC, leaving everybody wondering whether the show will be moved to another city after 2016.  The number of exhibitors was close of 1,300, including about 250 newcomers, and they filled 516,000 square feet of net exhibition space, or 2.5 percent more than the space occupied a year ago. The space included 92,000 sqft. installed in three temporary pavilions, two more than in 2011 and one more than in 2012.

The next OR Summer Market is scheduled for Aug. 6-9, 2014.