The first Outdoor Retailer Show opens Thursday to a jam-packed Colorado Convention Center in Denver. Its new home follows a major falling out between outdoor industry groups and the state of Utah, including Utah Governor Gary Herbert.
The OR Show had been in Utah for more than two decades, and it was actually Utah’s governor who established the nation’s first state director of outdoor recreation. Grace Hood is the energy and environment reporter for Colorado Public Radio. She says it’s clear that Colorado is welcoming the show with open arms.
“I think there’s also a celebratory tone. There are several parties Wednesday night, one of which is called “Welcome to Colorado.” It’s hosted by a big conservation group here; Conservation Colorado. Our governor, Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper’s expected to be there as well as many big outdoor companies.”
Hood says Colorado officials are estimating a $100 million impact from the combined yearly shows and 28,000 new visitors for this first show alone.
“There’s also this hope, I think, amongst economic development folks here that seeing, you know maybe a Patagonia or a Black Diamond, if they fly in for the show, they might be more inclined to set up a warehouse in Colorado.”
Black Diamond Equipment founder and former CEO Peter Metcalf traveled from his Utah home to Denver for the show.
“It’s just a great feeling, and that’s what everybody’s talking about. To be in a state juxtaposed against Utah where all the policies seem to be so much against our national monuments and public lands and their stewardship.”
The Outdoor Retailer and Winter Snow Show runs through January 30.
This story has been edited to correct the economic impact Colorado officials expect from the show. The figure is $100 million, not $110,000.