Outdoor Retailer Winter Market Trip Report

Outdoor Retailer (OR) is an amazing trade show that happens twice a year in Salt Lake City, winter and summer. Cache Advance has attended for many years, and even exhibited three times. The show is closed to the public; only qualified buyers and sellers in the Outdoor Retail industry can attend.  This is the show that folks like REI attend to buy items for their stores.

This winter Lisa (our CEO) and J.D. (our Custom Coin Project Manager) headed down to OR to attend some great retail educational sessions, and to go shopping! OR is the best place to connect with all the vendors and see all the latest and greatest in gear, clothing and gadgets in the outdoor industry.

Our main goal was to find awesome new gear for the Cache Cave, and both of our monthly subscription boxes:  Cache Crate (http://cachecrate.com) and The Outside Box (www.theoutsidebox.com). Also on the list was to attend some educational sessions and do some networking. Oh and beer, Utah actually has some nice beers (and a few good whiskeys too).

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Here is Eve back in her 'booth babe' days at some previous OR shows.

Day 1, Tuesday January 5th 2016:
Dawn broke cold, clear and very icy in Spokane as we packed up the car and made our way out of town for the 12 hour drive to SLC. We found out later that day that an airplane actually slid off the runway at the Spokane International Airport and closed the airport so we’re really glad that we drove! Plus we had our trusty 15 year old Border Collie, Eve, with us. OR is a dog friendly show and Eve has attended many times. She is the best booth babe ever. Eve is retired now so this show she’ll be chilling in the hotel room while we wander the aisles and network.

Not much else to report, it was a long and somewhat snowy drive over 4 major passes including the continental divide, and we didn’t even find any caches! We have taken this route quite a few times and found most of the caches at the good stopping points and didn’t want to dally. We arrived well after dark and settled in just north of SLC.

Day 2, Wednesday January 6th 2016:
We met up with J.D.’s sister, Rachel, and her son for breakfast. Coincidently they were travelling from Mexico to Montana (a major move!) and driving right past us today! After a fun breakfast we said out goodbyes and headed downtown to The Leonardo Museum (http://www.theleonardo.org/) for the afternoon to attend RISE: Retail Inspired Specialty Excellence (https://outdoorindustry.org/events/rise/). This event was invitation only, and we were honored to be invited! We got to connect with many other outdoor specialty retailers (think fishing, guiding, and outdoor gear stores) for an afternoon of learning.

GeotourUtah

The highlight of the day was finding Utah GeoTour - Salt Lake - GEO AT THE LEO (GC 63R5H)! This GeoTour cache was actually inside the Leonardo Museum, and it was fun to explore and eventually find it. We found a few other nearby caches afterwards in a nice walk in the rain.

Day 3, Thursday January 7th 2016:

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Top: Honey Stinger: Met them last year too and have included their waffles in the Cache Crates. Look for more from them in the future! Bottom Right: Green Goo: Used to be Sierra Sage, but changed their name. We've included many of their products in both Cache Crates and The Outside Box. Bottom Left: UST-Great survival gear, also in both boxes.

Day 3 for us was actually Day 1 of the Outdoor Retailer Winter Market tradeshow. We spent most of the day in ‘The Ballroom’ where new and smaller vendors exhibit all their new wares. We also attended a few more educational sessions. One has to keep abreast of all the new trends, tech and best practices!

Dinner was at one of our favorite haunts, Squatter’s Pub and Brewery (http://www.squatters.com/). We snuck over early so we just beat the dinner crowds, and then made it back to the Salt Palace to drop in on the Industry Party that evening. On the way we made quick work of Grandma's March #3 (GC54Q3H), and then took Eve for a nice long walk (for her) around our hotel area.

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Yes, the makers of the original "Bison". Great folks that we have worked with for many years. The red and green 'Bison Balls' in December's Cache Crate was from them!

Day 4, Friday January 8th 2016:
We spent most of the day in the southern part of the main showroom at OR, and also touring the vendors in the main hallway. This included Bison Designs, the original makers of the ‘Bison’. Using Yelp we found a great Chinese restaurant, Joy Luck, for dinner. I never would have guessed it was even there, as it was rather an industrial area north of our hotel. Afterwards we managed to roll out and find a few caches, including a virtual!

Day 5, Saturday January 9th 2016:
For our final day at OR we arrived a little earlier to finish walking the main showroom. It went quicker than I had planned as much of the northern end was shoe and clothing vendors (like Keen, Sorrel, Hi-Tec, Teva, Columbia, Patagonia, Mountain Hardware) and also snow sport vendors (such as K2, The North Face, Scott, Polartec, Smartwool and Salomon) all of which we love to look at, but don’t do much business with them.

So this gave us extra time to visit with all the non-profits that also exhibit on the mezzanine level. One of our values at Cache Advance is environmental stewardship of our playground (the earth) and our community. We have been corporate partners with Leave No Trace for years, and got to visit with some of their team along with many other non-profit folks.

After finishing the entire show, we hiked down to Whiskey Street (http://www.whiskeystreet.com/) to, well, have a whiskey and beer, and an early dinner. Then it was back to our car, and a fun couple of geocaches on the hike back: Six Flags...of SLC (GC2YBN) and one of the cutest LPCs we’ve found: Golden Violin (GC1HQ6).

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We also swung through the Visitor’s Center to visit the Salt Lake City Travel Bug Hotel (there). I bought a souvenir and attached it to a newly activated Cache Crate Cachekinz (TB7G3Y7) and launched it in the TB hotel.

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Day 6, Sunday January 10th 2016:
Today was all about getting home, and trying to listen to the Seahawks game on the radio out in the middle of nowhere… We had some areas of no coverage, but we did manage to hear most of the game, including the missed field goal at the end –wow what a game! The roads were clear and the day was sunny, but we arrived home well after sunset, and cacheless for the day after DNFing the one that we tried for due to too much snow.

Now to sort through all the cool stuff we found and make connections with some great new vendors! Thanks for coming along with us to the Outdoor Retailer Winter Market by reading this trip report. 2016 is off to a great start!!

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