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The City Journals

Outdoor Retailer participants sad to see trade show leave Utah after 20 years

Aug 31, 2017 09:41AM ● By Jana Klopsch

Saul Mishkin (left), CEO of OMEALS, said he is sad to see the show leaving the Beehive State. Also pictured is Nani Chlimper, sales rep of OMEALS. (Jessica Parcell/City Journals)

By Jessica Parcell | [email protected]

After a 20-year-long relationship, the Outdoor Retailer (OR) trade show bid Salt Lake City adieu and is moving on to a new venue in Denver, Colorado.

The split came because of political disputes with the Gov. Gary Herbert over Bears Ears National Monument. 

Deseret News reported Herbert signed a resolution calling all federal officials to rescind the monument that former President Barack Obama designated on 1.3 million acres of land in southeastern Utah.

Darrell Denny, board member of Outdoor Industry Association (OIA), said in a statement initially when deciding where to look for other venues for the tradeshow Salt Lake City was still in the cards.

“Shortly after we made this decision, however, our industry learned that certain state political leaders were officially asking the current administration to formally review designations around public lands,” Denny said, “At that point, we made the decision to accelerate our search for a replacement home for Outdoor Retailer and notified Salt Lake we would not be including the city in our RFP process for the future.”

Bears Ears National Monument or not, that didn’t mean everyone involved with Outdoor Retailer supported the move to Colorado. Saul Mishkin, CEO and founder of OMEALS, said that they have been part of OR since they launched in Salt Lake City in 2015 and it is where they create their exposure to the outdoor market.

“I’m sad,” Mishkin said, “because I love this town, I love this city. This is actually where I take my family vacation every time since OR.”

Mishkin said he loved it so much he almost bought a home here, but when he heard news of the move, his plans changed.

“Besides that, I think this show provides a lot of life to the city,” Mishkin said. “I think this is going to affect Salt Lake and Utah in a very strong way.”

The state paid a pretty price for not finding an agreement over Bears Ears. The state will lose as much as $45 million in revenue generated from just this bi-annual trade show alone. Mishkin’s colleague, Nani Chlimper, sales rep of OMEALS said that he is very confident that the move with help the industry move forward.

“From an economical standpoint, same thing as Saul, I can definitely see it as a grief,” Chlimper said. “I think we’re going to see a lot of progressive brands that we are contemplating getting into the market with new concepts.”

Social Media and Brand Manager of Cotopaxi, Anders Piiparinen, said being a company that is based in the Salt Lake City area they are upset to see it go and believes Utah can still be a leader in the outdoors.

“It’s not as convenient, also we love what it brings to the state of Utah,” Piiparinen said. “We’re obviously upset to see it go to Denver, but we believe that Utah can [still be] a leader in public lands in showcasing the beauty that our state has to offer.”