Grassroots Connect gears up for Kansas City buying show with record tally of vendors, boost in retailer attendance, and two new discovery opportunities

October 10, 2022

Retailers at the show will represent 132 stores and 220 total doors: an attendance number that is a 15% increase from the spring 2022 show, which exceeded pre-pandemic attendance levels.

October 10, 2022 /OUTDOOR SPORTSWIRE/ – Grassroots Outdoor Alliance ( will bring their Connect buying show into Kansas City next month with a full floor of industry leading brands, an increase in retailer attendance, and two new discovery opportunities to help bring it all together.

Scheduled for Nov. 7-10, 2022, Grassroots Connect will gather more than 1,000 attendees at the Kansas City Convention Center for 9,343 pre-scheduled appointments including 8,230 total meeting hours. Buyers at the show will represent 132 retail stores and 220 total doors: a retailer attendance number that is a 15% increase from the spring 2022 show, which exceeded pre-pandemic attendance levels.

Grassroots Connect will also gather more than 150 brands from around the country: a record tally that includes 116 brands on the show floor, and 38 participating in a new one-day Discovery Marketplace held the night before the show begins.

“Grassroots Connect gives both retailers and vendor brands a level of efficiency and predictability that is unique in the trade show landscape. People know who they’re going to see, and they know they’re going to conduct a lot of business there,” said Gabe Maier, president of Grassroots Outdoor Alliance. “At the same time, what makes specialty independent retailers great is the freshness of their product selection, which is why we’ve added some new discovery tactics for both attending brands as well as prospective exhibitors.”

The Grassroots Connect schedule of events will begin on Sunday, Nov. 6, at the Loews Hotel with retail membership meetings in the morning, followed by an afternoon of education sessions – open to all retailer attendees for the first time – from noon to 4 pm.

Beginning with a lunchtime “Fireside Chat” on the opportunities of inclusion with Earl B. Hunter Jr. and Chuck Millsaps, the afternoon sessions to follow will include “Small Business Legal Matters: Employment Law” with Jeremy Merkelson of Holland & Hart; “Small Business Legal Matters: Trademarks” with Craig Beaker of Holland & Hart; “Where’s Waldo: Finding top talent in a crowd” with Lori Kleiman of HR Topics; “Leveraging Employee Engagement To Ensure Brand Success” with George Lee of Conte’s Bike Shop; and “Best Practices for Aging Inventory, and Buyers Beware! Blind Spots in the New Normal” with Carrie Watson of Outside Looks LLC. Detailed descriptions of all education sessions can be found at

Immediately following Sunday’s education sessions, the Discovery Marketplace and retailer happy hour will be held from 4-7 pm in the Loews Hotel ballroom. The Discovery Marketplace will feature a curated selection of 38 invited brands, each with a simple booth and limited product selection, for a “meet and greet” format that enables introductory conversations between retailers and prospective new vendors.

A second discovery event will be held on the main floor of the show from 6-8 pm on Tuesday, traditionally the busiest day of Grassroots Connect. This Discovery Happy Hour is designed to facilitate new connections between attending retailers and show exhibitors, encouraging vendors to open their booths for open format conversations. The social environment for the Discovery Happy Hour will include food, beverages and music.

In addition to the Discovery Happy Hour, that Tuesday (Nov. 8) is also the national mid-term election date. Grassroots Connect organizers are encouraging all show attendees to make plans for absentee voting in their home state before making the trip to the show.

ABOUT GRASSROOTS OUTDOOR ALLIANCE: Grassroots Outdoor Alliance is an active, independent network of 132 independent retailers, with 220 retail locations, working together for the health and growth of specialty outdoor retail. Through data collection and analysis, direct member support, specialty events and deep vendor partnerships, Grassroots Outdoor Alliance is creating both a vision and roadmap for the long-term success of independent specialty retail. Grassroots Outdoor Alliance is also recognized as a catalyst for the success of its retailers and vendor partners; an advocate for specialty independent retail; a promoter of education and community within the specialty channel; and a key influencer of the national outdoor industry. For more information on Grassroots Outdoor Alliance, please go to

ABOUT GRASSROOTS CONNECT: Grassroots Connect is an ideally timed, invitation-only buying show for the specialty outdoor industry hosted by Grassroots Outdoor Alliance. Scheduled as early as possible in the buying cycle, Connect provides a highly efficient opportunity for retailers, reps and vendors to present, discuss, plan and collect pre-season orders. Cost-effective and simple, Connect is both an incubator and testing ground for the greater outdoor industry. Invited retailers receive a per attendee reimbursement to offset their travel costs. Upcoming Grassroots Connect gatherings include Nov. 7-10, 2022 (Kansas City, Mo.) and June 2023 (Knoxville, Tenn.).