Grassroots Connect reports marked rise in buyer and brand participation ahead of upcoming June event in Reno

April 29, 2024

RENO, NEVADA (APRIL 29, 2024)/OUTDOOR SPORTSWIRE/ –  Engagement among retailers and brands is on the rise as the twice annual buying show of Grassroots Outdoor Alliance heads to a new city for its upcoming June show.

The elevated level of participation is reflected in a marked uptick in the average scheduled hours per buyer at the show, a full floor of cornerstone vendor partners and invited brands, a pair of unprecedented learning opportunities hosted by nearby innovators, and the growth of the event’s marketplace for emerging brands.

According to event organizers, the uptick in engagement is to be expected considering the variety of current market challenges – from PFAs to inflationary pressures – as well as the role that Grassroots Connect continues to play as a key convener for essential outdoor industry conversations.

“This is not a wait-and-see moment for Connect attendees, this is a time of business owners embracing the opportunity to lean in and get the most out of their working relationships,” said Gabe Maier, president of Grassroots Outdoor Alliance. “Part of that is certainly all the news that’s on people’s minds, but part of it is also the natural instinct of the outdoor community to gather and work together to solve shared challenges.”

Buyer engagement statistics have been tracked by Connect organizers since they began pre-scheduling all appointments for retailers and brands in 2016.  For the show this June, more than 10,400 meetings totalling 8,698 hours have been scheduled, and the rise in the average hours scheduled per buyer now exceeds its previously highest level, which was recorded in 2018 when the show was a day longer than its current format.

Overall buying attendance at the show will focus on 144 brands and business services for four days of meetings. The show’s Discovery Marketplace will also return in the afternoon of “day zero” (4-7 pm on Sunday, June 9) during which 108 aspiring brands will join the open-format networking session.

Also on “day zero,” a new level of vendor-retailer engagement will be seen during a pair of optional “field trips” to the manufacturing and distribution centers of Reno-area brands Cascade Designs and Patagonia. These unique visits will be held during the “Education Day” portion of the show, and will include both transportation and lunch. To pre-register for either trip, please contact dana@grassrootsoutdoors.com.

Other hands-on elements of the education day will include a  “Buyers Intensive Workshop” an immersive retail buyer’s workshop designed to elevate expertise (host: Carrie Watson, Outside Looks); and an “Owner’s Intensive Workshop” to help owners dive deeper into critical issues facing outdoor specialty retailers today (host: Tara Kuipers, TK Consulting).

For more information on Grassroots Connect events and opportunities, please visit https://connect.grassrootsoutdoors.com/



Grassroots Outdoor Alliance is a retailer-owned active network of 96 independently owned outdoor retailers and 65 vendor partners, 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 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 www.grassrootsoutdoors.com.

Connect by Grassroots is our twice annual legacy show experience that spans 4 days offering an efficient and structured format for retailers to conduct their pre-season line showings and business conversations. Connect appointments are scheduled well in advance of the show which supports brands that already have established business with our retail attendees. Connect is focused and efficient and allows retailers and brands to conduct business together at the right time in the buying cycle, while also incorporating opportunities to celebrate the outdoor industry and retail community. The schedule for upcoming Grassroots Connect shows include Reno, Nev. (June 10-13, 2024) and Kansas City, Mo. (Nov. 11-14, 2024). For more information, please visit https://connect.grassrootsoutdoors.com.

Discovery Marketplace by Grassroots is our exploration experience aimed at introducing our attending retailers to new, niche, and exciting brands in a 3-hour unstructured open format offered at the beginning of Grassroots. The Discovery Marketplace is about making introductions and building new relationships between retailers and emerging brands. The next Discovery Marketplace will be held June 9, 2023 (Knoxville, Tenn.). For more information, please go to https://connect.grassrootsoutdoors.com/overview-2