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Grassroots Connect’s November show delivers on record brand attendance and high retailer engagement during ‘pivotal moment’ in the specialty outdoor marketplace

November 16, 2022

During early November's Grassroots Connect, the annual fall buying show of Grassroots Outdoor Alliance, the event once again delivered an A-list roster of independent retailers and specialty outdoor brands, a hyper-efficient show format featuring four days of pre-scheduled meetings, and a inspiring lineup of exceptional learning and sharing opportunities for all attendees

KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI (November 16, 2022) /OUTDOOR SPORTSWIRE/ – During early November’s Grassroots Connect, the annual fall buying show of Grassroots Outdoor Alliance, the event once again delivered an A-list roster of independent retailers and specialty outdoor brands, a hyper-efficient show format featuring four days of pre-scheduled meetings, and a inspiring lineup of exceptional learning and sharing opportunities for all attendees.

The show also provided a welcome forum for key conversations during a pivotal moment for the specialty outdoor marketplace, including question marks about the state of consumer interest in outdoor recreation, the reality of inflationary impacts on both retailers and brands, and the impending challenges of oversupply.

“The specialty outdoor marketplace is keenly aware that communicating early and often is the best way to navigate shared challenges like the ones in this current moment. Considering all the factors in play, this was clearly an exceptional time to gather the industry, in addition to being as early as possible in the buying calendar,” said Gabe Maier, president of Grassroots Outdoor Alliance.

Grassroots Connect organizers reported 1,083 total attendees at the event, including 339 buyers from 128 retailers who sat in on more than 9,200 pre-scheduled appointments.

Ten educational seminars were held during the pre-show education day, including a full slate of events that were open to all attendees — both Grassroots members and non-members — for the first time. Those events were kicked off by a deep dive into the world of Eagle Eye Outfitters led by founder Mark Anderson, while a lunchtime “Fireside Chat” on the opportunities of inclusion with Earl B. Hunter Jr. and Chuck Millsaps set the tone of learning and openness for the day.

The show also attracted 149 exhibitors, a record tally that included 112 brands on the main show floor, as well as 37 additional brands that were invited to participate in the Grassroots Discovery Marketplace: a showcase held during the evening of the pre-show Education Day. Grassroots also held a “Disco(very) Happy Hour” on night two, bringing the opportunities of discovery to the main show floor.

“The success of Grassroots Connect has historically been rooted in its predictability as both buyers and sellers are well prepared and know to expect high quality meetings, top tier attendees, and in-depth line reviews. But with the addition of these targeted discovery elements, Grassroots Connect is now introducing multiple chances for businesses to have that unexpected conversation that can grow into a difference maker.”

The next Grassroots Connect will be held in Knoxville, Tenn., and will gather the specialty outdoor community in early June for the 21st consecutive year (June 12-15, 2023). While exhibitor attendance is by invitation only, potential future exhibitors are encouraged to submit their interest through this simple form (LINK) before the official registration process begins for brands in January.

ABOUT GRASSROOTS OUTDOOR ALLIANCE: Grassroots Outdoor Alliance is an active, independent network of 102 independent retailers, with 222 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 www.grassrootsoutdoors.com.

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. The next Grassroots Connect gathering will be held June 12-15, 2023 (Knoxville, Tenn.).

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