Grassroots Outdoor Alliance returns to Knoxville with 2018 trade show

June 13, 2017

Event marks the sixth time Grassroots Outdoor Alliance will host a show in Knoxville, but is a change to the organization’s previously announced schedule

Grassroots Outdoor Alliance, the national organization dedicated to the health and growth of specialty outdoor retail, will bring their four-day Connect trade show back to Tennessee’s Knoxville Convention Center for Summer 2018.

“Knoxville is a wonderful host for our show and our membership. We look forward to being back in the Smoky Mountain foothills next summer,” said Rich Hill, president of Grassroots Outdoor Alliance.

“We are thrilled to once again host Grassroots Outdoor Alliance in Knoxville, Tennessee. The success we have seen thus far was contributed to by a strong working relationship with Grassroots and all the Knoxville partners involved, including Visit Knoxville, the Knoxville Convention Center, and all of our hotels and community partners.  We look forward to another successful event in 2018!” – Kim Bumpas, President, Visit Knoxville

The show marks the sixth time Grassroots Outdoor Alliance will host a show in Knoxville, but is a change to the organization’s previously announced schedule.

Originally, Grassroots Outdoor Alliance planned to host their summer 2018 show in Utah in order to “co-locate” with Outdoor Retailer Summer Market – an alignment of show venues and dates designed to provide both cost savings and improved results for member retailers and vendors.

However, after Grassroots Outdoor Alliance and Outdoor Retailer withdrew their shows from Utah earlier this year in protest of the state’s public lands policy, both organizations have been immersed in the process of evaluating new venues.

While Grassroots Outdoor Alliance remains wholly committed to the future goal of co-location with Outdoor Retailer, the choice to return to Knoxville for June 2018 was a simple business decision made to guarantee that preferred dates, venues and hotels were secured.

“The goal for Grassroots Outdoor Alliance is to co-locate with Outdoor Retailer as soon as possible, but in the short term we need to take care of our immediate business needs,” said Hill, adding that the organization was “totally confident” that Outdoor Retailer and Outdoor Industry Association would make the best decision for the industry in their comprehensive evaluation of new venues.

Grassroots Connect is an ideally timed, invitation-only buying show for the specialty outdoor industry. 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. Invited retailers also receive a per attendee reimbursement to offset their travel costs. Future confirmed show dates for Connect include:

Albuquerque, New Mexico – June 12-16, 2017

Knoxville, Tennessee – Nov. 7-10, 2017

Knoxville, Tennessee- June 14-17 2018

The Knoxville Convention Center (http://www.knoxvilleconventioncenter.com) is a 500,000-square-foot facility which includes a 120,000-square-foot exhibit hall, a 30,000-square-foot divisible ballroom and 18 meeting rooms. The hall is also the first convention center in Tennessee to be certified LEED Silver for Existing Buildings from the USGBC, and Green Certified through the TN Green Hospitality Certification program. The Knoxville Convention Center is located a short walk from from Market Square, the heart of the city’s vibrant and walkable downtown which includes eclectic shopping, fine dining, outdoor concerts and hotels.


Grassroots Outdoor Alliance is an active, independent network of 64 independent retailers 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.


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. Future confirmed dates include Albuquerque, New Mexico (June 12-16, 2017) and Knoxville, Tennessee (Nov. 7-10, 2017, and June 14-17, 2018). To request a retailer or vendor invitation, please go to http://www.grassrootsconnect.net/request-invitation

# # #