Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In


Press Releases

Outdoor Industry Groups Join Forces to Support the Growth and Vitality of Specialty Retail

Get access to everything we publish when you sign up for Outside+.

Outdoor Industry Groups Join Forces to Support the Growth and Vitality of Specialty Retail
Outdoor Industry Association to build a retail advisory group that will guide retail focused programs

Boulder, Colo., July 22, 2015 – Today, Outdoor Industry Association (OIA), Grassroots Outdoor Alliance (Grassroots) and Outdoor Retailer announced, a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that reinforces their shared commitment to specialty outdoor retail resulting in a renewed focus on specialty retailer education and tangible business support.

The health and vitality of outdoor specialty retail is paramount to all three organizations. OIA and Grassroots are both membership organizations with many members in common. As the trade association for the industry, OIA works on a broad range of trade, corporate responsibility and public lands issues that impact the outdoor recreation industry. Grassroots is a group of independent outdoor retailers and brands organized to serve the needs of its members who operate over 100 independent specialty outdoor stores throughout North America. Outdoor Retailer, which produces both the Summer and Winter Market tradeshows has a vested interest in specialty outdoor retail as a vital sector of the community that the show is designed to serve.

“A strong relationship between OIA, Grassroots and Outdoor Retailer brings together three organizations that all understand the importance of supporting outdoor specialty retail,” said Gordon Seabury, incoming OIA board chair and Toad&Co CEO. “Outdoor specialty retailers were essential to the founding of this industry and today they remain the center of outdoor communities across the country ensuring the most innovative outdoor products and brands get in the hands of consumers so they can experience the benefits of outdoor recreation.”

“The challenges outdoor specialty retailers are facing are well known. Growing urbanization, margin compression from online competitors, changing shopping habits and even weather-related issues have threatened traditional retail business operations,” said Amy Roberts, OIA executive director. “Over the years, the outdoor specialty retail market has become highly fragmented with intense competition from traditional sporting goods chains, mass merchandisers, catalog, internet and outdoor brand direct sales. OIA, Outdoor Retailer and Grassroots recognize the need to support these businesses as they play a critical role in the industry.”

“Grassroots retailers have always set the benchmark when it comes to really connecting with core customers in a retail setting and building strong community connections,” said Wes Allen, President, Grassroots Outdoor Alliance. “Our group has consistently focused on working together in order to help all of our retailers and brands succeed financially in the specialty channel. This agreement with OIA and Outdoor Retailer will be an avenue to provide deeper education for all of specialty and more retailer support at the Outdoor Retailer tradeshows.”

The strategy delivers newly formed programs before, during and after OR that are focused on specialty retailer education, along with other benefits that enrich the business of retail in the outdoor market. In addition, a new concierge service will be introduced to assist OR’s Summer and Winter Market retailers with registration, improved housing solutions, transportation, and related retailer needs.

Some highlights of the agreement are:

Retail Education Event at Outdoor Retailer

Beginning at Outdoor Retailer Winter Market 2016, the three organizations will collaborate to create an engaging, hands-on specialty retail educational event.

Retail Focused OIA Benefits

Grassroots will work closely with OIA to curate association programs and benefits specifically for the specialty retailer including education, training and research.

Empowered Concierge Service at Outdoor Retailer

To support retailers at the tradeshows, Outdoor Retailer will create and market an Empowered Concierge Service before and during Summer and Winter Market for registration, improved housing solutions, transport, events and hospitality.

“For over 30 years, Outdoor Retailer has served as the premier venue that unites the outdoor industry community, providing the sharing of ideas and education and allowing retailers to connect with sales, marketing and leadership of their brand partners,” said Darrell Denny, Executive Vice President at Emerald Expositions. “The work between Outdoor Retailer, OIA and Grassroots provides important guidance, so we can continue to evolve the show to make it the best experience for specialty retailers.”

While OIA, Grassroots and Outdoor Retailer have worked together in the past with the shared goal of supporting the outdoor industry, planning as a result of this more formal relationship has already begun.

OIA will also be convening a retail advisory group later this fall that will help shape the work that OIA does on behalf of retailers. The group will be comprised of a diverse set of specialty retailers with some being Grassroots members. “It is critical that the retailers’ voices are heard to help OIA develop programs that meet their needs and support their businesses,” said Seabury.

Outdoor Industry Association

Based in Boulder, CO, with offices in Washington, D.C., Outdoor Industry Association is the leading trade association for the outdoor industry and the title sponsor of Outdoor Retailer. OIA supports the growth and success of more than 4,000 employees of manufacturers, distributors, suppliers, sales representatives and retailers of outdoor recreation apparel, footwear, equipment and services. For more information, visit or call 303.444.3353.

About Grassroots Outdoor Alliance

Now in its twentieth-first year, Grassroots Outdoor Alliance unites 55 independent outdoor retailers with over 110 doors in 28 states with more than 70 specialty-focused brands. Grassroots acts as advocate for these businesses and as a strong voice to protect and promote the experience of outdoor enthusiasts across the United States. To learn more about Grassroots Outdoor Alliance, visit

About Outdoor Retailer

Outdoor Retailer (OR) brings together retailers, manufacturers, industry advocates and media to conduct the business of outdoor recreation through tradeshows, product demo events and web-based business solutions. Produced by Emerald Expositions and based in San Juan Capistrano, California, Outdoor Retailer also provides and promotes retailer education, advocacy, responsibility and critical face-to-face business initiatives within the outdoor industry.

Consistently named among Trade Show News Network’s 25 fastest-growing tradeshows by attendance, Outdoor Retailer ( connects approximately 50,000 attendees on a semi-annual basis for its Summer and Winter Market shows, and thousands more through its year-round online resources and platforms.

Media Contacts:

Jennifer Pringle
Outdoor Industry Association
VP Marketing & Communications

Kate Lowery
Outdoor Retailer
Director of Public Relations

Wes Allen
Grassroots Outdoor Alliance