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Grassroots Connect

Planning to attend Grassroots Connect? You’ll need your vaccination status verified by a third party.

The retailer-focused trade show scheduled for November has released new vaccine and mask requirements.


Grassroots Outdoor Alliance has released the latest round of Covid safety standards for its upcoming Connect trade show, set to stage November 8-11 in Kansas City, Mo. The biggest change since last month, when the show announced a Covid vaccine mandate for all attendees, is the method by which vaccination status will be checked. As of this week, the show will require all attendees to provide proof of Covid vaccination from a third-party agency.

The new protocols were announced to Grassroots members Monday night in an email from the group’s board chair, Joe Butler, owner of the retail shop Black Creek Outfitters in Jacksonville, Fla.

“We are choosing to err on the side of caution and will be requiring all attendees to be vaccinated and provide proof to a third-party agency,” Butler wrote in his letter to members. “We also will be requiring masks for all attendees and convention center staff while indoors.”

The letter didn’t go into further details about which third-party agencies the show will accept. A representative for Grassroots, Drew Simmons, said the group will be announcing details regarding vaccine verification in early October.

Read more: What do Grassroots’ latest sales numbers mean for the future of outdoor retail?

“Reactions to the vaccination and mask details have been overwhelmingly positive,” Simmons told OBJ. “That said, while there’s clearly a strong drive in a sizable portion of the outdoor sector to gather this fall, there’s also a certain percentage of the population that’s not going to travel, regardless of the precautions. To work with both of those groups, the biggest thing for Grassroots is really just being very cautious, transparent, and direct—tell people what you know, and what you don’t, as early and often as you can.”

The full text of the vaccine and mask requirements in the letter read as follows.

  1. All attendees, Grassroots staff, and contractors must be fully vaccinated to attend the Fall 2021 Connect show, including the education day, set up, and tear down. We will be verifying vaccinations through a third-party program.
  2. Masks will be required indoors at all times for all attendees, Grassroots staff, and contractors, with the exception of when eating and drinking.
  3. As Covid-19 guidance continues to evolve, all health and safety requirements at Connect will naturally be subject to change. Any changes to the policy will be communicated to all attendees by email. Please feel free to reach out to our team if you have any questions or concerns.

Grassroots Connect committed exhibitors and retailers

Butler’s letter also included a full list of the show’s committed exhibitors and retailers (as of September 9). The following brands and retailers have all confirmed that they’re attending the event in Kansas City.

Exhibitors: Altra, Asolo, Astral, Aventura, Big Agnes, BioLite, Black Diamond Equipment, Bronwen Jewelry, Camelbak, CAMP USA, Chums, Cotopaxi, Crazy Creek, Danner, Darn Tough, Dish and Duer, EcoVessel, ExOfficio, Farm to Feet, FITS, Fjallraven, Flylow Gear, Flyshacker, Free Fly, Grand Trunk, GRAYL, Gregory, Helly Hansen, Hoka One One, Howler Brothers, HydraPak, Icebreaker, Kari Traa, Kavu, Keen, Kelty, Krimson Klover, Kuhl, Leki, Liberty Mountain, LifeStraw, Locally, Lowa, Marmot, Matador, Merrell, Mountain Hardwear, Mountain Khakis, Mystery Ranch, Noso Patches, NuORDER, Oboz, Osprey, Outdoor Research, Outdoor Sports Insurance, Patagonia, Pendleton, Performance Apparel (Hot Chillys/Polarmax/Snow Angel), Pistil, Prana, Purnell, Rab / Lowe Alpine, RICS, Royal Robbins, Rumpl, Salewa / Dynafit, SAXX, Sherpa Adventure Gear, Smartwool, Stanley, Stio, Sunday Afternoons, Switchback by PivotPoint, tasc, Tecnica, Terramar, Teva, The Landmark Project, The Normal Brand, The North Face, Timberland, Toad&Co, Topo Designs, United by Blue, Vasque, Vuori, Woox, Zoleo.

Retailers: Active Endeavors, Alpine Shop, Appalachian Outfitters, Backcountry Essentials, Backcountry North, Bill & Pauls Sporthaus, Bill Jacksons, Black Creek Outfitters, Buffalo Peak Outfitters, Canyon Pass Provisions, Cascades Outdoor Store, Casual Adventure, Chalet Sports, Champaign Outdoors, D.D. Bullwinkels, Eagle Eye Outfitters, Earths Edge, Eastside Sports, Footsloggers, Gear For Adventure, Gearhead Outfitters, Great Miami Outfitters, Great Outdoor Provision Co., Great Outdoor Store, Half Moon Outfitters, High Country Outfitters, High Mountain Sports, Home Town Sports, Idaho Mountain Touring, J&H Lanmark, JAX Mercantile Co, JL Waters, Kristi Mountain Sports, Lake Superior Trading Post, Little Forks Outfitters, Mahoneys, Maine Sport Outfitters, Masseys, Maynard Outdoor Store, Midwest Mountaineering, Mountain Chalet, Mountain High Outfitters, Mountain Sports, Nantahala Outdoor Center, Natick Outdoor Store, Nat’s Outdoor Sports, Next Adventure, Nomad Ventures, Nugget Alaskan Outfitter, Outdoor Experience—ID, Outdoor Gear Exchange, Outdoor Sports Center, Outside Hilton Head, Ozark Outdoor Supply, Pack & Paddle, Pack Rat, Peace Surplus, Peak Sports, Pine Needle Mountaineering, Playmakers, Quest Outdoors, Ramsey Outdoor, River Rock Outfitter, River Sports Outfitters, Roads Rivers and Trails, Roam’n Around, Rock and Snow, Rock Creek, Round House, Rusted Moon Outfitters, Rutabaga Paddlesports, Sam’s Outdoor Outfitters, Sheridan Sport Stop, Skinny Skis, SOKO Outfitters, Summit Canyon Mountaineering, Summit Hut, Sunlight Sports, Tahoe Mountain Sports, The Base Camp, The Bear Mountain, The Mountain Air, The Mountaineer, The Outfitter, The Toggery, The Trail Head, Trail Creek Outfitters, Travel Country Outfitters, Treads n Threads, Uncle Dans, Up and Running Dayton, Ute Mountaineer, Walkabout Outfitter, WalkAbout Paddle & Apparel, Wanderlust Outfitters, Water Stone Outdoors, Wild Iris Mountain Sports, 3 Rivers Outdoor Co, Active Endeavors—Des Moines, Active Endeavors—Iowa City, Alabama Outdoors, Back Country, Backcountry Experience, Bear Cub Outfitters, Black Dome Mountain Sports, Blue Mountain Outfitters, Cadillac Mountain Sports, Coastal Paddle Company/The South Outfitters, Core Cycle & Outdoor, Cumberland Transit, Davis Dry Goods, Ecology Sports, Elephants Perch, Fin & Feather, Gadsden Outfitters, Geigers, Good Sports Outdoor Outfitters, Granite Sports, Hays Co. Outfitters, Homer Saw & Cycle, In My Element, Lenny’s Shoe & Apparel, Little River Trading Co., Mast General Store, Native Summit, Out There Outfitters, Ozark Adventures, Piragis Northwoods, RC Outfitters—Running Central, Slimpickins Outfitters, South Dakota Outdoor Shop, Sunflower Outdoor and Bike Shop, Surf, Wind and Fire, The Backpacker, Trail & Ski Shop.