Outdoor industry longtimer Kenji Haroutunian was just appointed show director of The Big Gear Show (BGS), a new paddling, cycling, climbing, and camping gear hardgoods-only buying event staging in Salt Lake City from July 22 to 25.
The appointment makes for a trifecta of former show directors: Haroutunian, former Outdoor Retailer show director, joins long-time Interbike show director Lance Camisasca and Paddlesports Retailer show director Charles Conner.
“I’m psyched to contribute to a new event model in service to the greater industry, encouraging more connection, discovery, and access to responsible outdoor recreation,” Haroutunian told SNEWS. “Joining a team of experienced specialty retailers is so exciting. Getting to work with Sutton, Darren, Lance, and their crew is honestly a great honor and opportunity.”
Haroutunian brings more than 30 years of experience in the outdoor recreation industry. From 2007 to 2015, he served as group show director for the Nielsen Sports Outdoor Group (now Emerald Expositions), leading Outdoor Retailer, Fly Fishing Retailer, and numerous ancillary events. He has also contributed to a variety of initiatives including Outdoor PressCamp, Friends of Joshua Tree Climb Smart, Outdoor Media Summit, the Inclusivity Luncheon, and Outside Experience. Haroutunian is also growing access and inclusion in the outdoors and serves as board director for Access Fund, Friends of Joshua Tree, and the California Outdoor Recreation Partnership.
“I’ve known Kenji for many years and have a ton of respect for him,” said Sutton Bacon, co-founder of BGS. “He’s just so well known within the outdoor industry and committed to growing the industry and really expanding the definition of what outdoor is. It made a ton of sense to bring him onboard to The Big Gear Show. He has such an impressive breadth of experience going back to his days as a store manager for Adventure 16. Part of our value proposition is ‘for retailers, by retailers.’ Kenji brings that to the table.”
Bacon and his co-founder, Darren Bush, created the show to fill a need for both exhibitors and retailers, wanting more foot traffic and more to see, respectively. Unique to BGS, the first three days will be reserved exclusively for retailer attendees, but the final day will open to the general public.