As trade shows go, the Outdoor Retailer, in its 30th year, has evolved. This is my third time here in ten years, and each time, the show finds new ways to interact with the vendors and the buyers. Brilliant breakouts in the large Salt Palace, in downtown Salt Lake City, a city made for sports and fitness. There were Endurance sports areas, new products, even an Organic cafe for the show cognescenti! In this monograph, I will give you a view of the show, plus a true treat, a little out of the way, Euro Style dining restaurant, with wonderful service, tucked into a little hideaway in Salt Lake City!
The Outdoor Retailer show is one of the most successful trade shows in sports. In its 30th year, this show succeeds because the owners understand that the show must evolve! And they have! Areas for paddlesports, new products, endurance sports, even a cafe for Organic food lovers! And if you did not have it here, there would be no other city for such a show.
Walking the 30,000 some odd booths, the normal corporate wear here is dockers, hipster plaid shirt and off road running shoes. If you were into the eco warrior set, you might have tie died organic wool tshirt, tye pants and birkies or clogs. Lots of dogs with socks (swear to Buddha) walking around the show as well.
The Outdoor retailer has a small perfomance running market, plus products like Garmin, Timex, Cloggins, New Balance, Brooks, Teva, etc. I had sent my footwear editor, Cregg Weinmann, and my I pod editor, Mark Weinmann to search out new products and check on schedules for the first three days. I arrived Friday night, hoping to hit the show on Saturday and leaving on Sunday.
The Outdoor retailer is where hardened sports trade veterans, and eco warriers meet. The look is dockers and hipster plaid shirts, plus off road running shoes, Teva’s or Birkies. If you are into the back to earth movement, you might have dreads, a Jimi Hendrix vintage shirt ( swear to Buddha, I had a flashback to Winterland 1970, and I wasn’t there!), or perhaps a life is good shirt ( I am sorry, I really want to do some life truly bites or something more in the vernacular), or walk your dog, with doggie socks of course, around the show.
The Outdoor retailer has 35,000 booths, I believe, or at least that many darn numbers. I got a nosebleed above 32,000 booths, but did find 30 exhibitors to my liking. I spent eight hours there, and next year, I will plan for two days of visiting booths. Congrats to show management for having endurance area, paddlesports area, adventure, new products, even an Organic cafe!
After the show, I retired to my hotel, the Garden Inn by Hilton, and had a siesta. After a few hours of daydreaming, I took a nice, balmy walk. The weather was nice, and the view of the surrounding mountains makes this city intriguing.
After my walk, I found a wonderfully unique little bit of Europe in Salt Lake City! Martine is a restaurant of nine years, located in a little brownstone across from the Federal Security neon sign at 22 East 100 South. (Lunch-Monday-Friday, Dinner-Tuesday -Saturday, 801.363.9328, fax, 801.363.9375).
Chef Tom Grant runs a superb kitchen. He also knows that the key to enjoying his thoughtful creations is wonderful service. This was accomplished by the lovely Linda, a bio chem specialist during the day, who practices her avocation of serving ( for nine years now) at Martine. Her service was concerned, upbeat, but not cloying. The house Rose, opened with a nice Campari and orange juice, complemented the fine dining experience. For $32, I had a plate of anti pasto ( three italian ham slices, a wonderful brie, some grilled orange pepper doused with fine balsamic), then a loin of lamb ( medium well, with green beans, onions, and potato), followed by a salad of romaine, pecans, capers, and a tomato vinagrette.
After dinner, the lovely Linda sat down and told me a bit about the restaurant, obviously a place she loves. The other diners were having a wonderful time, from locals enjoying the lentils and lamb to other Outdoor Retailers enjoying some quite strong martinis and talking about Paris Hilton, ah, some things never change.
Oh, one final thing. My Movie of choice this weekend is A Good Year, starring Russell Crowe. Crowe plays a financial whiz whose uncle, a Brit living in Provence, who he dearly loved, runs a winery putting out terrible wine on one level and one of the most sought after boutique wines as well. It is a movie that shows Crowe’s complexity as an actor, and is a movie to enjoy, like a good bottle of Beujolais. Enjoy!