Negotiations underway to keep Outdoor Retailer Show in Salt Lake City beyond 2016

Posted at 6:11 PM, Aug 05, 2015
and last updated 2015-08-05 20:11:25-04

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Salt Lake City has been home to the Outdoor Retailer Show since 1996, but there’s talks to move the show outside the Beehive State.

The Outdoor Retailer Show is contracted to stay in Salt Lake through August 2016. Tourism leaders would like them to stick around longer, but that all depends on Salt Lake County leaders.

The ORS Summer Market is a place where businesses show off their latest outdoor products, not yet made available to the public, but nearly 20 years later, the partnership may come to an end.

“We've lost 64 conventions in the last two years because we don't have a hotel in our destination,” said Scott Beck, President and CEO of Visit Salt Lake.

ORS wants more hotel space to accommodate the 27,000 people who attend the 4-day event every year.

The Utah State Legislature approved funding to build a convention center hotel. Salt Lake County received a bid from Omni Hotel Chain, but there’s been no word on where those negotiations are going until now.

Salt Lake County leaders said they’re going to make an announcement next Tuesday.

“When 27,000 people come to town during those four days, they leave $25 million in our community--so we want to move Heaven and Earth to make that relationship stay long-term,” Beck said.

Other reasons OR may consider leaving is because they disagree with some of Utah’s public land policies.

Whatever the reason, retailers who spoke to FOX 13 News don’t want to set up shop anywhere else.

Hazel Rogers is with The Ticla company. The Ventura, California-based company manufactures car camping equipment.

“You have all the retailers here that you can communicate with,” Rogers said.

Amanda Bianchi markets Pack It lunch bags. This is her third year at the show, and she wants to come back for more years to come.

“A lot of us as vendors extend our trip," she said. "We go snowboarding, skiing up in Park city after. There's just so many outdoor activities. Seems like such a natural fit."