Trade Shows and Badges

Trade Shows and Badges

Posted in
Dave Haavik

I’ve kept the badges from every tradeshow I’ve been to. Weird, I know!


I have been attending the various tradeshows within the Outdoor Industry for 30 years or so. For the past 25 years as a sales rep, the 5 years before I attended as a Vendor (Sundog if you remember) and a buyer (The North Face and Vertical Club (Yes, Club, not World yet)).

In many ways, they are exactly the same as they were 30 years ago. Attend Sales Meetings, make show appointments, prep for appointments, travel, more sales meetings, do the show appointments, travel, follow up, collect preseasons and repeat every 6 months or so. Actually, in almost every way they are the same now as they were then.

I remember the first Outdoor Retailer I attended, it was in Reno back in 1988 or 89, not sure exactly. It was in a Ballroom at the Reno Hilton. I have missed 2 Outdoor Retailer shows since. One during a transition of jobs and the other when my oldest daughter was born. I can’t remember when OR added the winter show, but I think I have been to over 50 of them.

One of the changes has been the increasing importance of our regional show. In December of ‘17 and January of ‘18 The Alta Group will have attended 3 different WWSRA regional shows; Bozeman, Portland, and Reno. I think you, the retailers are enjoying the cheaper, slower paced, more efficient aspect of the regional shows. It's nice to sit in one booth and see multiple lines while sitting in one chair!

For the Alta Group, there is a lot of preparation for the regional show. Coordinating with our vendors to make sure that we have samples and collateral on time, planning a booth (Wait till you see us in Portland, new and improved!), setting appointments, setting the booth up, etc.

After the Portland and Reno show, we will be off to the OR show in Denver. First time in Denver, curious to see how it goes. I honestly hope it goes well and jump starts the show again. It seems the attendance for us has been declining over the years but I love the “rendezvous” aspect of the event.

So, if you see me at the OR shows and ask: “how is the show going for you” and I say: “just like the last 50”, don’t think I am jaded, it's just a little blurry.