Patagonia, REI Threaten Boycott of Outdoor Retailer Trade Show: Here’s Why

by Taylor Cunningham
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Patagonia, The North Face, REI, and hundreds more companies joined in the Conservation Alliance are threatening to boycott the Outdoor Retailer trade show if organizers move the location out of Denver and into Salt Lake City. According to the group, Utah is trying to remove protections from public lands. And doing so goes against everything the trade show stands for.

In a news release, the Conservation Alliance said that Emerald X, the company that owns the trade show, has voiced its considerations to move Outdoor Retailer back to its original home in Salt Lake City—despite major objections within the industry. And many companies in the alliance will refuse to participate if that happens.

“Our position on the location of the Outdoor Retailer trade show remains clear and unchanged: The show belongs in a state whose top officials value and seek to protect public lands,” Patagonia CEO Ryan Gellert wrote.

According to U.S. News, Utah Gov. Spencer Cox has been propositioning Emerald X to return to his state with promises of economic benefits.

“We’ve missed you for the past several years,” Cox said in a video released last October. “And we’ve made some improvements while you’ve been away.”

Patagonia and the Outdoor Retailer Trade Show Began to Boycott Utah in 2017

The outdoors industry has been avoiding the state ever since lawmakers asked President Donald Trump to repeal the Bears Ears National Monument in 2017, which he did. When that happened, 30 companies in the alliance and the Outdoor Retailer show announced they were leaving Utah.

That was the last year the trade show took place in Beehive State. In 2018, Outdoor Retailer signed a five-year contract with the city of Denver. And after this summer, the contract is back up for bids.

While President Biden has since restored the monument, The Conservation Alliance is convinced that lawmakers are working to remove it once again. Nonetheless, Emerald X is still considering the state for the 2023 show along with Anaheim, Houston, Las Vegas, and Orlando. The company is also looking into locations in California.

However, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis hopes to convince the trade show to remain in Denver. On Monday, Polis and a group of state senators issued a statement explaining exactly why Colorado is the ideal spot for Outdoor Retailer.

“We take pride in caring for our public lands and supporting our tribes while taking bold climate action and remaining business-friendly,” they wrote per U.S. News. “Today’s announcement from the outdoor recreation industry and its top leaders underscores that the Outdoor Retailer Show belongs in Colorado.”

Outsider.com