June 9th-11th, 2022

Together again at OR
Colorado Convention Center – Denver, CO

Despite COVID concerns and frequent flight cancellations in the news lately, many outdoor industry folks gathered in Denver for the city’s send-off to the Outdoor Retailer tradeshow, aka “OR”.

There are no shortages of reasons to skip the OR show. Other than COVID and travel woes, there’s endless discussion on the high cost of the show for exhibitors; the relevance of the show as it relates to the original intent of connecting brands with order-writing buyers; the challenge of being at the “right” show given the rise of new, competing shows. And yet the show went on and there were many brands, buyers, and a host of other supporting stars there.

Connection. It’s essential to our well-being. It’s also essential in business. Consumers with a greater connection to a brand are more brand-loyal. Brands with deep connections to their factories may become more innovative, cooperative, and perhaps even more supportive in tough times such as the past couple years. There were many stories told at OR about coming together to help support struggling parties recently. Connectedness between farmer, manufacturer, designers, influencers, athletes, service providers and more are all formed and strengthened when we’re together, and perhaps that’s what keeps bringing us back. Back to OR.

It was an honor to be present at what will be the last OR show (for a while at least??) in Denver. For us at NRI, the chance to connect in-person with our clients and other partners is always a treat. Even prior to COVID, so much business was conducted over email or Teams/Zoom that an in-person was always a minimum twice-annual opportunity to reconnect, learn more, share more, discuss new ideas much easier, and put live faces to names. For 2 very busy days we zig-zagged the show floor, thankful for all those that always show up to provide some version of caffeine without question. We were able to spend quality time IN PERSON with numerous clients – some new relations, some 2 decades old. We shared stories of success, failure, and ways to improve together.

Do tradeshows still matter? I believe that time together matters. So does spending that time getting to know and understand one another’s challenges, values, and hopes. So does learning about your partners’ products and services intimately in order to be the best you that you can for the other. Multiply that by being able to do so with many others over the course of a few concise days and you can give it another name, but tradeshow works fine for me.

OR was once again a great opportunity to be together and connect. Thank you to all our amazing clients. Thank you for sharing the highs and lows with us. It was great to see you all in person and plan our future together. Thank you to OR for another great show – for the educational sessions, the focus on people and planet, and the continued focus on diversity and inclusion.

Ryan Dale-Johnson • VP of Sales @ NRI 3PL