SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Utah) – Millions of dollars and thousands of jobs, that’s what local business owners say will be leaving the state when Outdoor Retailer makes its exit.
Feeding hungry people is Toasters Deli’s business, and when Outdoor Retailer is in town hungry people line up around the block to get their hands on a toasty sandwich
“During the show twice a year, January and August, our sales would literally double,” said Toasters Deli Owner Enes Huskic. “So we would have two extra months a year.”
When OR leaves Utah, Huskic says his business will most certainly feel it. But he doesn’t just worry about his own bottom line, he thinks it will have ripple effects the Governor and state lawmakers haven’t even considered. “I believe that everybody will be affected,” said Huskic. “This is a chain reaction starting from the airport employees, the downtown, from transportation, little restaurants like ours, hotels and rooms, very many people will be affected and we still don’t realize it.”
The Outdoor Industry Association announced last week the convention would be leaving town saying they could not reach common ground with Governor Herbert when it came to the state’s stance on rescinding Bears Ears National Monument and shrinking Grand Staircase-Escalante.
“Look there’s no city in the United States that gets a trade show twice a year. There’s no city that gets 50,000 people twice a year. We are privileged and should be grateful to have that,” said Adam Swillinger.
Swillinger is the owner of Laser Exhibitor Service. His company installs and dismantles trade show exhibits.
Outdoor Retailer was one of his biggest contracts. “This is my bread and butter,” said Swillinger. “This is a huge impact. This is a big loss for us.”
While another convention will most likely take its place these business owners say nothing can bring to Utah what Outdoor Retailer did. “I know they’re going to say that we can replace them by the numbers, and the money and I believe that that’s true,” said Huskic. “The problem with Outdoor Retailer, that I have, is they’re such a great group of people. They would come to our city, they would come the week prior, they would go ski, stay through the show, stay after, go home and promote our state; tell everyone how great we are how beautiful the ski resorts we have. That’s the part that I think is irreplaceable.”
Outdoor Retailer will stay in Utah through its 2018 contract. No word on where the convention plans on moving.