Blog Post

Outdoor Retailers

By: Juliette Tennert, MS

It’s been close to two years since I’ve eaten sushi. My daughter was born last October so I abstained while I was pregnant and it’s been hard to find time for a leisurely evening out ever since.

Finally, early last month, the stars aligned when my husband and I were able to schedule a night out at Takashi, our favorite restaurant. As any SLC sushi aficionado knows, Takashi doesn’t take reservations for small parties. You show up, get on the list and wait. As the same aficionado will also know, however, the wait is always worth it!

The restaurant seemed even more abuzz than I remembered and the hostess informed us that no tables were available for the rest of the evening. It then hit me that the Outdoor Retailer Summer Tradeshow was going on and we had made the rookie mistake of attempting to dine at one of Salt Lake’s most popular restaurants when over 25,000 attendees (equivalent to the University of Utah’s entire undergraduate population!) had descended upon the city. We cut our losses and replaced our plans for Strawberry Fields Rolls and sablefish with carry-out pizza. Last week, Salt Lake County, the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, and Visit Salt Lake announced the summer and winter Outdoor Retailers Tradeshows will continue to take place in Salt Lake City through at least 2018. My personal sushi access aside, this is extremely welcome news for the Utah economy. Analysis by Gardner Institute economists shows that, on average, Outdoor Retailer attendees spend around $900 each on things like lodging, food, and entertainment. With these direct expenditures, comes additional indirect activity for local businesses that support convention-related industries and further induced activity associated with local household consumption caused by the direct and indirect activity. Salt Lake County estimates that total direct, indirect, and induced economic activity associated with each tradeshow is approximately $40 million!

I’m planning ahead and have noted upcoming Outdoor retailer dates on my calendar (along with a couple of takeout options):
Winter Market: Jan. 7-10, 2016
Summer Market: Aug. 3-6, 2016

Juliette Tennert is the director of economic and public policy research at the Gardner Institute.