As fall gives way to winter and cooling temperatures, it also marks the time for many outdoor organizations to hold their annual business meetings, regional trade shows or planning meetings recapping the successes (and sometimes failures) of 2013, and look ahead to what is in store for 2014 and beyond. Many of you on the East Coast or in the upper Midwest attended one of the three Big Rock Shows this past fall to buy fill-in products for the balance of 2013, as well as preview and schedule out new orders for 2014. Special pricing, terms and rebates make these shows can’t miss opportunities. At the same time, many outdoor industry associations use this time of year to bring their members together to recap 2013 and begin planning for 2014.


One great example of this is Big Rock’s attendance at the Outdoor Industry Association’s (OIA) annual Rendezvous, which brings leading manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers together to “Learn. Connect. Ignite.” To kick off the event, Timberland sponsored its 15th consecutive local service project in conjunction with Wildcoast, an international services conservation team who lead a cleanup effort south of San Diego to remove debris, tires and waste materials from the Tijuana River Valley’s miles of trails and riverbeds, much of which would have eventually ended up in the Pacific Ocean. Once cleaned up, this area offers recreation to locals for hiking, canoeing, biking and horseback riding.


Another highlight of this year’s OIA Rendezvous was a keynote half-day session on “Building the Outdoor Retail of the Future,” a multi-year project by the Association and IDEO, a world-renowned design agency focused on “uncovering actionable strategies for addressing the rapidly shifting needs and expectations of outdoor consumers.” As the demographic shift in the US moves away from a suburban, Caucasian outdoor consumer to an urban, multilingual generation focused on family activities, the question was posed on how the outdoor industry can engage and attract these consumers who are the fastest growing segment of the US population. Results of this study will be available at the OIA Winter Market this coming January in Salt Lake City.


Several weeks later, KeepAmericaFishing (KAF) and the American Sportfishing Association (ASA) held its annual fall Business Summit. Over 150 members of the Sportfishing community attended this year, participating in association committee meetings, board meetings and overall business-building general sessions. Committee meeting topics included advocacy, government affairs, consumer and trade shows, membership, finance, data and statistics and communications, to name a few.


Key takeaways from this year’s meeting included the 2013 Sportfishing Summit Trade Insights and Market Report produced by Southwick Associates as an exclusive for attendees at this years Summit. The 68-page publication focused on key industry data including economic impacts, equipment markets, US angler profiles and demographics, fishing tackle imports, shipments and license sales garnered from surveys and government reports by Southwick exclusively for the ASA. Look for more details on ASA’s and KAF’s websites.


A second key initiative at this year’s Summit was the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation’s (RBFF) focus on the 53 million Latin American consumers in the US, including plans for a year-long test campaign in Florida and Texas to reach out to this fast growing segment of the US population. Included in this multi-media approach to attracting more Latin Americans to the sport of fishing will be local and regional industry events, webinars tied to a new microsite, local print, digital and radio media communications and other grassroots opportunities. RBFF has partnered with Lopez Negrete Communications, a leading advisory group on engaging the Latin American community.


I hope everyone had a great holiday season, and I look forward to seeing you our upcoming Big Rock Shows.

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