I know there is a bit of politics between the two shows, and I know there is upheaval, turmoil, recession and opportunity in the outdoor leisure retail sector, so apologies if I don’t look at the bigger picture in the following thoughts, but for what it is worth, this is what I think.
One show, under one roof, seems logical to me, which would then perhaps allow for a combined effort on marketing the show. I received a decent mail shot from ROK, which is what prompted me to visit, but the KOR website left a little bit to be desired, it wasn’t even clear whether I needed to register to attend. Once I arrived it was clear I didn’t, but a slightly bigger show could iron out a bit of the marketing. While certainly KOR needed some neutral space to sit and get have coffee in.
Two days not three. I visited on the last morning, there wasn’t a lot going on. Several exhibitors commentated that many retailers hadn’t bothered to come along, so perhaps three days would be fine, if the show was a little better marketed, and retailers were incentivised to visit.
Go Outdoors, it was refreshing to hear one brand confess that theirs, and a number of other brands, had been saved by Go Outdoors, and rather than them stifling the outdoor leisure market with their retail dominance they were indeed a force for good, making many outdoor activities accessible to the general public, which of course trickles right down to the specialist equipment brands.
It was great also to be visiting stands and see genuine enthusiasm for the sport. A casual mention of heading into the hills post show was met with much excitement from a couple of stands, recommendations of routes, times and bits of free kit were readily doled out.And so down to the kit. Now I like bit of jogging as much as the next man, but really have we all become Ultra Runners! Plenty of hydration systems (bottles), ultra-run vests (little rucksacks) and 3D advanced fit, anti-blister systems (socks) were on display. But perhaps I’m wrong, there does indeed seem to be no shortage of events at the 50 plus miles toe days.
Other highlights were a refreshing amount of British manufacturing, Mountain King and Buffalo standing out in that crow, help yourself yummy Peanut Butter Clif bars, some nice new woman’s sports clothing from Zoca, Rab rucksacks and amazing hydrogen technologies for recharging phones from Brunton. On top of that were very smart stands from Beta, Rab, Scarpa and Five Ten, to name a few.
Oh and here’s a photo taken from my post show run around Kentmere, complete with some free Clif Bars, a brand new pair of Smart Wool socks and some a new pair of zip lock laces, alas no ultra running vest system thing, but then again I was only out for 3 hours.