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OR Should Stay in Utah



I read Jason Stevenson’s article about Outdoor Retailer (OR) [“Take A Hike,” July 26, City Weekly]. I think he missed some key points.

First of all, the cost to run the OR show in alternate cities will be much higher. These costs will be passed on to the exhibitors. There is no way around it. Specifically, drayage rates, electrical orders, installation and dismantle, rigging, storage and transportation costs will all be higher than what they are now.

My guess is Salt Lake City provides the lowest rates of any of the other cities. I would guess an exhibitor’s bill would go up by 40 percent for these show services if they go to another venue.

In addition to Salt Lake City’s low exhibition rates, lodging, rental-car costs and meals will be priced at the big-city rates.

And then there are the unions. Salt Lake City has only one union that services the convention center. When an exhibitor goes to Las Vegas, Denver, Orlando or Anaheim, exhibitors will have to work with and pay several unions.

Specifically, the Teamsters are needed to bring the crates in the door. The Electricians union is hired for electrical needs. Actually, in Las Vegas, you are not even supposed to plug in your own cords. They have catwalks in the ceiling in Las Vegas from where the show floor is watched constantly. If an exhibitor is caught plugging things in or doing other electrical tasks, the labor fees are added to the exhibitor’s bill. The Decorators and Carpenters unions are required for all installations and dismantles. If you are not a union member, then you will be asked to leave the show floor if you are caught installing your exhibit.

I also want to point out that with the big-city venues come the big-city headaches: lack of cleanliness, crime, politics and so forth.

Ever try to catch a cab in Las Vegas? They only stop at hotels. What about Denver? It’s very dangerous to be walking around at night near the convention center. Orlando and Anaheim are so very spread out, and it is very, very tiring making it to one end of the hall.

Salt Lake City offers a clean, friendly, convenient place to have an exhibit, and we don’t have the major-league pricing. The folks in Salt Lake City are respectful of the attendees and grateful for the work and business they bring.

If OR switches to the big cities with the high-count hotel rooms and huge convention centers, OR will lose the personal touch that everybody in Salt Lake City has strived to create since the show relocated here from Reno 15 years ago. Our city workers, local vendors and citizens have helped this show grow and prosper. We should be given a fair chance to keep the show here!

I would have liked to have seen a section in Stevenson’s article dedicated to this. Instead, although well written, I thought the article was a “Bon Voyage, Utah.” It came out when the summer 2012 exhibitors and attendees will be reading it in Utah restaurants. I didn’t see a lot of content that was positive about staying in Salt Lake City. Remember, the exhibitors and attendees have a huge influence on if the show should stay or go.

We have a huge opportunity to keep the show here. Our state just needs to figure out how give this “client” what it needs. Utahns are good at that.

Adam Swillinger
Laser Exhibitor Service
Salt Lake City