The Daily - June 11,2022 - 65

Not a Moment
Too Soon
Last-minute exhibitors flock to absorb booth
space. By Eugene Buchanan
BETTER LATE THAN NEVER. THAT'S
the motto being uttered by a
handful of brands that didn't
decide to attend this Show until
the last minute-and are glad they
did. Hemming and hawing-while
others were trimming and sawing
their booths-brands like pack raft
manufacturer Kokopelli, wetsuit
distributor 7 Seas Surf, Hatcher
Packs, and All American Axe all
decided to attend this year's show
on the spur of the moment-to get
their wares in front of retailers,
taking advantage of the world's
largest outdoor industry gathering.
" We were on the bubble, but
we've always found the Show
successful, " says Kokopelli general
manager Jeff Popp, whose company
is using the Show to debut
its uber-lightweight and durable
Kevlar X-series of pack rafts,
including the Nirvana Self-Bailer
and Rogue-Lite. " We're one of the
few novel categories still left at OR,
so we get a lot of mileage out of
that. Other brands have dropped
off because they might not see the
value in their more-crowded category,
but we do. "
Hatcher Packs, makers of an
innovative diaper bag baby carrier,
saw it as a last-minute chance to
catapult its nascent company to the
next level. " We're a newer business
and thought the Show would be a
great place to get our product out in
front of people, " says Jaclyn Thatcher,
who invented the pack after her
experience lugging her three kids
around on various adventures.
" We felt the opportunity to meet
retailers and network would really
springboard our company. We
were on the fence, but we thought
the investment of time and money
would be worth it. You can explain
our product to people, but it's even
better when you can touch it and
feel it in person. We think the Show
will be a true game changer and
difference maker for us. "
All American Axe feels the same
way, throwing its hat in the ring
at the last minute to showcase its
American-made, hand-forged,
heat-treated steel axes with AAAgrade
U.S. hickory handles. Same
thing with 7 Seas Surf, which distributes
wetsuit protection products
from Spain's SurfLogic. Both
showed up late to the dance but
are waltzing with excitement about
their decision. " My wife and I are
outdoor specialty retail veterans,
and, when we launched All American
Axe, we knew we'd eventually
be exhibiting at Outdoor Retailer, "
says owner Hal Van Hercke. " We
called the show staff about future
shows, and they offered us a booth
at this week's show. Opportunity
only knocks once, so we signed up,
and, less than 24 hours later, we
have a booth set up and ready. The
OR team has been incredible, and
we're excited to be here. These are
our people. "
As for Kokopelli, some
last-minute arrangements even
landed them a coveted spot at the
lobby entryway. " OR let us get a
truck inside the atrium, which was
huge, " says Popp. " We didn't want
to do a traditional booth, but when
that came up, it was a no-brainer. "
He adds that if history is any
indication, Kokopelli will reap
plenty of benefits from attending.
" We were packed last year and
super busy, which was great, " he
says. " Things progressed faster
for us on the product side than we
thought, and we had some good,
key accounts asking us if we were
going to be there, so we wanted to
capitalize on all of that. "
Kokopelli
navigated
the lobby.
OUTDOOR RETAILER SUMMER 2022 /
65
LAUREN DANILEK

The Daily - June 11,2022

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Daily - June 11,2022

The Daily - June 11,2022 - Cover1
The Daily - June 11,2022 - Cover2
The Daily - June 11,2022 - 1
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The Daily - June 11,2022 - 71
The Daily - June 11,2022 - 72
The Daily - June 11,2022 - Cover3
The Daily - June 11,2022 - Cover4
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