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Paddlesports industry endorses new trade show

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Fishing kayak manufacturers have got behind the Paddlesports Retailer Show which will be held in Madison, Wisconsin this year.

A coalition of leading fishing kayak manufacturers has backed Paddlesports Retailer as its official trade show.

The move follows the decision by Outdoor Retailer to bring its event forward to June, a decision that those in the paddlesports industry felt alienated them. The endorsement followed an eight-week process to unify around one show, elect an advisory council to be the ongoing voice of the industry and to lay the groundwork for its own trade association.

Kayak fishing manufacturers backing the show, which will take place this year for the first time from August 29th to September 1st in Madison, Wisconsin, includes Johnson Watercraft brands, Hobie, Wilderness Systems and Jackson Kayaks.

“We are pleased to endorse Paddlesports Retailer as our industry’s national trade show,” said Bill Kueper, of Wenonah Canoe. “We are also proud of how our industry came together in a very short period of time, defined shared objectives and rallied behind a focused show we believe will give the paddlesports industry its best commercial and cultural experience.”

Kueper, who has been appointed the coalition’s Chairman, is joined by Sue Rechner (Confluence Outdoors), David Blue (NRS) and Jeff Turner (Kokatat) on its industry advisory council. They were voted by their peers, leaving three additional seats to be filled at a later date.

“Our industry group polled a wide sampling of retailers to determine their show intentions and preferences,” added Kueper. “We found broad support around a paddle-centric show. In fact, over 80% of respondents said they were likely to attend Paddlesports Retailer 2017.

“In addition to the support of the show by retailers, the industry advisory council worked with Paddlesports Retailer to create a dedicated fund that will be invested in various ways to ensure the show’s success.

“Trade shows consume time and money so this new event is being developed with that in mind. Paddlesports Retailer is being held in mid-week, allowing retailers to get back to their stores at the weekend.”

The industry advisory council is also finalising a retailer incentive programme in a further effort to offset attendee expenses.

“Our goal is to get as many retailers to Madison as we possibly can,” added Paddlesports Retailer’s Darren Bush. “And because of the low cost basis of our show compared to other national shows, we can pass along those savings to our exhibitors who have in turn allocated those savings to this fund. It’s a win-win for everyone – especially retailers.”

The paddlesports industry coalition expects to adjust its focus from trade shows to larger industry issues of importance. “We are all hopeful that this effort to unify around a trade show will ultimately be the catalyst to create an industry association,” added Kueper. “Our industry has long needed a voice and collective effort to grow our category.”

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