Grassroots Connect, the twice-annual retail buying show of Grassroots Outdoor Alliance, is moving its fall event to the Kansas City Convention Center beginning in November 2020.
The upcoming calendar for Grassroots Connect now includes Knoxville, Tenn. (June 12-15, 2020); Kansas City, Mo. (Nov. 9-12, 2020); Knoxville, Tenn. (June 7-10, 2021); and Kansas City, Mo. (Nov. 8-11, 2021).
“We knew Kansas City was going to deliver a combination of walkability, ease of location, and low cost. But what surprised us was how modern, cool and engaging it was. Kansas City is a fantastic venue for Grassroots Connect as it truly mirrors the qualities of our most successful events,” said Rich Hill, president of Grassroots Outdoor Alliance. “Kansas City also has tons of awesome restaurants, plenty of great hotels and the ability to scale for future growth.”
The Grassroots Connect announcement follows an expedited site selection process that began earlier this fall, immediately following Outdoor Retailer’s unexpected cancellation of its November show in Denver. That departure also canceled future Grassroots Connect contracts in Denver, as the buying show was operating as a “co-locating” sub-tenant of the larger national event.
The Grassroots Connect selection process included more than 20 cities and expressed a variety of priorities including overall cost, attendee experience, venue location, flight availability, walkability, and exhibitor logistics.
“It was a bit of a scramble, but it was also a huge opportunity. Our strategy was to hone in on exactly what we wanted and to blanket the world with requests for proposals. We were incredibly fortunate and thankful to have the quality of response that we did,” said Hill, adding that other finalists in the top three included Denver as well as Reno, Nev.
An additional key consideration was the potential for growth at Grassroots Connect, as interest from specialty retailers and vendors continues to rise. The show’s unique format includes a robust commitment of support for attending retailers — a dedicated 35 percent of total show revenues covering travel costs of attending retailers including airfare, hotel and meals.
“Grassroots Connect delivers remarkable value to retailers,” said Hill. “And we want to be able to offer that opportunity to more retailers in the future.”
The Kansas City Convention Center includes 388,800 square feet of column-free exhibit space, in addition to more than 500,000 square feet of associated facilities. The center is connected to major downtown hotels and underground parking, as well as Barney Allis Plaza.