Grassroots Outdoor Alliance, the national organization dedicated to the health and growth of specialty outdoor retail, will bring its four-day Connect trade show back to Tennessee’s Knoxville Convention Center for Summer 2018.

“Knoxville is a wonderful host for our show and our membership. We look forward to being back in the Smoky Mountain foothills next summer,” said Rich Hill, president of Grassroots Outdoor Alliance.

“We are thrilled to once again host Grassroots Outdoor Alliance in Knoxville, Tennessee. The success we have seen thus far was contributed to by a strong working relationship with Grassroots and all the Knoxville partners involved, including Visit Knoxville, the Knoxville Convention Center, and all of our hotels and community partners.  We look forward to another successful event in 2018,” said Kim Bumpas, president, Visit Knoxville

The show marks the sixth time Grassroots Outdoor Alliance will host a show in Knoxville, but is a change to the organization’s previously announced schedule.

Originally, Grassroots Outdoor Alliance planned to host their summer 2018 show in Utah in order to “co-locate” with Outdoor Retailer Summer Market – an alignment of show venues and dates designed to provide both cost savings and improved results for member retailers and vendors.

However, after Grassroots Outdoor Alliance and Outdoor Retailer withdrew their shows from Utah earlier this year in protest of the state’s public lands policy, both organizations have been immersed in the process of evaluating new venues.

While Grassroots Outdoor Alliance remains wholly committed to the future goal of co-location with Outdoor Retailer, the choice to return to Knoxville for June 2018 was a simple business decision made to guarantee that preferred dates, venues and hotels were secured.

“The goal for Grassroots Outdoor Alliance is to co-locate with Outdoor Retailer as soon as possible, but in the short term we need to take care of our immediate business needs,” said Hill, adding that the organization was “totally confident” that Outdoor Retailer and Outdoor Industry Association would make the best decision for the industry in their comprehensive evaluation of new venues.

Future confirmed show dates for Connect include:

  • Albuquerque, NM – June 12-16, 2017
  • Knoxville, TN – Nov. 7-10, 2017
  • Knoxville, TN – June 14-17 2018

Photo courtesy Grassroots Connect