Outdoor Industry Association has completed a deal to incorporate Outdoor University into its portfolio of educational events. Outdoor University is a Midwest-based experiential outdoor training event designed to improve the product and selling skill of outdoor industry retail sales associates. Integrating Outdoor University under the OIA umbrella provides the opportunity to expand specialized retail training experiences to a wider audience and is in-line of OIAs goal to ensure the growth and success of the Outdoor Industry.
BOSS spoke with OIAs president, Frank Hugelmeyer, who said that this acquisition will help the entire industry create the next generation of leaders. “Many of the VPs and CEOs in the industry today got their start working as salespeople in their local outdoor shops,” he said. “This allows people who are future leaders of the outdoor industry to develop the skills they will need, and it introduces people at the retail level to OIA and shows them what we can offer.”
As part of the deal, OIA has contracted Ken Barmore to manage and expand the programs to the northeast and southeast in 2006 and to develop an action plan on how to expand the concept nationally. The program not only offers any retailer valuable product training and skills clinics, but it also helps consolidate and reduce training costs. The two-day, camp-based programs serve several retailers at one time and integrate product testing with selling, training, and merchandising clinics.
Hugelmeyer also said that the long term goal of this acquisition is to create a strong in-field regional network of training programs that will help make retailers into better retailers and salespeople into better salespeople. “The challenges of a retailer are the same, whether you are a paddlesports shop, a bike shop, camping, hiking, or action sports everyone needs the same skills to be a good retailer. This will make this program available to any rep or manufacturer nation-wide,” he said.
As part of the deal, OIA will have the ability to develop a much stronger and more comprehensive database of retailers and retail sales people, allowing the organization to more effectively mobilize the outdoor community for government issues, resource issues, and environmental issues. Under OIA, the new program will also develop a new management training program that will allow retailer to grow their existing staff into the next generation of executives.