Knoxville’s outdoor grassroots movement

Knoxville’s outdoor grassroots movement

📅November 14th, 2014, 10:12

Knoxville is more than just a stop on the way to the Great Smoky Mountains. With our urban wilderness right across the river from a thriving, revitalized downtown area, outdoor enthusiasts are drawn to our city for its unique blend of outdoor adventure and downtown sophistication. That’s why we are the perfect location for the Grassroots Outdoor Alliance to hold its biannual trade shows.

Eron Osterhaus of Montrail shows off some of their new trail running shoes in-between meetings with vendors.

Eron Osterhaus of Montrail shows off some of their new trail running shoes in-between meetings with vendors.

The country’s premier group of outdoor retailers, which serves more than 100 independent specialty outdoor stores, selected Knoxville as the site for its summer and fall/winter Grassroots Summits from 2013 to 2016.

This week, they were back in the Convention Center holding the Grassroots Fall/Winter Summit with previews of new outdoor apparel and accessories. Vendors who attended the show included: Black Diamond, Columbia, ExOfficio, Icebreaker, Kuhl, Lole, Marmot, Mountain Hardwear, Mountain Shades, Patagonia, Pistil Designs, prAna, Royal Robbins, Salomon FW, SmartWool and Wigwam Mills. Retailers met with these vendors and more during the four-day show to check out products and place orders for upcoming lines.

This rack of Marmot backpacks was set up in a room adjacent to the main floor. Several brands used these rooms to swap products in order to match each retailer’s needs.

This rack of Marmot backpacks was set up in a room adjacent to the main floor. Several brands used these rooms to swap products in order to match each retailer’s needs.

The group shifted to Knoxville from Stone Mountain, Georgia, to accommodate increased attendance, and the Knoxville Convention Center delivered exactly what the organization needed. After the 2013 show, former Grassroots Outdoor Alliance President Roanne Miller said she received great feedback from attendees and looked forward to holding the event in Knoxville over the next several years.

“The KCC did a fabulous job making the event successful for the 265 people that attended,” Miller said. “The facility, personnel, food and service were of top quality, and we look forward to continuing to host our event there for the next few years.”

This year, a representative from Columbia Sportswear said this was the best Grassroots Outdoor Alliance show that he had ever been to in terms of sales and attendance.

A unique feature of the Grassroots Summit is the Bike Share Program. Hopefully a few of our guests took advantage of the chance to explore our great city.

A unique feature of the Grassroots Summit is the Bike Share Program. Hopefully a few of our guests took advantage of the chance to explore our great city.

The Knoxville Convention Center is thrilled to host the group through 2016. As the Grassroots Outdoor Alliance welcomes its new president, Wes Allen, we hope our venue and our city encourage more people to discover what we have always known. Whether kayaking, hiking or biking, Knoxville has great adventures to offer outdoor enthusiasts.