Polartec Joins Exodus Leaving Outdoor Retailer Trade Show

The giant industry fabric supplier votes with its dollars to stiff Utah over public lands animus.

Polartec is out, too. The outdoor industry is expressing long-held frustrations over Utah’s antagonism toward public lands by withdrawing from the biannual Outdoor Retailer trade show, which brings tens of thousands of visitors and $45 million to the state’s economy. This week Patagonia and Arc’teryx pulled out of the show and today the maker of NeoShell and other fabrics said it’s leaving, too.

Here’s the statement Polartec released:

Polartec, the premium provider of innovative textile solutions, announces its withdrawal from the Outdoor Retailer trade show in Utah. The announcement comes following much consideration, and is made in solidarity with Polartec customer Patagonia, which recently withdrew from Outdoor Retailer trade shows in Utah in response to the state government’s public land policy.

“Outdoor recreation is vital to our existence, and public lands conservation is essential,” says Gary Smith, Polartec CEO. “That’s why we’re proud to join with those willing to invest in doing the right thing, in standing up for the unique and finite resource that is our public lands. It’s never been more important to demonstrate that collaboration and conservation, not domination and extraction, will determine the quality of our future.”

Polartec still plans to exhibit at other trade shows and, in addition to environmental policies that promote public lands conservation, hopes to see trade show partnerships that foster modern commerce.

Also today, Ibex said it would cut back on its spending at the OR show.

“Outdoor Retailer cannot stay in Utah,” stated Ted Manning, CEO of Ibex Outdoor Clothing. “And until it moves out of the state, we as a company are taking decisive action to stand up for our public lands and conservation.”

That action is to bring a smaller crew to the show so Ibex spends less money in Utah. It will also close its booth early in protest and donate $10,000 to the Conservation Alliance.

Photo by Mandel Media

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Steve Casimiro is the editor of Adventure Journal.
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Showing 3 comments
  • William Latham

    One minor nit that has popped up in each OR show post. The OR show is semi-annual (twice a year) not biannual (once every two years.

  • Jay J

    I have been mulling over making this post, here and in other sites.
    This Boycott of the Slat Lake City, UT Trade Show is a great step toward Economic leverage from the Outdoor Community.
    The average person can now be even More selective in their Purchase power by supporting These companies and Not others. Recent developments and information in the state of Wyoming, have led me to advocate a Boycott of the textile material – GORE-TEX.
    I know I speak blaspheme here, but one of the primary heirs to the W L Gore company and fortune is Susan Gore and she is the background money source to several Libertarian Right wing groups in WY (which also work across the nation). She supports, behind the scenes:Wyoming Liberty Group, Republic Free Choice, and the Pillar of Law Institute. These groups are opposed to: Public Lands held by the Federal Gov’t , LGBT civil rights, Public Education – if it mentions: evolution/global warming and such.
    There Are alternatives (NeoShell, Triple Point Ceramic, etc..) to Gore-Tex material and individuals and major companies need to start looking for,manufacturing with and using these materials. The Big companies have started the Movement and now the individual outdoor user / gear purchaser really needs to join in – and In Force !!

  • Swenson

    If Patagonia, Arc’teryx, or any other retailer really wanted to make an impact they would refuse to sell to any retailer in Utah, ship to any buyer in Utah, or have and retail stores in Utah themselves. Their “protest” is all sound, no fury. As I’ve said in the past, the end user will make the ultimate decision. If enough Utahan’s voiced their opinion to their representatives then perhaps something will change, but I can assure you that Utah will still be overrun with Patagonia and Arc’teryx clad people on its slopes and singletrack. There may be some complaining and grumbling, but nothing of substance. If everyone upset with Utah would boycott Utah – don’t recreate there, go elsewhere, perhaps something would happen. Until then, keep tilting at windmills and tell us how brave Patagonia, Arc’teryx, and others are for withdrawing from a trade show.

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