EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR'S REPORT
– George Kiesewetter, Executive Director
This past January was a full-on sprint to get ready for the Outdoor Retailer winter trade show in Denver. We had a terrific response to our MOB booth there and lots of positive PR. Thanks to everyone who had a hand in making our first OR a success. Now that winter OR is behind us, we have lots of exciting initiatives going on with MOB to fuel our momentum. Read on to get the details on everything MOB related.
On Friday, March 2, at 8 a.m. at the Blaze offices in Portland, we will have our first breakfast briefing featuring Matt Powell, a 40-year retail industry veteran. Matt will speak to our members on retail and consumer trends in the outdoor marketplace, the same presentation he did at Outdoor Retailer last month. In addition to being the vice president of industry analysis for the NPD Group (npd.com) covering the sports, outdoor, and recreation marketplace, Matt is a Mainer. Mark your calendars for this inaugural breakfast briefing, and see below for details on how to RSVP.
Another big initiative is our Tuesday, March 20th, event at the State House in Augusta where MOB will be presenting research outlining the importance of Maine’s outdoor recreation economy to state legislators. We hope every MOB member will attend this important event. More info on MOB’s Day at the Capitol is below and also will come separately.
Also on Tuesday, March 20, immediately after the State House event, we will have our second member meet-up. Sponsored by our Treeline supporter, Maine Outdoor Properties, this meet-up will be held at Margarita’s Restaurant in Augusta from 5-7 p.m. We hope you’ll join us. There should lots to talk about after our State House event!
We recently conducted several member surveys: one asking what MOB members are most interested in and a second asking for feedback on the OR booth and thoughts around a bigger booth at summer OR. Thanks to everyone who took the time to complete these surveys. As part of a member-led organization, it’s important to make sure your voices are heard.
MOB also is planning a booth at the international OutdoorShow in Germany June 17-20. So far, Flowfold, Good To-Go, Stabil, Blaze Partners, and Fendler PR have expressed their intentions to exhibit. The Maine International Trade Council (MITC) is willing to grant MOB members who qualify $3,500 to offset expenses related to attending the show. Email me if you’re interested and would like more information.
In one of our recent surveys, nearly three-quarters of MOB members who responded expressed interest in having an intern this summer, either short-term (2 to 4 weeks) or for the full summer. James Morin (Flowfold) and I are contacting Maine-based colleges and universities to get this program established. Look for more to come on this in the months ahead.
MOB has been offered some attractive advertising packages for our members in the outdoor publications Inside Outdoor and Wild Northeast. For MOB members interested in new business opportunities and exposure for their brands, these would be relatively inexpensive options. If you are interested in these offers, please let me know.
And, of course, we are already planning for the summer Outdoor Retailer trade show in July. In the meantime, I will be attending Maine’s Conference on Tourism and the National Outdoor Recreation Conference in Vermont over the next few months. We also continue to engage the Outdoor Industry Association to leverage their research and initiatives. It’s an exciting time for MOB and I hope each of you feels the same way!
MEMBER SURVEY TOPLINE
In January, MOB conducted a member survey about what they most wanted to receive from joining MOB. A special thanks to Scott Bahr from Cairn Consulting Group for fielding the survey and summarizing the results.
There were a total of 28 responses and the topline results regarding the priorities and level of contact/communications from MOB are as follows:
- The preferred content for member communications from MOB includes updates on members and industry events; others showed interest in industry news and events or articles on outdoor recreation in Maine.
- Nearly all MOB members who responded said that they prefer casual meet-ups to connect with other members; two-thirds also mentioned breakfast/working groups.
- The areas of interest for breakfast meetings/workshops are most likely to include social/digital advertising, protecting IP, how to access capital, and tax law implications. There are also high levels of interest in marketing and PR, as well as industry trends and research.
- Members’ top priority is to connect with other industry brands, though others are likely to seek promotions and learning from others.
There is a high level of interest in summer interns either short-term (2-4 weeks) or for the summer.
OUTDOOR RETAILER + SNOW SHOW RECAP
As you’ve probably heard by now, MOB had a booth at the Outdoor Retailer + Snow Show trade show in Denver in January, which helped create significant exposure for member brands, most of whom were new to the national stage.
Special thanks goes to Cathy Streifel (Pixie) who cut more REDD superfood energy bars for samples over four days than anyone alive today, Brian Threlkeld (BST Photography) who did yeoman’s work setting up and taking down the booth, and Blaze Partners for outstanding booth design. The show wouldn’t have been the same without them.
Check out this OR video Brian put together to get a feel for the show. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wRCun2T_Dc8
The show was new to Denver this year, had three levels of exhibitors in the convention center and 28,000 attendees from around the world. Despite its age, the show continues to grow in popularity. “OR attendance has steadily grown to more than 50,000 visitors, annually. Now, with three shows a year coming to Denver, the expectation is for 85,000 visitors annually” – Marisa Nicholson, Director Outdoor Retailer
We had a fantastic location in a high traffic area near the Venture Out space where all the hot new brands exhibit (like Good To-Go and Flowfold). I think Kevin Kayne from Blaze Partners summed it up best when we finished setting up the booth, “It looks like MOB has been exhibiting at this show for five years.”
Nancy Fendler (Fendler PR) did an outstanding job lining up media appointments that resulted in a ton of positive coverage for MOB and its members. In fact, MOB won one of only 10 “Best of Show” awards from The Manual—an essential gear and lifestyle website for men. https://www.themanual.com/outdoors/outdoor-retailer-winter-2018/
We set the bar really high with our first OR show and believe it or not we are already planning for the summer OR show. With that in mind, we polled MOB OR show attendees (14 responses) and asked for feedback on what can be improved. Here’s what they said:
- None of the MOB members who provided responses to the survey are dissatisfied with the booth overall, or the appearance and visibility of the booth.
- Among the members who attended, a majority spent between two and ten hours at the booth, though a couple of the attendees spent a great deal of time at the booth (Thanks, Cathy!).
- Members are split on whether they plan to attend the summer OR show. 44% say very likely, while 31% say they are unsure at this time.
- In general, members like the idea of a larger booth space, but there is a need for more information about how it might work.
- Members need more information about what is associated with the costs of a booth space—whether it’s helping to defray the cost or paying for a larger booth—prior to committing to an actual amount.
Thanks again, Scott (Cairn Consulting) for fielding this survey and compiling results.
FIRST BREAKFAST BRIEFING
On Friday, March 2, Matt Powell will speak about retail and consumer trends in the outdoor marketplace for our very first MOB breakfast briefing.
Matt is a widely respected 40-year veteran of the retail industry with 25 years experience in the sporting goods industry, and is the vice president of industry analysis for the NPD Group (npd.com) covering the sports, outdoor, and recreation marketplace. The NPD Group is the leading global provider of market information and business solutions covering brick-and-mortar, e-commerce, and emerging channels in more than 20 industries.
Matt frequently makes presentations to senior executives of athletic retailers and brands. You can see him quoted as an expert and his work cited in major business publications. He also happens to be a Mainer. He will be giving his presentation that he recently gave at the Outdoor Retailer show to more than 1,000 people.
Please join us for our first member breakfast briefing with Matt on Friday, March 2, at 8 a.m. at the Blaze offices (30 Danforth Street, Suite 304) in Portland. You should have received an invite to RSVP, as space is limited. If not, please let me know. https://maineoutdoorbrands.com/member-events-breakfast-briefing/
– Jim Hauptman, Blaze Partners
It’s been amazing to watch how MOB has grown over the past several months. And if anything, it continues to pick up speed and momentum. I’m thankful to have George serving as our Executive Director. There’s no way we could be continuing at this breakneck pace without him. As he’s hit many of the high points from the past month above, I’ll keep this brief.
On February 12, I received an email from the law firm Bernstein Shur notifying MOB that they were coming on board as one of our four Summit Supporters. As you can imagine, this news was extremely well received. As a new organization, MOB is grateful for the financial support afforded through our new partnership with Bernstein Shur, but also for the legal content they have offered to provide our members through quarterly breakfast briefings, newsletter articles, and other avenues. Over the next couple of weeks, we will be working with Bernstein Shur to develop topics of interest, relevance, and appeal to MOB members. Their first breakfast briefing will be in April. Details to come.
I know a number of MOB members already work with attorneys at Bernstein Shur. If you’re one of them, please thank your attorney for their support. And if you’re looking for an attorney to help with anything from IP rights to contract law, please consider working with Bernstein Shur.
We continue to make progress in sharing our vision with conservation and recreation partners across the state. I will be joining a panel discussion at the upcoming Maine Land Conservation Conference, in March (http://www.mltn.org/meetings/conservation-conference.php). The idea of conservation, recreation and manufacturing forming the nucleus of Maine’s outdoor recreation economy is getting serious attention and traction!
And finally, if you haven’t been to the MOB website in a while (www.MaineOutdoorBrands.com), check it out. It’s heartening – and impressive – to see the nearly 60 logos of members, supporters and non-profit partners. Maine’s new call of the wild is sounding more like a roar.
– Alicia MacLeay, Trailspace
Maine Legislature Hall of Flags: March 20
We want you to join MOB in Augusta on Tuesday, March 20, for a Day at the Capitol.
MOB has reserved the State House’s Hall of Flags area for Tuesday, March 20, from 1 to 4:30 p.m. This is a great opportunity to spread the word about the importance of Maine’s outdoor industry economy and MOB’s mission, meet legislators and their staff, and share industry information, plus refreshments and snacks.
We’re looking for MOB members to help at the event—sharing MOB’s mission with legislators and the public, meeting with your elected officials, talking about MOB and its importance to your business and Maine’s outdoor industry economy. We’ll also be holding a press event that afternoon outlining the importance of Maine’s outdoor recreation economy to state legislators.
This is a great opportunity for MOB and its member companies to get in front of our elected officials and to further awareness of our group and its influence. No legislative background is needed, just a willingness to share the importance of MOB, our industry, and brands like yours to our state.
More info on MOB’s Day at the Capitol will come separately, but if you or others from your company are able to join us in the Hall of Flags on March 20, or if you want more info, please let us know at your earliest convenience (RSVP). We would love to have as many MOB members as possible from all over Maine at the Capitol next month representing our state’s great outdoor industry and brands.
Member Meet-up: March 20 at Margaritas
Following the Hall of Flags event on Tuesday, March 20, please join us for a casual member meet-up at Margaritas Mexican Restaurant (390 Western Avenue, Augusta).
We’ve reserved space in a side room at Margaritas from 5 to 7 p.m. for drinks and food, plus some fun, casual MOB socializing. We hope you can join us there, even if you aren’t able to attend the Hall of Flags event.
Summer Meet-up at Grain Surfboards
Mike LaVecchia, founder of Grain Surfboards, has offered to hold a summer MOB meet-up at Grain’s new shop in York, a block from the beach. Thank you, Mike! Grain Surfboards are hand-built using time honored woodworking techniques and local, sustainable softwoods that naturally produce artful grain patterns on every board. Stay tuned for more info on this fun event.
If you’d like to help organize or sponsor a member meet-up, please let me (email@example.com) or another Advisory Board member know. Quarterly meet-ups are a great way to connect with other outdoor industry members in casual, fun settings. They’re also our members’ preferred way to connect with other members, like you!
OUTDOOR INDUSTRY FACTS
Did you know?
- The outdoor recreation economy grew 3.8 percent in 2016, compared to growth of 2.8 percent in the overall economy.
- The outdoor recreation industry comprises 2 percent of the entire 2016 U.S. Gross Domestic Product, more than mining, oil, and gas extraction combined.
(Source Bureau of Economic Analysis)