FlyFishing Retailer 2007 enjoys upswing in attendance and rising tide of youthful energy
A popular return to mid-September dates as well as healthy storefront attendance helps to boost total attendance figures
DENVER, COLO. (Oct. 23, 2007) – Drawing a dedicated and diverse crowd of fly fishing industry professionals to the Colorado Convention Center, the 2007 FlyFishing Retailer show enjoyed an upswing in total attendance thanks to a popular return to September dates, fresh thinking by show planners, and an influx of new faces and youthful energy.
With compelling seminars and raucous industry parties, FlyFishing Retailer once again proved itself the single most important event on the fly fishing industry calendar. Those making the trip from Sept. 16-18, 2007, were rewarded with three days of active business… as well as a springboard for an early-fall fishing trip in the nearby Rocky Mountains.
“The feel on the show floor this year was far more energetic than in previous years,” said Kenji Haroutunian, FlyFishing Retailer show director. “The increased attendance and appeal to a younger audience kept the show floor buzzing and exhibitor booths full.”
Starting on the right foot, FlyFishing Retailer recorded a close to 50 percent spike in day one attendance over 2006.
The dramatic show start evened out over time, as total attendance for the show indicated an upswing across all channels. A total of 3,045* attendees made the trip to the 2007 FlyFishing Retailer show, up 33.0 percent overall from 2006.
Total buyer attendance jumped by 18.5 percent from 2006, indicating a distinct business vitality from the retailers that made the trip. Total storefronts attending the FFR show was up as well this year (4.5 percent).
“Certainly part of this year’s upswing in attendance was due to the show’s move back to September from late August,” added Haroutunian. “The post Labor Day show dates allowed retailers to take full advantage of the busy summer buying season.
An extra month in the calendar also strengthened the ability of the show and its industry partner, the American Fly Fishing Trade Association (AFFTA), to maximize the impact of several new initiatives intended to increase the excitement and effectiveness of the show.
“Each year, FFR presents a variety of great opportunities for attendees to connect with industry leaders and learn more about programs, strategies and issues that can positively affect the growth and direction of their businesses and our industry,” said Robert Ramsay, president of AFFTA. “The key is getting this information to the individuals who are most able to use it.”
Sparking much excitement, AFFTA, with the help of Frontiers International and William Joseph, sponsored multiple giveaways during the show; even cold, hard cash to seminar attendees. The first winner of an exotic fishing trip was selected at random during the heavily attended Industry Breakfast, and went to Peter Crow of Smith Optics. Other program winners took away a vintage motorcycle, new Best Booth awards, and another island fishing adventure.
The 2007 Best of Booth Awards, won by Scientific Anglers and Fisherman Eyewear in the Large and Small Booth Categories, was one of the many new features at this year’s show. Each winner receives a free individual booth space for the FFR 2008 event, booked for September 14-16 next year in Denver.
Both during the show and after hours, fly fishing’s increasing appeal with youth as well as the youthful minded was reflected in the obvious surge of digital video surrounding the show. Led by Fish & Fly magazine, the official video partner of the show. New media at FFR covered a wide range of topics including The Drake magazine’s “Five Minutes of Fly Fishing” video awards, Hook.tv’s sponsorship of the Spey Café’s video screens and the ongoing Video Clip Contest, Patagonia’s after hours screening of short films in their Denver store, and the critically acclaimed theatrical trailer of “Red Gold,” a movie highlighting the Pebble Mine conflict in Bristol Bay, Alaska. More information on Hook.tv’s Video Clip Contest can be found online at flyfishingretailer.com.
The New Products Area, hosted by Morris Communications and Adams & Sons, was more prominent than ever before, thanks to a blend of eye-level displays, mannequins, and a totally revised layout and location. Attendees were able to browse the area and vote on the 2007 Fly Gear of the Year Awards, which were won by Hareline Dubbin, Tibor Reels, Cliff Outdoors, and Petitjean Fishing Equipment.
The Orvis/American Angler Casting Cup Finals on Day 3 once again drew a large crowd, with Steve Rajeff and Kathleen Wagner taking the Men’s and Women’s honors. The two winners shared the $7,500 purse with Rajeff donating his half to the Coastal Conservation Association and Wagner splitting her half between Casting for Recovery and Reel Recovery.
“I really felt this was the best show I’ve been associated with since 1998. The crowd was a little younger, the energy was the best I have felt in many years, and the attitude from everyone I met was more upbeat,” said Hutch Hutchinson of Orvis. “We had many more casters participate in the Casting Cup than in past competitions and this is no surprise to me considering competitions are the way that many anglers, particularly younger ones, are getting involved with our sport.”
*Attendance figures gathered and verified by third-party registration management firm.