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Outside Business Journal

Merrell Withdraws from Outdoor Retailer, Donates Funds to Wildfire Victims in Colorado

Merrell has pulled out of OR’s Snow Show two weeks before it stages in Denver, citing COVID concerns

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Bella Wilkes

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On Monday, Merrell announced it will no longer attend Outdoor Retailer’s 2022 Snow Show, staging January 26-28 in Denver, Colorado. In a press release distributed by the footwear company, it cited the increased infection rate of the Omicron variant as the main factor in the decision. 

The withdrawal may come at a surprise for some, but Merrell Global Brand President Chris Hufnagel confirms it was not a hasty decision. 

“As we have since the beginning of 2020, we’ve been evaluating all in-person gatherings as they approach,” Hufnagel says.

According to the company’s press release, Merrell will redirect $25,000 that would have gone to the trade show to make an immediate donation to the Boulder County Wildfire Fund, an organization aiding those displaced by wildfires in Colorado last month.

OR was not able to confirm how Merrell will be refunded for its OR exhibitor fees—whether in cash, a credit toward a future trade show, or some other form of reimbursement—but Hufnagel says the two businesses are working toward an agreement. “We’re continuing to communicate with the great team at Outdoor Retailer and are looking forward to attending future shows,” Hufnagel says.

Despite the high-profile cancellation, OR Show Director Marisa Nicholson says she still expects hundreds of brands to exhibit this year. “Each company is unique and making the best decisions for their business right now,” Nicholson says. “For those able to attend, we have new resources available, including business matchmaking services and in-person meetings with trend and data experts.” The show’s current exhibitor list is currently live.

Are you attending the show?

We’re still taking responses to our OR attendance poll. Weigh in below to let us know if your plans have changed, or if you’re coming to Denver later this month.

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