Paddling Prevails Over Stormy Economy
at Northeast Paddlesports and Outdoor Expo
Paddling and outdoor enthusiasts didn't let stormy economic waters slow them down at the 1st Annual Northeast Paddlesports and Outdoor Expo, the first major outdoor expo and sale in the country. Over 2,500 consumers descended on the Saratoga City Center in Saratoga Springs, New York on March 6, 7, and 8 to attend the Expo sponsored by Mountainman Outdoor Supply Company (MOSC), New York's largest canoe and kayak dealer.
John Nemjo, president of MOSC, was very pleased with the turnout at his first-ever indoor show: "We're been putting on our Adirondack Paddlefest for 10 years now, and it has grown into the largest on-water paddlesports show in the country. We decided it was time to put on an indoor show and reach out to other markets. Going into the event we were of course concerned about all the bad news about the economy, but all our hard work and marketing proved to pay off. We far exceeded both our attendance and sales goals. It looks like the outdoor recreation market may indeed be recession proof, if you're willing to work!"
Vendors were also very happy with the attendance and sales numbers. Bill Swift, president of Swift Canoe and Kayak, said: "We came in with very low expectations. But Mountainman did some great marketing, got the consumers here, and they were ready to buy. We sold over 4 times more boats than we anticipated!"
Danny Mongno of Werner Paddles agreed: "In a time when many retailers have a wait-and-see attitude about the 2009 season, I applaud Mountainman Outdoor Supply Company for taking such a risk to promote paddlesports. This event put a charge into paddlesports both regionally and nationally. It should give the industry confidence as we move forward that this sport will once again prove recession-proof and offers people an affordable alternative for family vacationing and enjoying the natural world."
"Mountainman Outdoors was a great early kick-off to the spring paddling season", said Mike MacDonald, Regional Sales Manager for Confluence Watersports. "I was inspired by the growing and varied interest in all types of paddling; and very pleased to have the opportunity to meet the new enthusiasts face to face. People—new comers and those looking to upgrade–are serious and deliberate in their purchasing decisions right now; and events like this give us the opportunity help them make an informed choice. John Nemjo's marketing hit on target, providing us with qualified Kayak buyers."
"The success of Mountainman Outdoors shows that the paddling industry will weather and may even flourish in this economy. The feedback we heard from consumers is that paddling appeals to them for recreation, vacation, health, relaxation, and even pure economy," said Shelly Moore, VP, Sales at Confluence Watersports. "Our sales at the event were strong and people were not resistant to price when we took the time to educate them on features, quality and the right fit. We think the show is an early indicator of strong interest in the sport and willingness to buy—we hope it's an indicator for the rest of the season and the rest of the country."
The Northeast Paddlesports and Outdoor Expo featured leading canoe and kayak manufacturers, paddling accessory, and outdoor gear and clothing lines, including: Confluence Watersports, Bell Canoe, Werner Paddles, Johnson Outdoors, Swift Canoe and Kayak, Legacy Paddlesports, Thule, Yakima, Aquabound, Stohlquist, MTI, Seattle Sports, Lowe Alpine, Cascade Designs, Outdoor Research, Keen, Marmot, Impex, Pyranha, Feelfree Kayaks, Astral, Fox Worx, Placid Boat Works and others.