Fresh from a visit to the OutDoor Show at Friedrichshafen, Germany (UKC Article), Kevin Avery, Gear Editor and Jack Geldard, Chief Editor, along with Mick Ryan, spent a day at Kendal Leisure Center visiting several outdoor companies and distributors.
KORS offers a more intimate setting than the massive OutDoor Show at Friedrichshafen and of course is less travel for the UK's outdoor shop owners. Numbers of exhibitors and visitors has increased over the years and last week was the most popular KORS yet.
Well over 70 brands were represented at the show and exhibitors included: Allcord/Rosker, Anatom, Big Stone, Bramwell International, Brasher,Cicerone, DB Outdoor Systems, DMM, Equip, First Ascent, Hi-tec, Lyon Equipment, Mountain Boot Co, Nikwax, Terra Nova, TKC, Vaude and Zamberlan.
A well-attended party took place on the Wednesday evening at Kendal's Brewery Arts Centre (yes, the KORS team managed to organise a ****-up in a brewery!) where the dates for next year's show were announced – 10 to 12 August 2010.
“We had visitors queuing on the stand from the first morning” said Neil McAdie from Equip, while Simon Marsh from DMM reported solid business with key accounts who had stayed away from OutDoor. The addition of a tent show also pulled in the visitors, and worked well for exhibitors.
The main purpose of these shows is to enable outdoor shop owners and buyers to view gear and make orders from the manufacturers and distributors of outdoor gear. From UKClimbing.com's perspective KORS is useful in that we can have extended meetings with the people who know the most about gear.
At OutDoor we were impressed with the new Edelrid range of products (download new catalogue). At KORS we got even more information (and some shoes to test) from Paul Craven of DB Outdoor, the agents for Edelrid in the UK. Similarly at the Allcord stand where Ian Smith took us through some new products from C.A.M.P.
Also very useful was a meeting with Mark Busby who works for Big Stone, he is an Arc'teryx expert, and took us through the features of what makes Arc'teryx jackets special, and why they have a high price: Mark's explanation is full of zip garages, waterproof zips, stitch counts, quality of fabric, laser cutting, laminated seams and attention to detail: and is well worth hearing if you want to learn about alpine hard shells, their form and function.
Black Diamond have just come on board as an advertiser at UKClimbing.com and it was great to talk to the alpinist Chris Watts of First Ascent, sales agents for BD in the UK and we had an interesting conversation about the growth of climbing in the UK, indeed has it actually grown that much? Do climbers these days dedicate themselves to one discipline whereas in the past they did a bit of everything?
Clive Allen of Ascent Marketing is one of the organisers of KORS:
“Visitors recognise that KORS is a show that concentrates on core specialist product”, says Allen. “It's also a lot more relaxed than the European shows meaning that retailers can spend quality time with exhibitors, allowing considered decisions to be made. Plus the timing's good for orders. It's a formula that seems to work well, and fits with the way that retailers want to make their buying decisions.”
For us at UKC it is a great chance see new products and chat to the people behind outdoor gear in the UK.