McLEAN, VA (Winter, 2001-02) – Ski Merchandising Corp. (SMC) and Sports Specialists Ltd. (SSL) have signed a co-location agreement with SIA stating that the groups will stage their members-only premiere show, The Winter Sports Market, at the Las Vegas Convention Center in the two days prior to the new 2002 SIA SnowSports Show. This move on the part of the two leading retailer organizations in the industry will greatly streamline the buy/sell season, thus saving many retailers time and money.

In the past, the Winter Sports Market (WSM), organized by SSL and SMC, has served as the kick-off show for the buy-sell cycle, held in Denver toward the end of January. With the Winter Sports Market and the SIA show taking place back to back in 2002, buyers that are members of the groups will be able to make just one trip away from their shops for the kick-off of the buy/sell cycle.

“We’re well versed in being a premiere show,” said Tom Gately, SMC’s managing director. “But we’re supporting SIA in being the premier show because it makes sense.”

Steve Rogers, president of SSL, added, “We believe in the value of ‘See it, try it, buy it’ as a model for the buy/sell cycle. It is the most prudent way for our retailers to correctly buy for the next season. By moving our show, we feel that we can accomplish the primary objectives of our WSM, and show support for our industry.”

For many years, the buying groups have advocated a change in show dates as a strategy to streamline the buy/sell cycle. “We’ve been recommending for years to hold the national show at the beginning of the buy/sell cycle,” said Gately. “With our show in the two days before the start of SIA’s SnowSports Show, we can maintain our concept of delivering the buyers to the suppliers in a condensed manner while helping our retailers cut costs and streamline their buying process.”

Retailers involved in the buying groups are optimistic about the changes. “I think it’s exciting,” said Bill Quigley, co-owner of Dansizen and Quigley in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, and member of SMC. “It’ll be great for buyers to see the full lines in the best light at the beginning of the buy/sell cycle, rather than in a dingy hotel room. I also look forward to consolidating the cycle into a shorter period – you just go to one show, try it on snow, then write your orders and you’re done. It’s much simpler, and it’ll save time and money. To me, that’s huge.”

“I think that changing the dates of the SIA show and holding WSM in the same location is a positive move,” said Sonny Davis, owner of the Princeton Sports Shops in Baltimore and Columbia, Maryland, and member of SSL. “It saves me from having to go to an extra show. I’ve always thought that the buying season should be shorter, and this will help me get everything done by March 1st. That’ll save time, money and confusion about what trends will emerge throughout the buying cycle. This way, the trends will be established at the end of January.”

David Ingemie, president of SIA, commented, “This is an important step that will greatly benefit the industry. We are looking forward to working closely with SSL and SMC and their buyers to make the buy/sell cycle more economical and efficient.”