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Denver’s big breakup 💔


Let’s talk about Outdoor Retailer and why we don’t need it anyways…

Last week, the Outdoor Retailer trade show announced its decision to leave Colorado and return to its former longtime partner, Salt Lake City, leaving Denver feeling like a jilted ex-lover.

Outdoor Retailer is the biggest trade show in the outdoor recreation industry, and mountain-loving, adventure-seeking Denver has been happily hosting it (and its purported $45 million in annual economic impact) for the last five years. The event came to us in 2017 after calling it quits with Utah in response to then-governor Gary Herbert’s support for overturning the national monument status of Bears Ears.

But with its Denver contract poised to expire this summer, OR began looking for a new beau, considering other places to take its vendor booths and workshops, including Anaheim, Las Vegas, Orlando, and — to the horror of many industry enthusiasts — Salt Lake City.

Despite Denver’s confidence that OR would never forgive Utah; despite Utahn opposition to President Biden’s restoration of Bears Ears; and despite big-name brands like REI, Patagonia, and The North Face promising to boycott if the show went back to the Beehive State; Outdoor Retailer has indeed returned to the familiar embrace of Salt Lake City. In a statement announcing the reunion last week, OR wrote:

“We’re heading back to Salt Lake City and County to the place we grew up and where our industry matured into the dynamic and powerful community it is today… We have a strong relationship with Salt Lake City and a committed partner in Mayor Erin Mendenhall, whose values align with ours following tremendous investments in clean energy and a strong commitment to public lands.”

Outdoor Retailer 2021 in Denver. (RJ Sangosti / MediaNews Group / The Denver Post / Getty Image)

Denver officials say they were surprised and disappointed to hear the news. “We put together a competitive and fair offer, and we all thought we were in a pretty good spot,” said Conor Hall, director of Colorado’s Office of Outdoor Recreation Industry. “Visit Denver did all they possibly could, moving shows around to accommodate them, which is especially tough for the summer months. It was Herculean.”

But the Mile High will heal from this heartbreak, and maybe even learn to love another. In fact, Hall and his team are already thinking of new ways to fill the trade show-shaped hole left by OR. Think: something more consumer-friendly in the style of South By Southwest, a massive media, film, and music festival in Austin, Texas, but for outdoor types.

For their part, Patagonia and REI have kept true to their threats, issuing statements that they will not attend OR while it’s in Utah, as have two dozen other industry brands part of The Conservation Alliance. In a statement, the co-op said:

“Our position remains firm — we stand with the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition and in support of our public lands. We will not support or attend a trade show event in Utah so long as its elected officials continue attacks on national monuments and public lands protections, doing so would undermine our organizational mission and values.”

So in the wise words of the great Ariana Grande, all I have to say to OR is “thank u, next.” 


“I have tried to work my way up the chain, I have done all the things they told us to do. And it lands on deaf ears… So I need to make my voice louder.” — Starbuck barista Hannah Mehlman

‘I Walk In Everyday Expecting to Be Fired’: Inside the Starbucks Union Effort
The push to unionize Starbucks workers started in Buffalo, with one small group of baristas stepping forward to call for better working conditions at their cafe. Then slowly, one by one, workers at more than 120 Starbucks locations across the country petitioned for union elections at their shops, including here in Denver, where three separate Starbucks are now in the middle of organizing campaigns. Host Bree Davies sits down with two baristas — Jack Janzen and Hannah Melman — to hear why they’re trying to unionize their Starbucks at Leetsdale and Holly, and how the coffee giant is pushing back. 


WE’RE HIRING! We are looking for an audio producer who loves Denver as much as we do! We’re looking for someone who wants to help us continue to tell beautiful, complicated, compelling stories about the people and things that make this city what it is. Think you or someone you know fits the bill? Take a peek at the official job posting here 👀


⛺ Aurora outlaws homeless encampments: Camping on public property without permission will officially be illegal in the city of Aurora starting April 28. The measure passed through city council Monday night after Mayor Mike Coffman broke the 5-5 tie and voted to approve the ordinance. [Denver Post

  • 🔎 It’s been controversial: Critics of the ordinance point to Denver as proof of how ineffective camping bans are and argue that they don’t address the root of the problem — the housing crisis.

⏰ Colorado prepares to #LockTheClock: After clearing a committee hearing earlier this week, a long debated proposal to make daylight saving time permanent in Colorado (meaning later sunsets all year round) is headed to the state House for consideration. However, even if passed by state lawmakers, the change would only go into effect if a federal DST law currently being considered is also passed or if four other Mountain Time-based states pass their own bills. [CO Politics

  • 🤔 The naysayers: One local sleep expert thinks switching to permanent DST would be too detrimental to our bodies’ natural circadian rhythm. CU sleep science professor Kenneth Wright recently explained it to the CO Sun, saying:

    “No question, we need to stop the change, going back and forth… [But] there is expert consensus here that, if we have to choose one of these, permanent standard time is the healthier choice.”

🐦 East Coast birds bring bird flu back: Last week, Colorado Parks and Wildlife confirmed a case of the highly contagious avian influenza among some wild geese near our Nebraska border. Experts think the outbreak likely came from birds who migrated here from the East Coast where the virus is currently running rampant. If it spreads to our chickens, poultry prices could soar. [Axios Denver

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