Steamboat Springs The folks at Big Agnes, a maker of tents, sleeping bags and other outdoor gear, did not let a little thievery dampen their spirits Friday at the Outdoor Retailer Winter Market show in Salt Lake City.
Big Agnes was one of several Steamboat Springs-based businesses showing off their products at the outdoor industry trade show, which wraps up today and is often regarded as the largest in North America.
The four-day indoor portion of the show started Thursday. That night, a couple of hoodlums made their way to the Big Agnes booth and snatched $3,500 in gear.
The folks at Big Agnes said they consider the theft a compliment.
“It wound up someone had quite a shopping spree,” said Chris Tamucci, international sales manager for Big Agnes. “Our product was hot enough that they had to have some.”
Surveillance cameras taped the thieves as they hid their faces and walked onto an elevator with their new Big Agnes gear at the Salt Palace Convention Center.
Tamucci said they are considering using a still image from the surveillance footage in a future advertising campaign — if only they can think of a clever tagline.
“It’s so good, it’s getting stolen,” Tamucci said. “Something like that.”
Aside from the theft, Tamucci said this has been another fantastic show for Big Agnes, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary. Company owners and employees were at the show meeting with customers and taking orders. Big Agnes recently updated the design of its sleeping bags and is debuting a new line of Helinox trekking poles that will go on the market in June.
Tamucci said Big Agnes’ sister company Honey Stinger headed into the trade show with strong momentum. It was recently announced that Honey Stinger was the official energy bar, chew and waffle supplier to cycling’s Team RadioShack.
Other Steamboat Springs companies in attendance at the trade show included the Point6 sock company and SmartWool, which was debuting its fall 2011 line.
“The show is going tremendously well,” SmartWool President Mark Satkiewicz said Friday. “I think the highlight is we’re coming out of a strong 2010, and retailers are feeling the momentum.”
SmartWool started out as a sock company in 1994 but has grown to include a full line of base layers, sweaters and accessories such as gloves, hats and slippers.
The company was displaying well more than 5,000 individual pieces of products, company spokeswoman Molly Cuffe said.
SmartWool’s 50-by-50-foot booth was outfitted with 75 mannequins modeling the merino wool company’s apparel line and accessories.
“I think it’s the first year that we’re a primary player in the apparel arena,” Satkiewicz said.
Confidence was high at the show this year as retailers arrived with “an appetite to buy more products,” Satkiewicz added.
On Thursday night, the company hosted a party at a Salt Lake City restaurant that 300 people attended. A native Steamboat band, Missed the Boat, performed, and guests quenched their thirst with Colorado beer and ate Colorado venison, trout, lamb, elk and beef.
“We really tried to play on Colorado roots,” Cuffe said. “We’re proud of that.”
The trade show season continues this week, when SmartWool will pack up and head to the Snowsports Industries America Snow Show in Denver. After that, they are headed to Germany for ispo 2011, the largest outdoor industry trade show in Europe.