By Karen Morfitt

DENVER (CBS4) – The outdoor retailer expo kicked off in Denver on Wednesday, bringing with it hundreds of companies and leaders in the industry. While the trade show largely focuses on new products and innovation, there is a bigger discussion happening among the industry.

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“In the back of their mind they are thinking about what are they going to do when these tariffs hit them, and how can they continue to focus on innovation and product growth and job growth when they are potentially going to be hit by an additional 25 percent tax,” Patricia Roja Ungar says.

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Roja Ungar is the Vice President of Government Affairs for the Outdoor Industry association, a sponsor of the event and leader on major issues facing retailers. The organization organized a discussion centered around increased tariffs on China.

“When we first heard we were really shocked and we were shocked because our brand was growing fast,” Kay Martin, CEO of BOCO Gear said.

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Martin launched her business out of Boulder because of Colorado’s vibrant outdoor lifestyle.

“When you come to Colorado it’s really hard to leave. It’s a playground,” she said.

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Martin was on the panel of experts who spoke out about the impact a 10 percent — and now 25 percent increase — to tariffs have had on her business.

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“For us, we didn’t have a choice. We have to raise our prices. That’s not something we wanted to do.”

While the purpose of the panel was to share information about how retailers can respond to the tariffs, it was also an opportunity to talk about how to keep things from getting worse.

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“It’s really hard on us, the consumer and our poor little brand, right. A growing brand, a brand that is giving back to Colorado. … It was just really disappointing for us,” Martin said.

Karen Morfitt


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