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Grassroots Outdoor Alliance adds new support tools for digital workbook adoption after successful ‘learning launch’ at June Connect show

Published August 21, 2019

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DENVER COLORADO (August 21, 2019) – After a successful “learning launch” for digital workbooks at the June Grassroots Connect show, Grassroots Outdoor Alliance -- the national organization dedicated to the health and growth of specialty outdoor retail -- is offering new services to support growing momentum for the changeover.

The new digital workbook services include the launch of educational ‘how-to’ videos on their website, and the expansion of learning sessions ahead of their fall Connect trade show (Denver, Colo; Nov. 1-4, 2019).

“After doing our part to support this industry initiative at Connect in June, we’re even more excited about the potential for positive change,” said Gabe Maier, vice-president of Grassroots Outdoor Alliance. “And while there’s really no debate as to the general worthiness of the big idea, we are fully aware that it’s going to take some time and effort by all of us to make this happen.”

For Grassroots Outdoor Alliance, ‘digital workbooks’ simply refers to retailers using a digital tablet (iPad) to take notes and follow a line showing -- instead of a traditional paper workbook. For retailers, the projected benefits of digital workbooks include increased efficiency of meetings; increased efficiency of file storage; increased accuracy of workbook information and pricing; savings on trade show baggage fees; and customization of vendor presentations. For vendors, an added bonus is the massive reduction to paper printing, shipping and storage costs, which can free up funds to invest in product innovation and retailer support.

Grassroots Outdoor Alliance’s organizational commitment to digital workbooks began last winter, inspired by a group of industry leading vendors that took bold internal steps to eliminate traditional paper workbooks. Grassroots Outdoor Alliance seized on the idea, openly advocating for group-wide adoption and launching a Technology Fund to offset the cost of member retailers acquiring needed digital tools such as iPads and Apple Pencils.

Ahead of the June 2019 Connect trade show, Grassroots Outdoor Alliance provided key services such as gathering and storing digital workbooks from exhibitors. Immediately after the show, Grassroots openly solicited feedback from attending retailers, vendors and sales reps.  Among the comments received, there was widespread support for the idea, ranging from exuberance to cautious optimism:

•  “100% backing the decision.”
• “I LOVE my IPAD! I will never do shows any other way again!”
• “I think digital was much easier than anticipated and our shop 100% backs the decision.”

Additional comment trends included requests for broader hardware support of digital workbook use, such as increasing the number of in-booth charging stations. But the most frequent phrase mentioned in the 2019 Connect post-show survey was regarding the personal “learning curve” of digital workbook adoption:

• “At first, everybody was a little apprehensive, but when we got to actually use it … it was great. I loved it. There’s going to be a bit of a learning curve, but I’m definitely willing to put that time in.”
• There was a little bit of a learning curve when it came to getting all the catalogs, but once we had it up and running it was easy to use.
• It was great! A bit of a learning curve and we are still figuring it out, but love it!
• Excellent. There's going to be a learning curve but as a rep I'm all in.

The next Grassroots Connect trade show will be held in Denver, Colorado (Nov. 1-4, 2019).  For more information on Grassroots Connect, please go to


ABOUT GRASSROOTS OUTDOOR ALLIANCE: Grassroots Outdoor Alliance is a national association working together for the health and growth of independent specialty outdoor retail. With 130 storefronts across 37 states, Grassroots Outdoor Alliance is creating both a vision and roadmap for the long-term success of independent specialty retailers, through data collection and analysis, direct member support, specialty events, and deep vendor partnerships. Grassroots Outdoor Alliance is also recognized as a catalyst for the success of its retailers and vendor partners; an advocate for specialty independent retail; a promoter of education and community within the specialty channel; and a key influencer of the national outdoor industry. For more information on Grassroots Outdoor Alliance, please go to
ABOUT GRASSROOTS CONNECT: Efficient, affordable and effective for every attendee, Grassroots Outdoor Alliance Connect is the only national show designed specifically to improve retail buying results. Scheduled as early as possible in the buying cycle, the growing Grassroots Connect show attracts nearly 1,000 independent specialty retailers, vendor brands, media, and members of the outdoor industry community to each show. Connect provides a highly efficient opportunity for retailers, reps and vendors to present, discuss, plan and collect pre-season orders. Cost-effective and simple, Connect is both an incubator and testing ground for the greater outdoor industry. Invited retailers receive a per attendee reimbursement to offset their travel costs. Future dates for Connect include Denver, Colorado (Nov. 1-4, 2019).  For more information on Grassroots Connect, please go to

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