Neff is among many snowboard brands that now exhibit at Outdoor Retailer trade show.

The owners of Surf Expo, George Management LLC, has been purchased for $335 million by Emerald Expositions Inc. owners of Outdoor Retailer trade show. Interestingly, in the on-going evolution of trade shows, outdoor and surf have grown closer, especially a seen at the summer OR shows where several surf brands have been exhibiting and participating in the on-water demos.

When Action Sports Retailer trade show closed its doors in 2010, many brands in action sports moved onto other shows, mostly in the direction of Agenda, a leading trade show for streetwear and with strong skateboarding roots. Trade shows have been evolving rapidly over the past few years, with Agenda now being a leader in not only streetwear, but also action sports-inspired brands, and collaborating with other shows such as Liberty Fairs, Capsule, and others to offer an alternative to Magic Fashion Week and Project in Vegas twice a year.

Bread & Butter trade show in Berlin recently announced the addition of consumer days to its July, 2014, trade show as the European marketplace and fashion have shifted greatly towards consumer-driven influences.

Burton camo at OR.

For Surf Expo and GLM which runs 25 trade shows, the buyout by Emerald could give them a considerable boost as Emerald operates 65 trade shows including Interbike.

“We’re fortunate to have had the opportunity to partner with GLM to accelerate growth, launch new products and make acquisitions that increased the breadth of its shows,” said Michael Dominguez, a managing director at Providence, in a company statement. “We believe GLM has a bright future as part of Emerald Expositions.”

David Loechner, chief executive officer of Emerald, said, “GLM is a truly outstanding trade show company with an exciting portfolio and an experienced and talented workforce.  This acquisition expands upon our position as a leading trade show organizer in the United States. I am excited about the opportunities for customers and employees of both companies that will result from bringing these two high-quality portfolios together.”

The deal will be done by January, 2014, just in time for the winter Outdoor Retailer trade show in Salt Lake City, UT, from January 22-25.

What’s also interesting is that while OR says it has not necessarily been courting surf brands, there is a growing spirit of cross-over between outdoor and surf.

Chief Financial Officer Philip Evans from Emerald said, “Outdoor Retailer has not been building its surf business per se.  Instead, OR is appropriate for and welcoming to companies that develop product offerings that fit with the broad outdoor retailer market.  Many brands participate at OR—including ones from the surf industry—whose roots or origination may have begun separate from outdoor but who have developed product lines more consistent with the outdoors,” he said. “To the extent that these companies want to avail themselves of the outdoor retail marketplace and develop lines that can succeed in that space, we will welcome them at OR.  Ultimately, decisions to participate in any particular show come down to each individual company determining whether their product offerings are likely to succeed there and, of course, gauging that success or lack thereof based on their experiences.”

Stay tuned for live updates from Outdoor Retailer trade show from Label Networks in the upcoming weeks.