"Can people feel part of an event if they're 20 miles away? There is a price to limiting growth," said Haroutunian, who points out that Utah's show grew even during the recession years of 2008 and 2009 as vendors chose to move to Utah rather than attend other nearby shows. "The price could harm the industry and could harm the trade show."
He said 200 to 300 new companies seek to attend the show to find a home for products with buyers or retailers. It has made the show one of the most innovative and progressive.
Anyone can read the information on the website, but only registered participants can enter into the discussion. The hope is to get the best, most diverse ideas and then craft some options that parties can choose from in a survey.
"We wanted to form a baseline first," said Haroutunian. "And then we'll ask very pointed questions."
The Salt Lake summer retailer show, held in August each year, is listed as one of the country's 30 largest trade shows, while the winter show is in the top 40.
"So we're dealing with a sizable show," Haroutunian said.
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