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ASR Has an Agenda

As one trade show regroups, another expands.

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LOS ANGELES — For the surf, skate and swim industry, Action Sports Retailer continues to increase revenues and attendance at its San Diego and Huntington Beach shows by about 5 percent, but group show director Kevin Flanagan said there’s still more that can be done to attract buyers and exhibitors.

Service costs for exhibitor booths and production have been discounted by 15 percent, and each company will get a free full- or half-page ad in ASR’s new show guide, The ASR Lineup, a 250-page magazine mailed to preregistered retailers.

“We believe adding value and reducing costs is a powerful one-two punch,” said Flanagan.

To give exhibitors more visibility, a fashion show sponsored by Ellegirl will showcase junior sportswear trends during the Jan. 14-16 show, while a separate swimwear show will continue at the Sept. 9-11 show.

To encourage retailer interaction, watch line Nixon will sponsor a store T-shirt design contest with Platt College and Skateboard magazine. Store employees will be asked to design and submit an original T-shirt, 20 of which will be on display at the January show. The winning artist will be awarded a $10,000 scholarship to attend Platt to pursue a degree in design.

On the downside, ASR has canceled its European summer show. “We had to, due to market forces. The summer holiday divides the needs of large and small companies, which we had hoped to unite with one show. But I’ve concluded that all needs can’t be met  with one show,” said Flanagan.

Aaron Levant, who cofounded the Agenda show in January 2003, believes that too, which is why he brings his indie-fashion collective to San Diego during the first two days of ASR. “We’re bringing fashion to an action audience,” he said.

Originally an art show in downtown warehouses during Los Angeles market week, Agenda now has twice-yearly shows in Japan, L.A. and San Diego. January’s San Diego show will double in size to 20,000 square feet in its new location at Fifth and K Streets in downtown. The venue is closer to ASR and can accommodate the 80-plus vendors, up from 43 last year.

Levant is working to bring big brands such as Adidas and Nike into the indie mix. He added that the ratio of indie to mainstream brands has gone from 80-20 to 50-50.

Levant, a former graphic designer at Green Apple Tree, has split with Agenda co-founder and Green Apple Tree owner Luis Pulido and taken on a financial manager. “The show grew into a full-time job and we couldn’t do both,” he said.

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