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Outdoor Retailers Expo gets creative with this year's accommodations

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 Utah) - Thousands of people descend on Salt Lake City this week for the Outdoor Retailers Expo. The event has gotten so large, with some 27,000 people expected this year, attendees and exhibitioners are being forced to stay up to a half an hour away because there just isn't enough room in downtown Salt Lake City.
SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 Utah) - Thousands of people descend on Salt Lake City this week for the Outdoor Retailers Expo. The event has gotten so large, with some 27,000 people expected this year, attendees and exhibitioners are being forced to stay up to a half an hour away because there just isn't enough room in downtown Salt Lake City.

"It's a problem and a blessing,” explained OR’s Director Kenji Haroutunian.

The show has gotten so large they're running out of room both inside the convention center and in local hotels.

Haroutunian explained, "As the show has expanded the expansion of hotels and accommodations haven't kept up with the speed with which we have grown."

So this year they've had to get creative.

"They were short about 1,000 beds and they were asking if there was anything to do to help them,” said Perry Hacker Director of University of Utah’s Guest House Hotel.

The University of Utah turned over some 300 dorm room beds and 60 rooms in the University Guest House Hotel to help house the OR overflow.

Terry Lee has been going to the Outdoor Retailers Expo for the past six years.

"It's gotten a lot more difficult with the housing, but at least they're running shuttles for us here,” said Lee.

The Gear Co-op owner told ABC 4 Utah, this is the first time he's stayed so far away.

"We'll make due,” said Lee. “We'll probably have to stick around downtown and come back in the evening."

It’s a sacrifice most exhibitors, and even the show organizers, say they are willing to make in order to keep the show here in salt lake.

"I think the attendees love coming to Utah,” explained Lee. “We're all outdoor people and we don't want to have to go to Las Vegas or LA."

Haroutunian said, "We want to stay here. We want to look for every way we can to be here. We love Salt Lake City. I think the city's culture and outdoor lifestyle really resonates here."
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