In search of companies that may want to locate in Morgan County, Morgan County Councilmen Robert Kilmer and Austin Turner traveled to the Shooting, Hunting, and Outdoor Trade (SHOT) Show held Jan. 14 to 17 in Las Vegas.
“To say it was overwhelming is the understatement of the century,” Turner said.
The 1,600 booths filled 635,000 net square feet of convention space, or 13 acres of product display. More than 67,000 attendees scrambled to see industry professionals from not only the United States, but more than 100 other countries.
“We learned quite a bit and sent a shock wave through Browning,” Turner said.
Browning’s North American headquarters is in Mountain Green, where a full spectrum of activities take place including research and development, advertising, IT and other business functions. Browning has grown from its start in 1878 to be the industry leader in the full spectrum of outdoor products including sporting arms, technical hunting clothing, knives, gun safes, flashlights and many other outdoor-related product categories. A factory outlet store is located on Commercial Street in Morgan City.
Kilmer said Browning was happy to see Morgan County making an effort to improve economic development by courting exhibitors at the show.
Kilmer and Turner said the state of Utah was not represented like others including Wyoming, Idaho and North Dakota. The state of South Dakota had a booth where they were brokering location deals right on the spot.
“It gives us a good idea of what we need to do to be ready,” Kilmer said.
Kilmer said some California businesses are “tired of the crap” and looking for a new state to do business in. The councilmen also interacted with a Georgia company seeking to expand into the Western states because of the many sells in the area. Because the company was so busy selling products at the convention, they promised to call the Morgan County representatives back to explore possibilities.
The county council plans to continue sending representatives to the convention in the future. Kilmer suggested the county consider setting up a booth of their own at a future SHOT show.
“This is not a one-time shot,” Councilman Lyle Nelson said. “Take what you learn and make a plan for next year.”