If you’re looking for a one-stop shop for all of your outdoor needs, The Times, Forsyth County News and Dawson County News have you covered with their inaugural Outdoor Expo.
The expo, which will be held 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 24, at 6140 Events in Cumming, is free to attend.
“An Outdoor Expo seemed like a natural (fit) for the three counties in our market area — Hall, Forsyth and Dawson,” said Norman Baggs, general manager at all three news organizations, which are owned by Metro Market Media. “With all three counties bordering on Lake Lanier and a high level of interest in outdoor activities such as fishing, hunting, camping and hiking, there seemed a need for some sort of outdoor-oriented event to bring consumers and businesses together.”
The show will feature businesses like Gun Commanders, Lanier Carts & Outdoors, Oakwood Bait & Tackle, Outside World Outfitters, Camp Oaks RV and Outdoor and Bullseye Marksman.
“Whether it's a casual two-hour hike at an area park or a weeklong hunting trip in the North Georgia mountains, there are large numbers of people in our area who like to take advantage of leisure time in the outdoors,” Baggs said. “We hope to do more to bring attention to those people and to help them enjoy themselves more, no matter what their interests.”
Dillan Greeson, owner of Oakwood Bait & Tackle, said this will be his first expo. The local aspect is what intrigued him and convinced him to join.
“It sheds light on your local shops, getting away from some of those big-box places,” said Greeson, who has owned the fishing shop for four years. “That's the biggest thing for me. … Everybody wants to shop local, but not everybody knows where we're at or what's going on.”
His shop sells fishing equipment, especially items for use on Lake Lanier — striper and bass equipment.
Through the Outdoor Expo, Greeson said he hopes to “get our name out there” and gain more customers.
“I'm shocked all the time at the locals that come in and it's their first time,” Greeson said. “They never knew we were here. So we're just really excited about that and making some new connections.”
The locals are where he makes most of his money and who he likes to connect with most. While he said it’s nice to have people stop by the shop every now and then, he’s focused on serving those who live in the area and will become loyal customers.
“That's what I want the most is the guy that's going to come in all the time,” Greeson said. “So a local (expo) like this is more appealing to me than doing something else.”
Mike Quisenberry, owner of Lanier Carts and Outdoor, which is a sponsor for the expo, is hoping for the same thing. The fact that the expo is in Cumming will allow the Oakwood-based business to “spread our wings.”
Lanier Carts and Outdoor sells golf carts, utility vehicles, marine stereo equipment and paddle boards, but the primary focus is on the sale, service and rental of golf carts and utility vehicles.
Quisenberry goes to a few expos and trade shows throughout the year and is looking forward to another in the Outdoor Expo.
“It makes it easy for the customers, it makes it easy for me,” Quisenberry said. “There’s no way I’d have that much traffic through my store or eyes on our product in a single day.”
Even though he’s done other expos in Atlanta, having one a little closer to his shop is important.
“(We can) familiarize people with what we do, the products we sell and the services we provide and get in front of people who might not drive by us on a normal basis,” Quisenberry said.
If all goes as planned, Baggs said the Outdoor Expo could become a mainstay event in the community.
“Our hope is that it will become an annual event and grow each year,” Baggs said. “With the vendors we have participating, we are confident those who attend will have a good time and find some good deals.”