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Successful retailing secrets—part 1

What does it take to run a successful archery pro shop? Come along as we step into some shops that have stood the test of time.

Dave Worth of Cheyenne Mountain Outfitters in New Jersey has been involved in the outdoor industry since 1979—when he started working at Harry’s Army and Navy. A few years ago, Worth and partners Walter and Cindy Silcox started Cheyenne Mountain Outfitters—a shop that specializes in archery related gear and firearms. They purchased the firearm and archery portion of the business from the army surplus store. The 5,000-square-foot store has a gun department that makes up about 2,000 square feet of the building. The archery- and hunting-related gear takes up another 2,000 square feet. The remaining space is mainly storage and office space. “We have an area for trying out bows but we don’t have archery lanes; we hope to add that soon,” Worth explained.

The store may not be gigantic, but it is a busy store that employs 33 people. “Michael Conover is the store manager, Joe Bianchi is one of our main buyers and Pierre Berthelon is one of our knowledgeable archery guys who has been shooting archery tournaments for years. These are some of my main people. We have about ten full-time employees and the rest are part-time,” Conover explained.

AB: What are some specific keys to your success?

CM: Customer service and inventory separate us from others. We try to have everything people want. We are like a miniature Cabela’s. We have a great selection of products.

AB: What are some hard lessons you learned that have made you a better retailer?

CM: We are going into our fourth year and we haven’t had any bumps in the road. We opened when the economy was at its worst. Having a good selection of products, archery gear and guns is helping our business continue to grow in spite of the economy.

AB: How do you work at growing your customer base? What works best? What keeps customers?

CM: We work hard at using social media to grow the business. We also send out flyers every July to about 30,000 people. In addition, we have an outdoor event called “Bowhunters Bonanza” where we bring in an outdoor celebrity. We have had Chuck Adams, Michael Waddell, and others. We have tents outside and specials on all the archery products under the tent. This event attracts a lot of people.

AB: What new products are you excited about selling? Why?

CM: We recently started carrying the Mathews bow line. We are very excited about having Mathews bows because it is such a recognized brand in the industry.

AB: What have you learned about operating in today’s economy?

CM: The economy has been bad since we opened the shop, but it hasn’t really affected us. We are doing very well. We are always looking for ways to save money. We are a member of the Sports Inc. Buying Group that helps us buy the right products. Sports Inc. is a huge asset to us.

AB: Any tips for new dealers on achieving longevity?

CM: It is very important to keep a close eye on the amount of inventory you have. We make sure our inventory is regularly turning over. You can get into trouble in a hurry if you are sitting on a lot of inventory.

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