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Successful retailing secrets—part 2

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.

Green Top Sporting Goods in Glen Allen, VA, is a diversified sporting goods store that carries a variety of sporting goods including guns, archery equipment, and fishing gear. The retail floor space is made up of 13,000 square feet and the store has about 13,000 additional square feet of warehouse and office space. The store currently offers a “test-fire” range for archery enthusiasts.

Glen Harper is the archery buyer who keeps a pulse on what is going on in the archery department and much of the store. “We currently have about 70 employees; 50 of those are full-time,” Harper explained. “We have a healthy business here. Some of the key employees include Myke Lynch, general manager, and Bill Prout, president. We work well together.”

Green Top was originally a gas station that originated way back in the late 1940’s. The store moved during recent decades and has been added on to. “We started by carrying a little fishing stuff and it gradually grew from there,” Harper said.

AB: What are some specific keys to your success?

GT: We have over 500 years of sales experience here at the store. People who get a job here don’t leave. Some of the employees have been here for over 40 years. As a result, the staff is very knowledgeable and great with the customers. We make sure that we have plenty of staff on the showroom floor so customers are waited on quickly. We are within a couple miles of several box stores and they haven’t hurt us because we offer great pricing and customer service.

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

GT: We do direct marketing to our customers. At the point of sale, we try to get the customers’ contact information. After we obtain that, we add customers to a direct mailing that we send out. We send out 45,000 direct mailers five to six times a year. We send out e-mails weekly to 50,000 e-mail addresses. Through fliers and e-mails, we offer deals to motivate people to come into the store. We regularly try to update our lists to include regular customers and new ones so we can continue growing our business.

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

GT: We are very excited about crossbows right now. There is much interest in this segment of the market. We are [especially] excited about the new Carbon Express SLS because it offers a lot of great features for the price.

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

GT: We are always looking for ways to provide customers with a great value. We accomplished this by joining a buying group, Sports Inc. We are constantly looking for ways to cut down our costs. Sending out e-mails and cutting back on some of the mailers also helps us do this.

AB: Any tips for new dealers on achieving longevity?

GT: The key to success is by taking care of your customers. We always try to go out of our way to treat the customer right.

AB: What are some of your archery industry pet peeves? Why?

GT: I don’t think everyone in the industry does a good job of getting new people involved in archery. We all need to do a better job at this.

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