Kenny Kays, N.A.K. Outfitters Inc., Sullivan, Indiana
“We run specials during the holidays, and we give them lots of options for stocking stuffers,” Kays said. “You have to hang a few things in front of their faces to get them thinking. We also put together some fully rigged bow packages to hang up. That’s good in-store advertising.
“We hang a few Christmas stockings around the store. If they start buying things, we’ll throw in the stocking. Things like nocks, broadheads, Blazers, New Archery Product’s Quick Spins and other small items make good stocking stuffers. I might also include two types of broadheads for them. Most people don’t buy more than six broadheads at once, so we give them a couple different ones to try.
“For the most part, customers build their own stocking, especially if they know what they want for the person they’re buying for. We have a lot of women and teenagers coming in, so we make sure they buy stuff their husbands, dads or boyfriends will like.
“Another thing we’re doing for Christmas sales is an idea my wife and daughter came up with: our own “Bikinis & Bows” shop calendar. My daughter brought some friends down from Wisconsin, and we shot the photos over a weekend. We’ll see how it sells, and then maybe try some other types of calendars next year.”
Lonnie Miller, Millrich Outdoors, Arthur, Illinois
“Our store is located about two blocks from an overhead door factory with 400 employees. We draw a lot of people from there, and we have a big sign out by the main highway so people know we’re here.
“We’ve been happy with the word-of-mouth advertising and community support. It seemed the word was spreading on its own, and then the Rotary Club came over and interviewed us. That ended up on the front page of the newspaper. The ‘Tri-County Journal’ goes into every household in a wide area, so we got a lot of free advertising that drew in a lot of customers.
“We’ve been doing well on bows, new and used. We’re actually having a hard time keeping used bows in stock. We sell a lot of them after guys trade them in when buying a new bow. We also marked down our 2010 bows about 10 to 15 percent, and those went fast. So far, it’s worked out well for us.”
Eric Cook, Cook’s Sportland Inc., Venice, Florida
“We always do some advertising during the holidays, but working with kids year-round is what generates the best Christmas sales,” Cook said. “Archery is our main department, and we run a JOAD program on our indoor range. We also do lots of outside promotional work. We work with a local club offering free lessons for youths and adults. One of our employees runs it. We find free lessons are more successful when we run them outside the shop. Maybe customers are afraid they’ll get a hard-sell if they take lessons here.
“We also work with 4-H, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and other organizations. You reach bigger numbers that way, and the kids tend to stay involved longer if they’re shooting with other kids. All those things add up. It’s probably why archery has been doing very well for us again this year. Our bow sales are phenomenal. We expect that to continue through Christmas. A new bow is a popular gift for kids.
“You have to keep those things going through fall. We have hopes of getting 45 kids in here on Friday evenings for JOAD. We run it for six weeks starting in early September and then again from early November to mid-December. We’ve had to expand our archery programs because word spreads at school.
“Florida hasn’t been that big in NASP so far, but our store has been active in youth archery for 12 years. It’s amazing, because you see the groups, parents and kids working together around here, and that grows archery. Not all the kids come here to shoot, but their parents drive them here for equipment.
“And it’s true what they say: When parents see kids having fun with archery, they come back and buy a bow for themselves. That’s why we try to stay aggressive in archery. It’s a great sport for customers of all ages.”
John E. Stone, The Archery Hut, Lebanon, Oregon
“We’ll probably do close-out sales on some bows and mark our accessories down about 10 percent,” Stone said. “End-of-the-year close-outs don’t usually work that well on their own, so we’ll be advertising in the newspaper and on a local radio station. A lot of people around here listen to the radio, because cable isn’t affordable. They can pick up KRKT radio just about everywhere, so it pays to advertise on it.
“Newspaper ads work, too, if they put your ad in the sports section. It’s hard to say how many people read the newspaper, but our ads keep bringing people in, so it must be getting our name out there.
“For in-store displays, we set up 30 feet of wall space with stocking stuffers like broadheads, lighted nocks, stabilizers and just about any other little stuff that fits in the bag we give them. We give them 15 percent off everything we hang there. That’s always popular with customers.
“We also do layaways, and we’re real flexible in working out payment plans. We try to set it up so they pay it off in 90 days, but if they get to 90 days and can’t quite make it, we’ll extend it for them. We customize the payments for each customer; whatever they can afford.”