Archery Business: Any tips for new dealers on achieving longevity?
Tim Cherok, Ultimate Outdoors, Plum Boro, Pennsylvania:
“Be unlike anyone else. Feel confident that what you have to offer is making a difference when it comes to customer service. I truly believe that customers gravitate to us because they realize that when they walk into our door their equipment will be serviced in a superior manner as compared to any other business in the area. For instance, just recently a customer who purchased a bow from us over five years ago had moved to Maryland. He called us in early February wanting to order a bow from us and drive up on a specific weekend in March to have it set up for him. It’s customers like him, which give us constant reminders that we have to be doing something right in order for someone to feel that confident with the service we are offering.”
Jason Kindzia, Ultimate Outdoors, Plum Boro, Pennsylvania:
“The keys to longevity are the same things that make a shop successful.
Professional, thorough service combined with deep knowledge of product will keep the customers coming.
“Another tip would be not to compete with the chain/box stores. For the most part, an archery pro shop should be offering a different level of product compared to the chain stores. Of course some of the product will be the same, but with proper purchasing techniques, you should be able to be competitive on those products.
“There is another form of longevity that must be considered, and that is physical and mental. In the formative years, our store hours were extremely long for the two of us. We knew we had to be open as much as possible in the beginning to build the customer base. Once our reputation and base grew, we cut back on the hours, which provided some physical and mental relief. If you’re not happy and healthy then you will not be able to provide the necessary level of service. The important thing is to be open for a consistent manageable number of hours.”
Jon & Jennifer Walterscheit, Little Jon’s Archery, Marshall, Wisconsin:
“The numbers have to work. We have watched so many new pro shops come and go, and most of the time I think it is because the new shop’s overhead is over their head. Too many employees, rent being too high, getting in over your head in inventory are all deal-breakers in this business.”