It’s all too easy to feel alone in the world when you’re a small business owner. The entire concept of owning a business goes hand in hand individualism, but the archery industry has some unique options that aren’t available to the vast majority of other small businesses. There are a lot of organizations that are solely dedicated to increasing archery participation and laying foundations for future growth. Here are some of the allies that are already out there, and the ways they can help an archery pro-shop thrive.
When considering organizations that help archery dealers, buying groups cannot be overlooked. They offer a lot of perks that many dealers find indispensable:
• Better prices: Buying groups reduce retailers’ overhead costs by combining the purchasing power of shops nationwide. Retailers get the same products they would buy on their own, but at much lower prices. Some buying groups also use their muscle to pay quarterly, annual or performance-based dividends to members.
• Improved payment options: Rather than paying multiple manufacturers for various products, buying groups combine a retailer’s bill for products into one payment. Manufacturers like this because they process only one invoice rather than hundreds of smaller invoices. Advances in Internet communications and other digital technology further streamline billing and receivables, eliminating paper and enhancing convenience for all parties involved.
• Marketing opportunities: Manufacturers get more bang for their buck by incentivizing entire buying groups to stock and sell certain products. Normally, they seldom contact individual businesses with special product/deal/marketing campaigns, but it’s convenient to ask buying groups to share something with their members. This gives retailers the chance to offer unique products or point-of-purchase items they normally wouldn’t stock. Some manufacturers go even further by providing buying-group members advertising programs from their professional marketing teams. Buying groups extend that expertise to their members, benefiting both parties by increasing exposure and sales.
• Access to the latest technology: Small businesses seldom have the time, money or knowhow to stay current with cutting-edge technology. Buying groups provide members with access to diverse digital advancements. Therefore, retailers can easily and conveniently oversee product shipments, inventory quantities and claims processing electronically. This means less hassle and fewer errors.
• Business advice: Small-business owners usually aren’t surrounded by friends and family who own small businesses themselves, let alone one in the same industry. This means when times are tough and difficult decisions must be made they struggle to find solid, informed answers. Another buying-group perk is simply picking up the phone and discussing important choices with an industry expert who’s invested in the small business’s success. Buying groups must also know which items are hot – or will be hot – each year. Such information is vital to negotiating the group’s best contracts with manufacturers. Therefore, as shop owners plan their inventory needs, they have easy access to well-informed industry experts.
• Networking: A buying group’s greatest strength is its combined buying power, but people easily overlook its combined brain power. Buying groups build bonds between independent retailers, making life in a niche market more inclusive and less isolated. Buying groups often host special events for members, including their own buying shows. Besides being a great place to share hunting stories and make new friends, these gatherings are excellent forums for exchanging ideas and sharing ways to fix common issues. This can also help those who are considering selling their business. What better place to find potential buyers than a gathering of like-minded small-business owners? In fact, the buying group might help a member find a suitable buyer. After all, the group wants every member to succeed.
• Extra time: All these perks offer another hidden bonus to retailers: spare time. Because the buying group is handling things like marketing, negotiating contracts, monitoring technology, and scouting the season’s hottest products, the small-business owner has more time to interact with customers and employees. In fact, a buying group’s most valuable asset could be reducing stress for its members and allowing them to focus more on customer service.
NABA, a nonprofit organization, formed in 1995 with help from former PSE sales representatives Jerry Morrison and Scott Eastman in the aftermath of the Central Oregon Buying Group’s demise. That group’s treasury had a $225 balance at the time, which fueled NABA’s launch. The original board of directors included Norm and Tom Geertsen from Broken Arrow Archery of Milwaukie, Oregon; John Schauble, All seasons Archery in Boise, Idaho; John Nelson, Little Johns Archery in Roseville, California; and Wayne Piersol, Archery Only in Newark, California.
In 2003 they attended the ATA Trade Show, establishing a relationship that has attracted more dealers for NABA and expanded its membership base in Eastern states. NABA has grown about 10 percent each year, and currently has about 375 retailers on its rolls. NABA also hosts its own annual buying show in Reno, Nevada, where members network and address their inventory needs.
Learn more about NABA here.
ARRO has roots extending to 1968, but was incorporated by Gordon Bentley of Oregon, Wisconsin, in 1981. It was once known as the Archery Lane Operators Association. ARRO is independently owned and operated, with Bentley’s daughter Lynn Stiklestad serving as its executive secretary and administrative director. It emphasizes bowhunting and competitive shooting in its membership, and supports ranges, leagues and 3-D shooting. With its community of experts, ARRO provides members with great product discounts, and valuable resources and networking. ARRO prides itself on being a member/stockholder cooperative buying group, meaning its members are stockholders who receive annual dividends.
Learn more about ARRO here.
S3DA and NASP
While buying groups interact directly with the business side of a pro-shop, there are a lot of organizations that provide assistance through different avenues. Younger generations must get involved with archery for the industry to have a solid future, and these are some of the organizations ensuring that happens.
The Scholastic Archery Association, DBA Scholastic 3-D Archery, was created to foster, educate and guide youth interested in 3-D and target archery.
They consider themselves responsible for:
- Sanctioning and conducting national, local/state, and regional 3-D and target archery competitions and championships.
- Selecting, supporting, and managing teams and staff for 3-D and target archery competitions.
- Creating and maintaining the resources and infrastructure with local sportsman’s clubs that are necessary to support the growth of youth and high school 3D and target archery in the United States of America.
- Promoting the growth and development of instructional and competitive archery programs in the educational institutions in the United States of America.
- Establishing and enforcing rules, regulations, and procedures concerning eligibility to compete in order to ensure fair competition.
Recently they’ve really been picking up steam. Big-name sponsors like Bear Archery, Papes, Trophy Ridge and Extreme Archery Products have allowed them to appoint coordinators for each state. These state coordinators oversee all aspects of the S3DA program in their respective state, including organizing tournaments, dividing the state into regions that will allow S3DA participants multiple monthly competition venues as close as possible to their home location, and recruiting and hiring regional coordinators to oversee and manage these individual regions.
Learn more about S3DA here.
While S3DA has been providing young adults and competitive archers with quality tournaments, NASP has been instilling a passion for archery early on.
They focus on three main things:
- Archery Curriculum: Units of study that focus on education, conservation, and target archery written by experts to meet state and national educational standards. This enables NASP to speak the language of educators who are intent on teaching core content throughout the school day. These units were designed for inclusion in a school’s physical education curriculum but in a few NASP schools these archery lessons are presented by history, language, art, and even Spanish teachers.
- Teacher Training: Instructor Training was developed so teachers in every participating school could be certified to present NASP lessons that are safe for students, instructors, bystanders and the facility. To date more than 50,000 people have been certified by NASP. During the training, teachers learn how to set up and operate a safe archery range in their gymnasium.
- Universal Fit Archery Equipment: NASP uses highly standardized gear that’s safe, durable, economical, and most importantly, a universal fit for almost every student. In NASP, learning the process of shooting is stressed far more than arrow scores. The only bow used in NASP is a Genesis compound, which has no let-off and is adjustable from 10-20 pounds in draw weight at any draw length. Only full-length aluminum arrows are used in NASP to fit every student and to preserve NASP’s perfect safety record.
These companies sow the seeds for the future of archery. Keep an eye on them to watch their continuing development. A local tournament or event could be a great way to get interested younger archers in your pro-shop.
Learn more about NASP here.
The ATA is probably the first thing that comes to mind when one considers organizations growing archery. The Archery Trade Association works year-round for the industry, and its role is only growing. Programs like their Retail Growth Initiative and Explore Bowhunting form a two-pronged strategy for making dealers more successful.
The Retail Growth Initiative helps dealers on the storefront side of things, showing them ways to make their business more appealing and profitable. This program focuses on increasing foot traffic to stores, increasing traffic to websites, increased shooting range profits, and increasing equipment sales. This program is 100 percent free to ATA members and truly worth checking out.
Explore Bowhunting works on the other side, increasing interest in bowhunting to ultimately drive more customers to archery shops. Explore Bowhunting is an educational program designed to help instructors, program leaders and educators teach students ages 11-17 the basic skills of bowhunting. The Archery Trade Association has created this program to spark an interest and passion for bowhunting in today’s youth. Through these hands-on experiences students gain confidence interacting with the natural environment and strengthen their appreciation for wildlife and the woods. Explore Bowhunting is offered nationwide through state wildlife agencies. Educators can receive the complete Explore Bowhunting curriculum packet by attending a development workshop. Contact your state wildlife agency to locate and register for an Explore Bowhunting workshop near you.
Meanwhile, the ATA also acts as a strong-arm for the archery industry for legislative and legal issues.
Check out all the ATA’s amazing resources here.
USA Archery and World Archery
Although USA Archery and World Archery are currently up to their neck with Olympic archery coverage and promotion, they work year round to place archery in front of the eyes of the public. They work hard to promote archery, support athletes, and provide valuable resources for the industry as a whole.
An excellent recent example just occurred.
USA Archery partnered with First Lady Michelle Obama and her “Let’s Move!” initiative. The program’s goal is to get more kids healthy and active by capitalizing on the Olympic and Paralympic spirit this summer. USA Archery and many national governing bodies affiliated with the U.S. Olympic Committee made this commitment to the Partnership for a Healthier America to provide beginner athletic programming to kids in their communities during the year ahead. As part of the commitment, USA Archery will facilitate grants for archery kits, programming and instructor certification to help grow archery. Its goal is to introduce 50,000 children to the sport through the Explore Archery and Junior Olympic Archery Development program during the next 12 months.
This is another excellent organization that’s solely devoted to celebrating archery and the people who love it.
US Archery also sponsors JOAD (Junior Olympic Archery Development), a nationwide program that provides youth age 8 to 20 with ongoing archery classes to help them progress from beginner to advanced level archery, at their own pace. This is another great organization getting kids involved. Learn more at USA Archery’s website.
Created by Jim Easton, CEO of Jas. D. Easton, Inc., the Foundations support the building and/or operation of outdoor and indoor archery facilities at city parks, schools, universities and sports complexes throughout the U.S. In addition to these facilities, the Foundations provide programs to train aspiring archers, trainers, coaches and administrators.
The first Easton Sports Development Foundation was created in 1984 with the mission to introduce this lifetime activity and historic Olympic-style sport of archery to more people in Southern California. The success of that effort led to the formation in 2006 of a second Easton foundation, Easton Sports Development Foundation II.
The Easton Foundations sponsor a variety of programs to increase the awareness of archery. Among the programs initiated by ESDF are Olympic Archery in Schools (OAS), which helps schools to form archery teams to compete in a unique league. The Foundation also sponsored the 2009 Archery Youth World Cup and the 2010-2012 Archery World Cups in Ogden, UT and runs various youth archery programs from its Archery Centers in Newberry, FL; Salt Lake City, Utah and Van Nuys, CA.
Easton Sports Development Foundation II (ESDFII) also awards several grants every year to clubs, programs, schools, colleges and universities, and organizations that propose archery-related plans or projects. Check out the Easton Sports Development Foundation website to learn more.