The thrill of competition fuels passion and sportsmanship around the globe. Children and adults alike enjoy games, and even lose themselves when a truly enjoyable competitive clash comes around. An archery range is an excellent stage for a variety of competitions. Let’s take a moment to think about some of the opportunities a good archery range provides.
Leagues are a staple to any pro shop’s healthy competitive scene, but it can be quite laborious to coordinate, set up and monitor a collection of leagues. It also generally requires working late, or paying someone else to work late. Often times, this is a necessary task, simply part of doing the job right. Of course, there’s always the option of letting someone else rent your space to run leagues. Brian Langston, owner of West Houston Archery and the subject of our recent Inside Retailing column, does this very thing.
“It’s hard to staff late nights,” Langston said. “Every one of our employees travels 45 minutes to get here, so if we’re closing the shop late at night, our guys would have to drive a long way to get home after a long day… even JOAD doesn’t involve my staff. We have the range upstairs and I lease it to an instructor who used to have his own building and store. He basically moved his JOAD program here. He gets a good turnout. I’d guess 100 people a week go through there, and it brings some sales for us.”
While this is one option for a more laid-back way to host competitive archers, another is simply hosting more casual shoots. Have a small buy-in to compete, a simple prize for first-place, and advertise by word of mouth and digital media. This can be a low cost way to draw more people in, and it can really take off once you get the ball rolling.
Archery tag is getting more popular for a reason. It’s simple, fun and intense. The sport requires space, which any standard archery range provides, and a small investment in gear, which can be easily recouped with effective management and marketing. Archery Tag can be played by children, teenagers and adults, and it’s perfect for group gatherings like birthday parties and cooperate outings. Archery Tag is also the product of an organized company. They work diligently to spread the word about their sport, as well as provide rules, equipment and certification for the pro shops that take it up.
Check out their website to learn everything you need to know: http://archerytag.com/ and check out this video if you’re curious what the action looks like:
Casual shooting and Archery Tag are good ways to appeal to a wide variety of potential archers, while 3-D competitions can tap more into the competitive spirit of serious bowhunters. All you need is a few 3-D targets and a little downtime to coordinate the event. Word of mouth could be the best way tap into the key group. Enticing someone who comes in to get their bow tuned could get that customer to rile their friends up with a little bit of smack talk and healthy rivalry. Hosting 3-D tournaments on the weekend could be a good way to get around a lot of nine-to-five weekday shifts. Ultimately, getting more bowhunters in the shop during the offseason could remind them to get their bow tuned up, or get one of their long-overdue equipment upgrades, all while providing them with a great chance to just have fun.
Many aspects of school are already infused with competition, and archery can provide kids with a great outlet to play and challenge each other. A great way to get this started could be to bring archery to the school, rather than trying to bring the school to an archery range. Some schools already have archery in their physical education program. This can be built upon with more rigorous after-school clubs for the kids who really click with a bow and arrow. For the majority of schools that don’t have archery as part of their P.E. curriculum, a simple chat with the school administration could provide chance to give kids a crash course and taste of the sport. This is yet another option that really only requires time and effort for a potential boost in archery participation and business.
Anything Else you can Imagine
With a vivid imagination and a can-do attitude, anything is possible. The same way archery lanes can be rented out to other archery instructors and tournaments, they can be rented out to anyone who simply needs open space. If you generally close the shop at 7:00 p.m., why not let someone rent it until 8 or 9? Of course this requires building trust with the potential renter or being able to partition the shop for security, but a beautiful symbiotic relationship could form. This last option is indeed something that comes in special circumstances. It just always helps to keep and open mind.