The ATA interviewed a handful of retailers, dealers and distributors during the ATA Trade Show. Here’s what they had to say:
Adrian Di Paola, Dragon Flight Archery, Water Valley, Alberta
We found a lot of new products. This was our sixth year at the Show. One of our main reasons for coming to the Show is to find those new products, meet the vendors who we speak with on the phone throughout the year, and build a better relationship with them. We liked the layout of this year’s show. It was very easy to navigate.
Keith & Bonnie Struble, K&B Archery Pro Shop, Mitchell, South Dakota
This show is really important for us because it’s the only show we really go to. January works better for us than most months. We can’t take off at other times of the year. We can see most everything we need at this show because we’re mainly an archery shop.
No matter how many magazines you thumb through and how many brochures you see, you still have to see products in person, pick them up, and take time to talk to people about them. You’re not rushed. You’re here for that purpose alone. You actually get to see the product and study its pros and cons, and whether it will work for you. This lets us shoot all the bows we don’t carry, which is important too for comparisons.
We always come the day before so we’re here for the entire show. We go to the seminars each morning, because they’re really good. We learned more about improving our website. We’re down to the Show’s last few hours, so we’re walking around now placing our final orders. We do a lot of our programmed orders here. We belong to NABA, so that makes a difference. We spend the first day just trying to cover things to see what’s out here, picking up literature, asking questions and taking notes. Now we’re going back, talking to the companies, doing our final meetings, and writing orders. We also bring a lot of the literature home to show our customers. We like to look everything over and talk to the manufacturers when they’re not so swamped with people in their booths. There are some really good deals, but you have to make sure they fit your shop and work for you. This is our 20th year, so we have a pretty good feel for which deals will work for us.
Gary Kinard, All Star Archery, Lewisville, Texas
I’ve been coming to this show since 2002, the year we picked up archery for our store. This is the best place to see what’s new and get a look at how it works and feels and compares. It’s a big show, and for me it’s mostly about gathering information and pricing, and then going back to the shop and writing my orders. I’m a buying-group member, so I’ll go to my buying group show, based on information I’ve gathered here, and have my orders ready to turn in. This is a great business opportunity to prepare for the new year.
Lance Potsma, Top of Utah Archery, Logan, Utah
Six years running that I’ve come to the ATA Show, and I think I get more refined each year in how I do my work here. I like to see as many Show specials before we get here, and I wish more manufacturers would email their offers well in advance of the Show. I sit down after each show and analyze my productivity, and how well I was able to work the show floor. This year was easily the most productive ATA Show that I’ve attended.
Travis Schwartz, Riverside Archery, Riverside, California
This is our first ATA Show. Probably the best thing about it is all the networking you can do here. That’s because everyone is here, not just a few people you already know. It’s really worthwhile to come because you can find good deals just about everywhere you look. You see a lot of new, innovative stuff that’s first to market here at the Show. This is our third day of the Show, and we’re in the final afternoon and we still aren’t close to seeing everything that’s here. We’re still looking around and knocking out the last few things we need to do. We’ll definitely be back.
Jeff Johnston, owner, Jeff’s Performance Archery, Dodgeville, Wisconsin
I think I’ve only missed the Show twice the past 18 years or so. I could still order a lot of inventory without attending, but you get much better deals by going to the Show, seeing the new equipment, and writing your orders at the Show or soon after. I learned the biggest thing was to see the products and put my hands on them. You can see pictures in catalogues and online, but a lot of stuff looks great until you get your hands on the equipment, inspect it, and handle its packaging.
This was a good year at the Show. I liked the Show layout. The floor wasn’t crammed. It was easy to get around and see booths. I like the accommodations at Indy a little better for getting to and from the Show.
Gary Hintz, owner, Bucks and Bulls Archery, Stevens Point, Wisconsin
I found everything I needed during the Show. This was my second ATA Show. I got some good deals there. I joined ARRO while I was there, and got some really good deals. It was worth the trip down.
Gary Rigney, shop manager, Springfield Archery LLC, Springfield, Illinois
I used to go to the ATA Show every year, but I didn’t make it the past three or four years. We joined ARRO last year and went to the ARRO Show beforehand. We probably got most of our better deals at the ARRO and Outtech shows. Attending the ATA Show is worthwhile because you can see all the new products there. We’ll be back next year.
Gary Towell, The Bow Shed, Carlyle, Illinois
I like Louisville and I like attending the Show. I’m a smaller shop, and so I like to see the new products, and see and meet the people I deal with on the phone all the time. This year I wanted to see some of the target bows at the Show because we’re in a big target-archery area. I also wanted to look for some new vendors, and find some new deals on treestands at the Show to avoid shipping charges.
Rick Frame, owner, Frame’s Outdoors, Liberty, Indiana
We’ve been in business 25 years, so we look for products with staying power; something we can put in our store and keep turning over and selling. The Show was impressive. It seemed like the booths were bigger and a little more elaborate this year. The companies are getting larger, and seem to be spending more money on their booths.
Jason Lewis, owner, JNS Sports LLC, Brownsburg, Indiana
My place is a niche business. I outfit target shooters and Olympic-style shooters. I have a lot of bowhunting customers, but I’d say my business is 80-20 in favor of target archery. The Show helps me find new outlets to buy things and gives me a chance to see and touch items I otherwise would only see online. I mostly purchase foreign-made products, and you don’t see reps stopping in with that kind of stuff. It’s a fun show for me because I’m a bowhunter at heart and like seeing all the new equipment. I can then tell my customers that I’ve seen the equipment, touched it and tried it. If I’m impressed, I can refer that stuff to my customers.
Tom Drake, archery sales, Ben’s Great Outdoors, Brown City, Michigan
We go to the ATA Show to do some buying, but we also do the NBS Show for a lot of our orders. We always like to see what’s out there, and we’re always looking for the best deals. It was a good show, but I always liked the shows better when the venue was downtown. We’ll be back next year.
John Gilbert, owner, Cumberland Sportsman Supply, Burkesville, Kentucky
I got to look at a lot of things, and I picked up some new vendors and a new bow line. This was my first ATA Show, but I’ve been to a lot of other shows over the years, so it was about what I expected. Going to shows is important. I could place all my orders and call them in, but I like to stop, sit down, look at new bows, see the colors, touch everything and pick it up before placing an order. The ATA Show lets me do that. I also liked that it wasn’t a mad house. The floor wasn’t overly crowded. Stretching things out three days probably gives everyone a chance to get in without being rushed and cramped.
Derrick Smith, owner, Allatoona Outdoors & Archery, Woodstock, Georgia
This was our first ATA Show. It was overwhelming. My wife and I stayed two days. We visited vendors and picked up some new stuff for the shop, and my wife was a little star-struck by all the famous people she saw. Now we have a better grasp for how we’ll handle it next year. I’ll plan my route beforehand so I’m more familiar with the vendors’ location before I get there. But I still found some deals by just walking around and looking at things, and just browsing. I know what sells best in my shop and I target those things while I walk around. It’s a big show with so many vendors, so it definitely takes some getting used to. We’ll be more efficient at next year’s Show.
Andy Vinson, co-owner, Southeast Archery, Dothan, Alabama
We’re a four-person partnership, and all four of us were there Tuesday and Wednesday. We like to check out new products, and we try to meet with some of the companies and try to pick up new lines. We’re new, so we won’t know the results of some meetings until sometime later. We wrote a few orders, and we definitely wrote more this year than last year, because that was our first year. We picked up some new lines so we have some stuff we’re excited about carrying this year.
Trade Show Extras
Check out news blurbs from the Show. Complete stories for each can be found at archerytrade.org.
It’s a Wrap! #ATA2016
(This Show’s) order-writing and high-level meetings start with a commonality, a shared conviction and passion for bows and arrows. Perhaps those views are cheesy and romanticized, but then you read the social posts of attendees, which are all over Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. You see smiles, interlinked arms and great humor in candid photos and smartphone videos. And that’s when you know everyone here is thinking, “I like being part of this group.”
Innovation Zone Rewind
The Innovation Zone featured 29 new companies, including up-and-coming manufacturer Sherpa and its climbing treestand, which transforms into a game cart. There was also a pocket-sized deer-hauling device from Buck Cuffs; a quick, secure lock for your trail cameras and treestands made by Guardian Hunting; and a scope ring by Forward Tactical that holds a steel shield to protect your crossbow scope from damage and the sun’s glare.
Archery Academy Quietly Becomes a Top Show Feature
With dynamic, informative speakers, the Show’s seminar series continues to grow and attract attendees early, before the Show floor opens each morning. Of the 33 seminars, those sessions filling the most seats included George Ryals IV’s “Professional Tuning and Archery Form Technique,” Larry Wise’s “How to Cope with Target Panic/Release-Aid Management Skills,” Nicole Nash’s and Michelle Zeug’s “Grow Your Business and Create Supplementary Income,” and QDMA’s Kip Adams’s “The State of the Whitetail: Trends in Harvest and Management Programs.”
Show Demos and Consult Empower ATA-Member Retailers
The ATA’s Retail Growth Initiative (RGI), previously called the Retail Archery Academy, offered a Show program to arm retailers with the tools to reach young, new customers who don’t always fit the tried-and-true mold. Three core, profit-building themes were featured: How to use your shooting range as a significant revenue source; add value to your programs with instructor certification; and create experiences that reward and engage customers while expanding your customer base.
ATA Trade Show: 20 Years of Growth
The 2016 ATA Trade Show played host to 615 exhibitors, who booked a record 229,000 square feet of booth space. In other words, you’d need four NFL football fields, laid goal post to goal post, to accommodate just the Show’s booths, minus the aisles. In fact, if you crammed all those booths on the 4.5-acre flight deck of the USS Harry S. Truman, you’d still need half of a football field for the spillover.
The Show’s roots, however, are more modest.
2017 in Indianapolis!
The ATA Trade Show returns to Indianapolis in 2017. Show dates are set; mark your calendars for Jan. 10-12! Indianapolis is a favored Show site among ATA members. In a 2014 survey by Responsive Management, ATA retailers ranked Indy as the No. 1 Show site.