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100 days to bowhunting season - is your gunshop ready?

Whether you are already an archery-stocking gun dealer or you are still contemplating adding an archery aisle, remember this: The next 100 days are the most crucial for successful sales during bowhunting season.

Depending on which state you live in, bowhunting season may still be a few months away. That means if you are still toiling with the idea of an archery aisle, it is not too late to talk to a distributor and order a complete line of bows and accessories for '93.

Jim Dougherty, renowned bowhunter and president of Jim Dougherty Archery, Inc., says now is the ideal time for the gun dealer to stock the fast-moving bowhunting accessory items, i.e. the "nuts and bolts" of archery, if you need to increase your seasonal profit margin.

These include essentials such as broadheads, sights, quivers, strings and silencers, along with a couple of bows -- items that will sell themselves over the next few months.

Dougherty stresses the gun retailer must realize that the majority of initial archery sales will come from the ranks of existing customers. It is up to the dealer to encourage the sport and spread the word that he is now a stocking archery dealer.

Simple is Better

Dealers should stick to the basics when ordering, Dougherty said, especially this close to bowhunting season. "Stay with the less sophisticated items if you're just a beginner."

Dougherty recommends starting with only a couple of lines of bows and accessories, he says, for the benefit of both dealer and customer. "Both Hoyt and PSE have integral lines of accessories," he said, and there are several other manufacturers that offer complete lines. Dougherty feels no more than two lines should be brought in initially, however. As clientele builds, dealers can expand into other areas of archery.

One thing a dealer can do is to allow the archery distributor to offer his expertise on exactly what, how much and when to purchase. Some bows are more popular in certain regions of the country than others, depending on the game available to hunt. A distributor should be knowledgeable in this area.

Dougherty also recommends staying with what he calls "one-liners" -- one particular brand of bow and accessories. This simplifies initial buying and selling. He also recommends that until the dealer has a better feel for the products, an archery expert should be hired to sell them.

One of the services Dougherty says he offers his clients is a "plan-a-gram," a customized blueprint for a dealer with recommendations on what to purchase for an optimal display. For example, Dougherty assesses space requirements, regional needs for particular bows and accessories, and budget, and with this information he can assemble a complete display for any dealer.

Initial Investment

Dougherty says initial investments vary, but a fair sum for a beginning dealer will probably average in the $1,500 to $2,500 range. Anything more than that is a pretty serious commitment to the sport, and will require the dealer to devote considerable energy in marketing and sales. Smart dealers should conduct at least the minimal amount of research to ensure market interest in archery or bowhunting before making an investment of this magnitude.

Dougherty's four-level dealer pricing program is based on annual purchase volume. The dealer's account is monitored, and depending on quantity purchased the first year, he may qualify for volume discounts the next year.

The Archery Manufacturers Organization publishes a Guide to Starting a Successful Archery Dealership, available for $10 from the AMO at (904) 377-8262. Although the book focuses mainly on starting an archery-only business, much of the advice offered by contributing experts can set you on the right path as far as establishing your archery budget, advertising, and actually operating the archery aisle. Sample business forms are also provided, along with suggestions for getting support assistance.

If it has been in your plans to expand your gun shop to include an archery aisle, you still have time before the big bowhunting season begins. If you've missed your opportunity for this hunting season, don't forget that 3-D shooting is the fastest-growing segment of the archery-related sports. Take the opportunity to learn a little about this fascinating hobby, and your profits can be boosted practically overnight.
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Copyright 1993 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Archery Aisle
Author:Smith, Ann Y.
Publication:Shooting Industry
Date:Jun 1, 1993
Previous Article:I answer dumb questions.
Next Article:Selling the right gun for the job.

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