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Accessories may be your main sale.

If you were told your business could make an additional $1,000, $10,000 or even $100,000 a year for practically no extra work on your part, would you turn it down? Probably not, unless the proposition turned out to involve 10 of your best friends and a chain letter thinly disguised as a business opportunity.

The fact is, many gun dealers unknowingly turn away that kind of money every year. If you run a gun shop that is not already stocking at least archery accessories, you're missing out on your slice of the pie.

So you don't know anything about bowhunting or archery? No matter. Can't tell the difference between a quiver and a kisser? Don't panic.

Marilyn Bentz, marketing director for Saunders Archery in Columbus, Neb., said the beauty of selling only archery accessories is that they practically sell themselves. "No expertise on the part of the salesman is required," she said. In fact, merely hanging them on the wall with promotional material is often all that is required to effectively sell accessories.

Add a line of bows and the story changes. It is then that you must devote hours to the customer choosing, sizing, and setting up the bow to fit him, not to mention providing space to test the bows. Unless you already have a good archery vocabulary or plan to attend a dealer's school, get your feet wet by selling only accessories.

Good Profit Potential

The ability to make money on accessories is extremely high, said Bentz. "Most of our dealers work on a 60/40 principle, and make a very good profit on the items," she said.

But how much space is required and what exactly do you need to stock a well-rounded accessory line?

A wall display of anywhere from 4 x 8 feet to 4 x 12 feet is sufficient, said Bentz. Dealers can easily accommodate a generous accessory inventory in this minimal amount of space.

There are a number of items essential to your inventory. Here are some of the necessities, and a description of their purpose:

Arm Guard: Protects the arm while shooting.

Adhesive: Used for arrow fletching and repairs.

Arrow Rest: Bow attachment that helps deliver straight arrow flight.

Bow Squares: Used for tuning bows and setting nocks.

Bow String Wax: Lubricates the bow string.

Faces: Targets.

Matts and Stands: Placed behind the faces to stop the arrows.

Nok Sets: Serving strings so arrow nocks onto string in same place.

Nocking Pliers: Tool that locks the nock point on bow string.

Point Pullers: Extracts broadheads and field points from trees, logs and stumps.

Sight Pins: Help shooters focus in on target.

Stabilizers: Absorb vibration and noise while increasing accuracy and bow efficiency.

Shooting Tabs and Gloves: Protect fingers.

One accessory that is often overlooked by archery dealers is the slingshot, says Bentz. "Almost every hunter takes one into the woods, and it is a good add-on sale that applies to various customers."

And contrary to popular belief, most slingshot customers are not children, she says. Don't underestimate the importance of this hot-selling accessory.

Of course, there are dozens of other accessories (as well as accessories for the accessories!) to offer the archer, and your distributor will be able to explain in greater detail the purpose of each. After you've been selling accessories for a while, you'll see that you have also become educated by your customers. They'll tell you what they like or don't like about a particular item, and what works better for them. In turn, you'll relate their experiences to the next customer who asks about a product. Eventually, you may be ready to stock a few bows and offer bow repair services.

Where to Buy

When adding archery accessories, dealers can buy from one of the many archery distributors or directly from the manufacturer. Some of the larger manufacturers include Saunders, Bear Archery, Precision Shooting Equipment, Martin Archery, Golden-Key Futura, and C.W. Erickson Mfgs.

Saunders, in business for 53 years, is the oldest archery accessories manufacturer in the country. The company tends to concentrate most of its business on the mass distributors, said Bentz, with a goal of supporting the dealers as much as possible.

"We try to generate demand for the dealer through consumer advertising," she said. "We try to stock the items, but we must create the demand first."

In general, Saunders, as a manufacturer, does not offer any specific dealer programs such as those often provided by distributors. "We don't give anyone a break. . . We like to support the dealer," she said.

Although Saunders sells mostly to distributors, the company will sell directly to dealers. Large dealers who place orders of $500 or more will receive a slight discount. Bentz said Saunders would probably even sell retail to its customers if they could not find a distributor or local retailer for the customer to contact.

If you decide to take the plunge and add some archery items, don't let it intimidate you. Your dealer representative or distributor should help make the transition comfortable, providing expert knowledge and assistance along the way.

There are dozens of archery distributors as well, including Papes, ACI, Southern Archery, Shawmut, Jim Dougherty Archery, Anderson Archery, Buck Rub Archery and Frontier Archery. This is not an exclusive list, however, and you should shop around for the best prices and dealer programs to suit your specific needs.

At the minimum, give a distributor or wholesaler a call, and find out how easy they can make it for you to start an archery aisle in your own gun shop. Don't rely on the fact that none of your customers have asked about bowhunting or 3-D shooting. If you create the interest for them by stocking a few accessories, you will have secured sales for years to come.

You can be certain, however, that if you aren't stocking archery products, there is another gun shop somewhere nearby that is taking money right out of your pocket.
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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
Article Type:Column
Date:May 1, 1993
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Next Article:Answering customers' questions: "what can I use if I don't want a gun?" (Lethal Force) (Column)

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