Dealers are Street-Smart Agents for Growth
By Amy Hatfield
When I’m sitting in a meeting and my brow is furrowed, that means I’m working painfully hard to listen and digest things being said. But if I’m listening without realizing I’m listening, just because I’m naturally interested, my head tilts slightly and my face looks relaxed. The latter happens less than I’d like, but it did happen a few weeks ago.
The meeting was in Carrizo Springs, Texas and it brought ATA staff and the association’s dealer council together for several days of evaluating and planning. Maybe a better way to describe the meeting’s intent is this way: Everything the ATA is doing to ratchet up the number of archers and bowhunters — such as developing the Explore Bowhunting curriculum or partnering with state wildlife agencies to make archery and bowhunting accessible in communities — needs help from industry dealers. This ATA-member group represents “boots on the ground.” They are the custodians of the industry’s most critical transaction: where equipment reaches the hands of participants.
Even though the ATA needs leadership from dealers, it doesn’t ask dealers to offer this as a gift. No, it’s a trade. Or partnership. Dealer involvement in ATA initiatives promises revenue. Not just for tomorrow, but right now. To learn more about it, look for a feature story titled “Archery Econ 101,” that will appear in the May issue of ArrowTrade. This article delivers enough information to qualify how the revenue boost is possible.
What gets me excited about the dealers’ role in the ATA’s growth-inspired initiatives is how dealers can make these initiates their own. If you’re involved with your local school, maybe you get Explore Bowhunting into your community through the schools. If your kid plays soccer through the city park and rec program, maybe that’s your opening to infuse archery. Shelley Saxwold of Straight Line Archery in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, recently fielded questions for an upcoming ATA column. During the interview, she said she renovated an old bowling alley and turned it into archery range. One of her priorities was making this range a place where kids could hang out. They hold youth tournaments there and parents come to watch, but it’s also just a place where kids can be kids.
During the Carrizo Springs meeting, I also saw that dealers are critical industry ambassadors. This reminded me that you can have a top-down ambassador like the U.S. ambassador to the Philippines, but you can also have a bottom-up army of ambassadors like the homespun movement in Egypt’s recent revolution. That change started at the ground like ivy on an oak tree. Likewise, this industry always offers opportunities to lead a movement, and that makes our work exhilarating.
Did You Know?
The ATA signed an agreement with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that will maintain and increase bowhunting opportunities on National Wildlife Refuges nationwide.