ATA Retail Council Expands its Reach

Jay McAninch, standing, addresses the ATA Dealer Council at its meeting in May. The 10-member Council has five positions on the ATA’s 18-member Board of Directors.
Photo Credit: Patrick Durkin

Author: Patrick Durkin

The Retail Council – which was created jointly in 1995 by the Archery Manufacturers and Merchants Organization and Jeff Poet of Jay’s Sporting Goods in Clare, Michigan – consists of 10 retailers, five of whom sit on the ATA’s 18-member Board of Directors. The Council strives to represent archery retailers no matter their size, location or business platform. Therefore, the Council’s membership includes online retailers, single-proprietor stores, “multi-channel” giants Cabela’s and Bass Pro Shops, and the industry’s top buying groups: the National Archery Buyers Association and the Archery Range and Retailers Organization.

During a three-day meeting in May near Alma, Wisconsin, Retail Council members agreed they must encourage more retailers to share profitable tips and strategies for sales and marketing. That means recruiting retailers from regions currently not on the Council. After all, archery and bowhunting’s peak sales seasons vary by region, as do retailers’ relationships with distributors and manufacturers.

“This isn’t about retailers fighting with manufacturers and telling them how to do their jobs; it’s about sharing ideas that help retailers and manufacturers succeed,” said Randy Phillips, owner of Archery Headquarters in Chandler, Arizona. Phillips also represents the Retail Council on the ATA Board. “We’ll probably need to make phone calls to get that initial input we need, but we have to fill those gaps.”

Randy Phillips, right, of Archery Headquarters in Chandler, Arizona, discusses the importance of increasing the ATA Retail Council’s membership, as the ATA’s Maria Lewis and Wendy Lang, and David Wilkins of Wyvern Creations in Lee, New Hampshire, listen. Photo Credit: Patrick Durkin

Retail Council member Wayne Piersol, vice president of NABA and owner of Archery Only in Newark, California, wants archery retailers to view the ATA Retail Council as a resource, not an overseer.

“We want retailers to chime in with ideas on what works at their stores, what doesn’t, and why,” Piersol said. “How much do you charge for labor? What’s selling this year in your area? Are the same products selling in Pennsylvania, California and Michigan? They can help each other a lot.”

Other retailers attending the meeting were Mark Copeland, store director of Jay’s Sporting Goods, and an ATA Board member; Gary Kinard, owner of All Star Archery in Dallas; David Wilkins, owner of Wyvern Creations in Lee, New Hampshire; and Laura Rosenthal, vice president of La Crosse Archery in Wisconsin.

Wayne Piersol, owner of Archery Only in northern California, is also president of the National Archery Buyers Association. Photo Credit: Patrick Durkin

In addition, the Retail Council includes Marty Stubstad, owner of Archery Headquarters in Rochester, Minnesota, and ARRO president; T.J. Hofhines, owner of Dead-On Archery in Meridian, Idaho; Ryan Shutts, Cabela’s merchandising director; and Dean Snelson, Bass Pro Shops’ merchandise manager.

The ATA and the Retail Council also expect to broaden participation among ATA-member retailers with the pending launch of an interactive forum called “ATA Connect,” which will make it easier and faster for archery stores to interact and engage online with suggestions and feedback. The forum, expected to launch later this year, will make it easy for them to ask each other questions, seek recommendations, and suggest topics to discuss with distributors and manufacturers.

Kurt Smith, ATA senior manager of retail programs, noted that the launch of ATA Connect will help retailers more freely discuss challenges and possibly solutions. “We want ATA Connect to be constructive and up to date,” Smith said. “Complaints are cheap, but solutions are gold.”

Among the many topics retailers might see on ATA Connect are …

  • making money from your wrenches and work bench,
  • how ATA ePro helps archery retailers,
  • minimum advertised price policies,
  • new-product release dates,
  • setting profitable sales margins,
  • vetting and hiring employees,
  • finding and compensating good bow techs,
  • evaluating your store’s market value,
  • boosting profits from lanes and lessons,
  • Do online sales really hurt your business?

Mark Copeland of Jay’s Sporting Goods in Clare, Michigan, foreground, and the ATA’s Emily Beach listen to ideas for boosting membership in the ATA’s Retail Council. Photo Credit: Patrick Durkin

“Those are just a few of the ideas the Retail Council is kicking around,” Smith said. “As ATA Connect gets going, we can use the site to share resources with retailers, and help them get in touch with someone who’s dealt with the problems they’re raising. It will also keep us tuned into the retailers so we can expand and strengthen ATA programs for retailers like the Retail Growth Initiative.

“The ATA wants this to be a service and a resource,” Smith continued. “We aren’t here to tell people what they should do, or how to run their store. We want to be an information resource and help retailers to learn from each other.”

To learn more about the ATA Retail Council, contact Kurt Smith at (866) 266-2776, ext. 117; or

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