Trade Show

#ATA2020 Post-Show Seminar Takeaways

Learn important lessons from five popular seminars at the 2020 ATA Trade Show.
Photo Credit: ATA

Author: Cassie Gasaway

The 2020 ATA Trade Show offered 35 seminars, demonstrations and “Coffee Talks” during its Jan. 9-11 run in Indianapolis. The topics included tips for increasing profits, growing archery, improving business operations, navigating federal excise taxes, and many more. If you missed a session because you were busy on the Show floor, read this recap of five popular seminars that could help you evaluate and improve your business in 2020.


Federal Excise Taxes: Are You Paying Correctly?

Nathan Fitzgerald of BKD CPAs & Advisors explained how FET affects a business’s financial performance, and how the money gets distributed to state wildlife agencies to benefit conservation and the archery community. Archery businesses must understand and comply with FET regulations. The law isn’t always easy to understand, but paying FET is a fundamental business obligation.

Fitzgerald said ATA members can ensure they comply by using the ATA’s comprehensive FET guide, which is available on the MyATA member dashboard. The guide helps manufacturers learn their obligations and file their taxes correctly. He said IRS resources are also helpful. He encourages members to connect with a professional who can assist with the accounting and tax-compliance process. Fitzgerald is available at

Pro-staff member Melanie Bolke and the rest of the Shoot Like a Girl crew educated members at their interactive booth. Photo Credit: ATA

Secret Shopping Can Increase Customers

Karen Butler of Shoot Like a Girl encouraged retailers to conduct secret shopping operations in their stores. “Secret shopping” means hiring someone to visit your store, interact with the sales team, buy something, and then file a detailed report on their experience. Secret shoppers help retailers learn how their employees treat customers. They identify shortcomings, correct or adapt them, and then work to improve customers’ shopping experiences.

Be sure to focus on a female’s in-shop experience. Butler said many archery shops too often overlook women as customers. According to an ATA study, only 34% of the 23.8 million Americans who shot archery in 2015 were female. Therefore, if two men and one woman walk into a store together, employees often assume the woman doesn’t shoot archery.

Butler said such assumptions are flawed. She said retailers should ask trusted local women to visit their shop and judge it on its cleanliness, inclusivity, wait time, atmosphere, service quality, and customer-service strategies, especially for women. It’s important to engage every consumer, no matter their age or gender, to create new customers and boost your bottom line. Shoot Like a Girl offers in-depth retail sales training. Please email to request more information.

Make your supply chain efficient. Photo Credit: ATA

Supply Chain Strategies for Growth

Todd Shields and Matt Wagner of Jarrett Logistics Systems discussed how to improve their supply chain’s efficiencies. Shields said the supply chain isn’t a priority for most business owners, but it should be because it touches every aspect of a business. After all, it includes purchasing, manufacturing, inventory management, demand planning, warehousing, transportation, and customer service.

Shields and Wagner encourage ATA members to look at their business’s functions and processes to identify where it must improve. Can you get products when you need them? Do you have the right people and policies to fulfill orders and make on-time deliveries? How does your company compare to your competitors? Use analytics and sales numbers to guide changes that reduce costs and improve efficiencies. Shields said to try improving one part of the supply chain at a time, so you don’t get overwhelmed. If you need help or want a free consultation, contact Shields at (330) 714-0521 or

Analyze your contracts and make sure the wording is appropriate. Photo Credit: ATA

Manufacturers Can Guard Against Lawsuits

Kyle LeClere of Barnes & Thornburg LLP advised manufacturers to protect their business with well-written contracts and warranties. LeClere said they must understand copyright, trademark and intellectual property to protect their ideas, brands and products. Businesses must also protect themselves with favorable language in their contracts and warranties to prevent product-liability lawsuits. He said most claims and lawsuits arise when customers breach the contract, and injure themselves or someone else when using the product.

To lower liability risks, LeClere suggests business owners assess their products to foresee risks, and then outline those risks in writing. Broadheads, for example, are sharp and dangerous, and some people cut themselves. But if manufacturers made broadheads dull and safe, they wouldn’t function. Laws recognize inherent product dangers, and sometimes there’s no way to design around them. Manufacturers can avoid personal-injury lawsuits by adding product warnings. LeClere encouraged manufacturers to know what’s in their written documents, and change the text if needed to warn of potential risks and dangers. Contact LeClere ( or another trusted attorney to update your documents and prevent lawsuits.


Brand Makeovers

John Krull, Nick Newlin and Chris Sprangers of Shine United encouraged ATA members to make their brand a priority. Is your brand relevant? Is your target audience engaged with and attracted to your brand? Does your brand differ or stand out from your competitors? If not, consider revamping or re-creating your brand.

Create a list of what constitutes your brand. Newlin said companies must determine what they want to accomplish, and set goals to achieve them. Then, make a brand that’s relevant to your target audience, different from your competition, and true to your organization and its values. Good brands evoke emotion and passion. Select a clear and powerful slogan. If you already have a strong, permanent brand, Krull suggests conducting an annual brand evaluation. The results should help you update your product packaging, social media tactics, and other marketing strategies. You don’t have to change your brand to change what your brand does for your company. Connect with the Shine United team online at to ensure your brand thrives.


Learn More

Visit the MyATA Learning Center through your member dashboard to watch these presentations, and other sessions recorded at the Show. Click here to log in.

Many of these presenters are apart of the ATA’s MyATA Service Provider program. MyATA Service Providers are ATA-vetted companies that offer ATA members expert support and discounts on their services. As service providers, these companies support the industry, help ATA members succeed, and grow archery and bowhunting. Click here to view all your MyATA Service Providers, and learn how they can assist you.

Questions? Contact Kurt Smith, ATA’s director of industry relations, at (717) 478-5919 or

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