Archery is an all-season sport that can be enjoyed indoors and outdoors — and it can even be brought to you. Bullock’s Archery in Ventura, California, offers a mobile archery range that brings the joy of the sport to anyone who’s interested in experiencing it. Bullock’s Archery is family owned and operated, run by the father-daughter duo of Steve and Tara Bullock. We spoke with Tara about the mobile archery range, what it’s done for their business and how they see it growing in the future.
Bullock’s Archery began offering the mobile range soon after the Bullocks opened their brick-and-mortar shop in 2016, when they saw that the need and interest for traveling archery services was there. “Mostly there was a need to travel for parties and events to be held at their chosen site,” Tara said. They soon realized just how important the mobile range would be. “[We saw that] it would enable us to reach more customers and promote the sport and love of archery in a way other than just teaching at our indoor range.”
The mobile archery range brings the experience to new archers. Photo Credit: Bullock's Archery
The mobile range has helped archers in their area considerably by the sheer exposure and accessibility, thanks in large part to the Bullocks’ willingness to travel. “We have had large groups of Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, call us out to camping sites,” Tara said. “We frequently have birthday parties, family events, home-school group shoots and corporate team building shoots as well.” The accessibility of these events extends to avid archers and new archers alike. “Those who are currently archers can bring their own equipment to the events and have us look their gear over while we are there, which can save them a trip to our shop,” Tara noted. “Archery shops are few and far between in our area, so archers tend to have to travel far to get to a bow tech.”
Bullock's Archery considers their customers friends and family. Photo Credit: Bullock's Archery
Because of the rarity of archery shops in their area of California, Bullock’s Archery has been able to bring archery to interested parties who otherwise wouldn’t have the opportunity to try the sport. “The majority of those that try it end up loving it and making a trip to our shop for private lessons and/or to purchase equipment,” Tara said. The mobile range has led to exposure for their archery shop and has broadened their customer base in a positive, meaningful, circle. Customers of the mobile range have become regular patrons of their archery shop, and regular customers of their archery shop have used the mobile range. “We have gotten some amazing customers and new archers from being willing to travel to people. It has also given existing archers the chance to know our archery shop exists and its location. We have made many new customers that way. And the archery community being what it is, a great number of our customers have become friends; some casual, some more like family.”
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They conduct private events like birthday parties. Photo Credit: Bullock's Archery
The Bullock’s Archery family doesn’t have a set radius for the mobile range. It’s all based on requests. “We have our group travel rate and we go by the current federal standard travel rates per mile,” Tara explained. “The farthest we have traveled so far was about 115 miles away. We will travel farther if the customer is willing to have us come to them!”
The mobile range offers a suite of services in addition to the private and group archery lessons and equipment rental. They can provide minor bow and arrow repair. “These include changing out strings and arrow rests for traditional bows, replacing D-loops, and adjusting and dialing in sights on a compound bow,” Tara said. “We can re-fletch arrows and replace basic components such as nocks and tips.”
The mobile range has been such a huge success that the Bullocks are planning additions to make the experience even better for archers. “We have talked a few times about adding a mobile bow press to our setup and taking it to tournaments,” Tara said. “COVID-19 put a halt to a few plans, but it seems like everyone, in our industry at least, is getting back on track and pushing forward. So hopefully that mobile bow press will be a reality in the near future.”
Tara shares her tips on how retailers can add a mobile range to their shop. “Don’t underprice your services,” Tara said. “Your knowledge and the service you are providing is not some run-of-the-mill thing. It is a niche market. Don’t price gouge, of course. Be fair, but don’t sell yourself and your expertise short. We went through that in the beginning and learned that we need to make it worth it for us to do what we do. We learned that more often than not, people see the value and rarity in what we do and are willing to pay a fair price for our knowledge and the experience we provide.”
The ATA created the Temporary Archery Range Guide to help retailers plan for a mobile range. It’s designed to help all groups, including retailers who aren’t ready to build a permanent range and organizations whose representatives travel statewide to promote opportunities. It also provides the tools, resources and information needed to set up, take down and offer archery programs in many locations. Temporary ranges help retailers and organizations introduce newcomers to archery and boosts the archery and bowhunting industry. To learn more about the other Archery Range Guides, click here.
A mobile range is a great way to get started in archery. Your customers will be able to book a mobile range for an event or party and experience a new sport with friends and family. After experiencing your mobile range, they'll likely continue practicing at the shop’s brick-and-mortar location and unlock a lifelong passion. Archery is for everyone, and mobile ranges like the one Bullock’s Archery offers make that possible.