CEO's Blog

CEO Blog: COVID-19 Update

Matt Kormann discusses what businesses can do during this time and the resources your ATA is providing.
Photo Credit: ATA

Author: Matt Kormann

Each of us has been dealing with a new normal the past couple of months. Priorities have shifted for many. Where some once focused more on business, they’ve now shifted to home and family. Others experienced the opposite. Many who once went to the office now simply log in from home.

Through it all, record numbers find themselves out of work. No matter your situation, you might be struggling to find meat at the grocery store, as has our family. I’m even more grateful now for harvesting a Georgia doe and a Kansas buck last fall. They keep feeding our family while providing a little more peace of mind. Meanwhile, I keep coming up empty on the backyard gobbler that’s tormented me the past couple of years. I’m optimistic that situation will deliver exceptional bowhunting this fall.

The COVID-19 resources page on our website houses important documents from national resources and the ATA. Photo Credit: ATA

I also hope all ATA members are taking advantage of our Coronavirus roundup page. We’re doing our best to translatethe Paycheck Protection Program and other opportunities to make things more understandable. While headlines often target negative aspects of these plans, we focus on their many benefits to our members and your ATA itself, helping save members’ money and businesses. Based on member feedback and requests, we’ve shared high-level guidance on maintaining a safe environment for retail customers, and we’ve kept you up to date on our government advocacy efforts.

A common inquiry I’ve received is my outlook for the industry’s recovery. If I were to respond here and now, my opinion would be outdated by sunset today. Initial reports indicated a rapid recovery for retailing’s overall sector, regardless of industry, as early as summer or fall. But economists and retail experts are disagreeing more recently, with some indicating better times yet this year, and others pushing recovery out 18 months or more. When so-called experts disagree, one thing is certain: No one has a simple, correct answer.

Your ATA has pivoted quickly to deliver more content and information than ever before. We’ve adjusted business operations like membership and Trade Show planning, delaying everything we can until seeing a clear path ahead. We still expect the best for #ATA2021 in Indy, but it’s too early to know what January will bring. We remain optimistic, but know our members are focused on their families and businesses first. We’re also working with your Executive and Finance committees and the entire Board to craft strategies for many possibilities.

We encourage you to do the same. Each ATA member should be planning for the future while dealing with the rapidly evolving present. Plan now to attract new customers. Communicate with current or future customers about how they can safely shoot at home. Consider how your business will respond to future scenarios by developing business plans that account for those factors. If you need help, contact your ATA team to let us know what we can do.

Yes, bad news is too common. Just this past weekend, however, we saw a bright spot at the national level. Many states are seeing record hunting-license sales. QDMA’s Hank Forester, who runs the group’s best-in-class Field to Fork program, was quoted in a great article about the recent uptick in hunting activity. That proves we’ll find good news if we look for it, and that boosts my optimism for our industry this fall.

Your ATA is benefiting from years of strong leadership, governance, and staff who put us in the best position to weather this storm while providing resources to our industry. We’re eager to work with you to help ensure your business survives this crisis as strongly as possible.

Thanks to each of you for supporting the ATA, whether you’ve been here a short time, or you were a founding member. On behalf of our staff and your Board of Directors, I pray you’re well, and looking to a brighter future for this industry we love.

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