April 2014 Q&A — 02 April 2014


Q&A: EFFECTIVE COMMUNITY RELATIONS PROGRAMS

Q. What has been your best community relations program?

Bill Kempffer, Deep River Sporting Clays and Shooting School, Sanford, N. C.

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A. We do several different community relations programs each year, but the best event, by far, has been participating in the local Chamber of Commerce’s “Business After Hours” program. Each month a different business hosts a social event for all Chamber members. The hosts provide refreshments and door prizes for program participants in exchange for an opportunity to show off their goods and services.

At Deep River, we hold the social event in our clubhouse while offering everyone the chance to “give shooting a shot” at either our outdoor pistol range or on our clays and sporting clays courses. All shooting is done with the help and supervision of our certified staff instructors. The drawing for the door prizes (gift certificates for goods or services at our business) is held in the pro shop gun room so everyone has the chance to see every facet of our business and to meet all members of our great staff. Our events have drawn many other business owners and managers, which has led to corporate outings and meetings at our facility as well as a chance to offer the same to the general public. This event is publicized well by the Chamber through its e-mail list and in the local daily newspaper. It always draws well, rain or shine. This partnering with the Chamber has also led to an annual Chamber sporting clays fundraising event each fall. This gives us even more exposure through Chamber promotions and keeps us in the public eye as a key member of the community.

Glenn Duncan, Duncan’s Outdoor Shop, Bay City, Mich.

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A. We have worked closely with the Friends of the NRA as a sponsor and in providing help with its annual banquet. We have worked with the Boy Scouts of America and local civic groups, such the Lions Club, the Shriners and the Bay City Chamber of Commerce.

Without a doubt the biggest community relations program that we have been involved in is working with over 30 volunteers. We have male and females, young and old, that volunteer their time to help us with special promotions like Smith & Wesson and Glock Days, leagues, educational programs, shooting training and leagues. They work at the store because they have a passion for firearms, enjoy the atmosphere and value the opportunity to work with other people who share their interest and passion for shooting and the firearm industry.

We treat them as if they were family and with the respect that they deserve. We go further and help them with the programs with which they are involved that are near and dear to their hearts. In return they are our ambassadors and champions in the community and share the word about Duncan’s Outdoor Shop with their family and friends.

When you embrace other people in your community and treat them the way you’d like to be treated—appreciated and respected—you will achieve the best form of promotion among the members of your community.

Bernard Hsiao, Nexus Shooting, Davie, Fla.

A. Nexus Shooting is committed to providing a unique, modern and state-of-the-art experience to our local community. In just the 10 months since we opened, we have been extremely well received by both experienced and novice shooters in the community, and we believe that a large component of our success is our community-outreach programs. We have done events and special promotions for groups such as the Boy Scouts of America, the Girl Scouts of America, women’s and youth groups, veterans’ groups, police departments and the Kiwanis Club.

Our most successful event thus far is likely our blood drives. We have consistently found that our clientele are extremely civic minded, leading to collections that, thus far, have been 10 times the average amount normally collected at other venues such as movie theaters. For other ranges contemplating blood drives, we would caution that they must be cognizant of certain issues that may arise. For example, ensuring that both blood-drive personnel and your employees emphasize that blood donations must be made after shooting to prevent dangerous lightheadedness or fainting episodes on the range. We are proud to provide this valuable service to the community and plan on continuing to do so in the future.

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