Q. What has been your greatest reward for attending the SHOT Show?
Bill Kempffer, Deep River Sporting Clays and Shooting School, Sanford, N.C.
A. It’s hard to name just one reward from attending the SHOT Show. My business, Deep River Sporting Clays and Shooting School, has benefitted from the annual face-to-face meetings I have with vendors who supply our pro shop. Business has profited from conversations I have with other range and retail owners as well as with other professionals in our industry. And the opportunity to see new products to offer our customers or to improve the operation of the Deep River business is incredibly important and exciting.
But over time, the greatest reward from attending SHOT has been the education received through SHOT Show University and the other retail, management and ATF seminars offered during the course of the show. They have provided me with information and, in many cases, specific tools to carry back and immediately implement to improve what we offer and how we offer it at Deep River. Yes, the SHOT Show itself is an incredible display that can occupy all your attention easily for four days, but the show itself is just part of the package. The educational opportunities are something that should not be overlooked by any range owner/operator attending.
Robin Ball, Sharp Shooting Indoor Range & Gun Shop, Spokane, Wash.
A. We love attending the SHOT SHOW. It gives us a fresh look at our industry every year. The State of the Industry Dinner is very powerful for us in watching our leaders report to us from the top. It reinforces what a professional, educated, enthusiastic group of people we are privileged to work with. We always come back to our own store with much more energy. The opportunity to look at and handle new products is also such a bonus. It helps us get out in front of magazines that will be running articles our customers read. And SHOT gives us the ability to go back to our facility and talk with our customers about new products. We have people check in with us as soon as we return to find out what we have learned.
Another very important part of attending SHOT is the face to face we get with manufacturers and sales people who handle our account. We are all busy, and so are our suppliers. It helps to have contact with them so they can put a face to the name. It isn’t necessarily the place to solve problems, but it sure is a great place to say I am going to call you in a couple weeks to figure out a solution. We have attended SHOT SHOW for the past 17 years and wouldn’t miss it. It is exciting to be part of such a dynamic industry.
Glenn Duncan, Duncan’s Outdoor Shop, Bay City, Mich.
1. Access and Information: My first objective is to get up-to-date with manufacturers. I want to learn: who has been promoted and who is new to the company and then try to meet and get to know them and obtain their contact information; what new programs they have available; and what I need to learn about regarding what is happening in the industry and with specific manufacturers. In other words, I want to get up to speed on who the players are, what is happening and stay above the curve.
2. Education: My second priority is to attend or have covered as many seminars as we can. Arriving a day early to attend SHOT Show University is worth every penny. The seminars held during the show are more challenging to attend because of commitments on—and off—the show floor, and that is why I am bringing additional staff this year. That allows me more time to walk the floor, talk to my suppliers, do business and still get to a session or two. We will all be getting together at the end of each day to review the seminars and share notes.
3. New Products: In addition to getting educated on industry news and offerings, my staff will walk the show floor and scout out the new products that are new, appealing and different that we can offer our customers. I can’t be everywhere and do everything, and that’s why I try to delegate different tasks to my staff.
4. Networking with Peers: My final “greatest” benefit from SHOT Show U. and the SHOT Show is that it gives me the opportunity to network with other retailers and range owners and meet new people in the firearms and shooting range business. I regularly receive calls from retailers and range owners that I’ve never met before, and at SHOT we can actually meet face to face, learn from each other and build a working relationship.