3 Dealers Respond: Do You Attend the ATA Show? Why or Why Not?

We asked three archery retailers: “Why do you go to the ATA Show?” Here’s what they said.

3 Dealers Respond: Do You Attend the ATA Show? Why or Why Not?

Justin Steinke

Butch’s Archery

Clintonville, Wisconsin

The primary reason I go to the ATA Show is to see the new products. The displays and presentations aren’t nearly as good anywhere else. New products can be seen and handled in a specific new-product section, and the companies are there and ready to field my questions. Obviously, we work with sales reps from many different companies, but they usually stop at our shop after ATA. The presentation usually isn’t as good, and I typically don’t get to see the entire lineup like I do at ATA.   

Personally, I haven’t taken advantage of the seminars. That’s because I allot myself about a day and a half to be at the Show. I usually arrive the night before. I’m there when the Show opens, and I usually depart by 2-3 p.m. on the second day to avoid an extra night of lodging. 

I also don’t have extra staff members along with me, so I really put my time where I believe it counts, and that is mining through the new products. I don’t put a ton of emphasis on Show pricing/discounts because I’m offered special buys before and after ATA. A lot of the main vendors still honor the Show pricing afterward. That’s been the case for the last 6 years that I’ve been running the store.   

Relationships are part of it, too. It’s the only place where I get to see a lot of the people that I work with on the industry side. Sure, we communicate via e-mail or telephone, but we get to see each other face-to-face at the ATA Show.

Farron Moss

Hoffman Archery

Warrenton, Virginia

I attend about every other year, and the main goal is to see new products. I’m a hands-on type of guy. I like being able to see and test out the new stuff right away when it launches.  

Without a doubt, buying is a big reason we go. There are good deals to be had. We do approximately $1.4-1.5 million in archery sales annually, so buying certain products in bulk at discounted pricing is big for us.  

To me, face-to-face interaction with the people I regularly work with is important. Mingling with other dealers helps me to see that I’m not alone in this world. I can get their input on some of the new products and give them mine. Of course, what we purchase ultimately comes down to what we like and want to bring in, but it’s always good to converse with others in the business. I love to hear what everybody else likes in terms of new products and how they’re running their stores. 

As far as manufacturer sales reps, it’s important to put a face to names. Once we are very familiar with one another, I give them some leeway on what merchandise to ship me as long as it’s stuff that I like and can confidently sell to my customers.

My only real complaint with the ATA Show is that when I was there a couple of years ago, I saw people from overseas walking around with tape measures and cameras. They seemed to be taking pictures and documenting what we have at the ATA Show. I assume they were planning to knock off the ATA Show in their countries. If those were their motives and intentions, they shouldn’t be allowed on the floor. It’d be difficult for ATA to kick someone out, especially if they have a booth, but I just felt like these people had ulterior motives for having booths at our Show. Just my two cents.

Chris Scott

Lancaster Archery Supply

Lancaster, Pennsylvania

We go to look for the diamond amidst the sea of coal. It’s all about trying to locate the latest and greatest product, whether it’s something new or something that hasn’t been heavily publicized just yet. We want to stay ahead of the trends. 

For us, the ATA Show is somewhat about special buys on merchandise, but it’s more about building new relationships or seeing to those that we’ve already made with vendors. Networking is a good way to learn about what’s happening across the industry because vendors talk amongst themselves. There are specific people who tell me what they’re seeing and hearing about the most at the Show, and then they can point me to specific booths. If we’re constantly hearing the same thing, we know we need to focus on that specific item.

I’ve been to some of the learning opportunities the Show offers. The seminars are a place to connect and network with other dealers. I’d certainly encourage new dealers to check out all of the learning opportunities they can. Again, it’s a great networking platform. 

I’ve made many good connections with other dealer members. I now have shops I can call to discuss trends and make sure that I’m seeing the broad picture. We’re all in the same business, and having that support from one another is great. 

For complaints, I believe some vendors could do better at selling the product and not just showing it. I’m the customer. I’m there to buy. There are many instances in which I’ve stood in booths for 10-15 minutes waiting to be acknowledged. Again, I’m the customer. It doesn’t matter how good the product is. If I don’t get support in the beginning, that’s a bad sign.


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