Remembering the Challenges of 2020 and Looking Forward to 2021

We asked three veteran retailers: “How did you cope with 2020’s challenges?” Here’s what they had to say.

Remembering the Challenges of 2020 and Looking Forward to 2021

The year 2020 will never be forgotten for those who endured it. To put a period on the year, we thought it would be interesting and informative to look back. We asked three veteran archery shop retailers: “How did you cope with 2020’s challenges, and how will you strive to make 2021 your best year yet?” Here’s what they had to say.

John Schaffer

Schaffer Performance Archery

Burnsville, Minnesota

One thing in particular that proved to be very important for 2020 was having good inventory in the store. This allowed us to have sufficient product to sell despite all the manufacturer shutdowns that occurred, as well as the backorders that resulted. Having a solid inventory in the store was key to being successful in 2020.

Our store traditionally buys narrow, but deep. In other words, we don’t offer tons of different products, but we purchase a large supply of the ones we do offer. This allows us to have good relationships with the manufacturers we buy with. That afforded us some benefits when it came to manufacturers deciding who they were going to ship to.

We switched over almost exclusively to appointments to help mitigate traffic in the store. In doing so, we were able to smooth out our days rather than have the unmanageable days like we’ve had in past years. It worked so well that we’ll continue doing that as much as possible. We’ll keep business hours, but we highly encourage folks to make appointments. It allows us to spend quality time with each customer, which is best for both parties.

In 2021, our goal will be the same as it’s always been. We strive to give all clients the best customer experience possible, not just in our area or even just in archery, but anywhere they’ll ever go in their lifetimes. We are going to be unrelenting on that front. That type of experience is becoming a rarity. Now more than ever, as people have increased online shopping, folks who value face-to-face business will greatly appreciate the quality customer experience we provide here.


Marc Ridenour

Archery Central

Caldwell, Idaho

State laws shut us down for a little while when the COVID-19 outbreak hit, and then after that, we basically had to do drop-offs and pick-ups. It couldn’t last. We had so many people messaging us on social media and calling the shop that we couldn’t afford to be closed. Customer service is what we strive for most, and since there are only two shops in the Treasure Valley, archers and bowhunters rely on what we offer.

We also have a lot of people from out of state moving to Idaho, especially around the Boise area, where a lot of good things are happening. That made the shutdown a smaller pill to swallow. The amount of new people to the area, and the increase in bowhunting interest, made for outstanding business following the end of lockdown. We actually had to hire another employee just to keep up.

Our greatest challenge during 2020 was getting product as a result of manufacturer shutdowns. Once the manufacturers started shipping, it was so difficult to keep product in stock. The consumer response was outstanding. Stuff was flying off the shelves. Even if someone came in looking for brand A, we’d explain that we were out and then show them an alternative brand. Most would buy that alternative product without hesitation. It was especially that way with arrows.

For 2021, we’re working on bringing in lots of merchandise so that we aren’t short again this year. It’s already a challenge getting manufacturers to ship product. And I understand why; lots of materials come from overseas. Supply definitely isn’t keeping up with demand. Hopefully, the manufacturers keep doing everything they can to make 2021 a great year for us.


Theresa Greer

Music City Archery

Nashville, Tennessee

During the shutdowns, we were able to continue operating. We were able to offer private lessons or pro-shop sales and services by appointment. We were certainly down in sales 90%, but at least we were able to do some business. We also offered one-on-one outdoor sessions.

Archery was actually listed as an essential business because it’s considered “exercise.” Still, most of our customer base was scared to come out during and even following the lockdowns. Even though they were allowed to go out, most folks chose not to.

Over summer, we were still under restriction. We had to limit capacity to ensure social distancing. As a result, we could use only one-third of our range. Instead of 18 lanes, we were able to use only six. That had a huge impact on the number of customers we were able to serve at a time. That was a big struggle. To compensate for that, we added more classes and time slots.

Another big struggle we had was receiving orders. Everything throughout most of 2020 seemed to be backordered or out of stock. We were very low on many products we typically carry because our suppliers just couldn’t meet the demand.

For 2021, getting back to full capacity will help. At the beginning of 2020, our class capacities were up before the pandemic struck. So, we hope to see similar tendencies that last through the entire year. We don’t plan on changing many things up for 2021. We’ll continue to focus on offering the customer service and expertise that all of our loyal customers have come to expect from us. That, we hope, will make 2021 and beyond great years in business.


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