Chairman’s Message: Preparing for 2024

Posted by Bill Sumner on 1/2/24 4:59 PM

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Well, we’ve wrapped up another year, hard to believe. It seems like we’re always amazed by how fast the year slips by. I’m grateful to have worked in the industry for more than 25 years. My early years were lost to many long weekends and holidays in retail, until finally landing a sales position in distribution. I spent nearly 10 years with RSR before transitioning roles and my family to Chattanooga, Tennessee. Ten years later, I’m honored to have the opportunity to run and manage the day-to-day operations of Chattanooga Shooting Supplies, Inc. as their President. For those of us who have landed in distribution, NASGW has always been part of our annual travel. A coveted time of back-to-back business meetings with our manufacturing partners. Though the show had always been the focus, today, NASGW has become so much more.  

As we reflect on what we’ve learned, where we’ve succeeded, and what we could have done differently, we must not lose sight of what’s to come. Historically, elections years have been good for our industry; and 2024 could likely prove to be the same. Economists aren’t as bullish this coming year, with consumer spending likely facing some challenges. The excess of the pandemic has certainly waned, personal savings are down from past years, wage gains are finally leveling off, and mortgage rates continue to climb in a cooling housing market. But despite these setbacks, we as an industry can again defy the odds. To do so, we must all do our part; no longer riding the coattails of a pandemic or taking undue credit from a boost caused by an overseas conflict. Instead, we must promote, support, and re-engage our consumers.

Our reliance on overstocked inventory liquidations won’t last forever, nor should they be part of any manufacturers’ long-term plans. Instead, it's innovation and new product releases that will help drive our market this coming year. With SHOT show just weeks away, distribution and manufacturing have an opportunity to debut new and innovative product that will inspire the masses to spend. Let’s ensure that we’re strategic with our investments, supporting our manufacturers and continue to be aggressive with our promotions. Getting back to the basics might seem simplistic, but many of you know the challenge that it will likely present this year.

Let’s not work in vain nor forget about the tools that we have at our disposal. Tools like NASGW’s SCOPE platform have become the industry standard in data analytics and more businesses are leveraging the insight it provides to analyze and forecast for the past, present and future. Beyond data, NASGW has been working hard to build partnerships within the industry for insurance, banking, logistics and more. We all think of NASGW as just an annual show but it is becoming so much more. NASGW is an organization that brings unity within competitors, supports our manufacturers, and advocates for our God given freedoms. I’m truly honored to serve as your Chairman of the NASGW over the next couple of years and look forward to working alongside so many great companies and individuals. 

Here is to a prosperous 2024 and many more successful years to come.

Until next time,

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Bill Sumner

NASGW Chairman

 

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