President's Message: Standing Together, Standing Strong

Posted by Kenyon Gleason on 4/17/20 11:17 AM

KenyonGleason-5I want to go back in time just a few months, to October and our annual NASGW Expo and Annual Meeting in Orlando. Every year we kick off our show with an annual banquet and awards show. For those of you in attendance, you’ll remember I talked rather candidly about the tough year for shooting sports distribution in 2019.

The loss of multiple distributors last year was a hard blow to the supply channel, to manufacturers, and of course, to retailers who had built solid partnerships with those distributors over the years. Many were left wondering if the rest of the distribution channel would be able to “pick up the slack.” But of course, as they always seem to do, distributors stepped up, and continue to step up big time.

Seriously though, who could ever have predicted we’d put that all behind us only to face an even greater test in 2020?

During that dinner event, I used a visual demonstration of easily breaking a single pencil, because alone, we are easily broken. Then, I put a large number of pencils together, and of course, was unable to break the collective group.

I’m reminded of that demonstration again now, frequently. Our families, our communities, our country need to be reminded each and every day about the importance of sticking together, of fighting through this unprecedented situation… together.

Every day seems like a rollercoaster ride. One moment I’ll be excited and full of energy to look beyond this (and there is going to be a beyond this), and in the next moment, I’ll have my faith shaken just a smidgen as I hear of some ridiculous over-reaction to these “stay at home” guidelines. Honestly, there are plenty of examples that need some serious conversation once this is all said and done. Standing by and watching while our civil liberties get eroded, is simply not okay—more on that in a future column.

I’ll then be jolted back to reality when I see how folks in our industry, in particular, have risen to the challenge of the overwhelming demand for our products. I smile a big smile when I see the positive things we’ve accomplished by helping new gun owners take their safety back into their own hands. I get a proud sense of gratitude watching what colleagues from organizations like the National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors (NAW) and National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) have done to help our industry, and others, thrive while keeping the doors open during this critical time. In short, these partners of ours are doing what trade associations do; they’re fighting for you when it’s very hard for you to fight for yourself. And they are having a lot of success.

Groups like these don’t make the front-page news usually for their efforts, but their work and dedication are invaluable. Their connections, built over decades, come to bear in ways that are hard to even describe. In this issue of InSight, we’ve included a short note from the NSSF. If you’re not a member or you know others who are not, I’d encourage you to give it serious consideration. Their efforts over these past weeks have been superb.

As a final note, I also want to let you all know that NASGW continues to make plans for our annual Expo event in October. Of course, if fate conspires against us, we’ll adjust, but we’re strongly optimistic we’ll have this all behind us by then and that we’ll be able to have a fantastic reunion at the Gaylord Texan on October 20-23. Our registration will be opening up soon, and we’ll be getting you all the specifics on that in separate outreach. We are excited and know the responsibility we’ll shoulder as the first major industry event in many months, and we promise we’ll put on as good of a show as we’ve ever had.

Folks, none of us can do this alone. None of us alone can stand up to the stress and pressure. We need each other. It takes all of us standing together. And together, we will stand strong.

Until next time,

Kenyon Gleason
NASGW President

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