President's Message: Business Is Local

Posted by Kenyon Gleason on 3/15/22 10:21 AM

I’ve been reflecting the past couple years on the growing availability of products in our industry, available for sale online. With the COVID pandemic, online giants like Amazon, Walmart and others reaped a windfall of profits because many were stuck at home, afraid to go out for fear of spreading the virus or just not wanting to deal with the mask mandates.

Decades ago, the late Thomas P. "Tip" O'Neill, Jr., Speaker of the House of Representatives, became rather well known for saying, "All politics is local." What he meant by that is that a politician’s success is overwhelmingly impacted by his ability to understand, work on and lobby for the issues his constituents most care about. Usually, those were not “big ideas” but simple, run-of-the-mill and everyday concerns impacting common citizens. He suggested that if you mastered the ability to represent those “local concerns” at a national level, then you’d be a success. I believe he was right.

I’m going to suggest today that like politics, all business is local. And we do ourselves and our neighbors a great disservice if we forget that. Your local retailer, like your local politician to a certain extent, can be your advocate on getting the things you need, sharing tips and tricks, working hard to service your firearms, maybe offering a place to shoot and test, and providing great advice about ammunition, optics and other accessories that match your firearm. Plus, when you buy something locally, and something is wrong or you need to return it, local retailers are there to help. When you buy from big online suppliers, that’s not always the case.

I don’t think I’m spreading any big secret here, but large online vendors are interested mostly in profits. Your local retailer is of course interested in profits too, but they also have a vested interest in you as their customer, because they see you face to face. You’re not some faceless or anonymous buyer out in the hinterlands. You’re their neighbor and in many cases their friend. This is true all the way through the distribution channel, from consumer to retailer to wholesaler and all the way to the supplier. These companies and suppliers have built relationships spanning decades in many cases. Who at the big online retailer cares about you like your local retailer will? I kind of think that might be a little different story.

The last couple years have been especially profitable for major, online companies. However, our main street businesses were not as fortunate. And that’s an absolute shame. It’s shameful particularly because those giant online behemoths are not supporting the local baseball and soccer teams or donating money to keep the fields and facilities looking good. They certainly aren’t paying taxes or employees locally. Those companies are probably not assisting the local American Legion with its programs or the local gun range with new targets or upgraded benchrests.

All those community projects and programs happen because local businesses and local donors dig in and dig deep to donate and volunteer their time to make sure those charitable efforts are a success. When you buy online, you may have saved a few dollars, true… but the bulk of that purchase went to line the pockets of big companies who oftentimes don’t represent you or your values in any way. And those dollars did not go into the pockets of your community members who could have put them to very good use.

When I go shopping, I like to see the items, read the boxes, check out the demo models and get my eyes and hands on the item if I can. It helps me understand the quality, the fit, finish, etc. I either walk away empty-handed because the item didn’t pass my standards test, or I walk away with the product in hand. Seems I almost always walk away with a few things I didn’t expect to pick up when I walked through the door. (My wife does NOT need to know this so ssshhh!)

Admittedly, it’s been a bit hard to walk away with products from your local retailer over the past couple years because demand has been ridiculous, and supply has been thin. But now, as things return from the stratosphere, store inventories are starting to replenish. I was very pleasantly surprised to find a whole wall of ammunition in a variety of calibers relevant to me, along with a diverse selection of guns, when I made a visit to a local sporting goods store this past weekend.

Of course, there are sometimes good reasons to buy things online, particularly if they aren’t available in your local area. And darn if it isn’t convenient.

I guess when I boil it all down, what I’m asking is that folks in our industry please just consider as much as possible the broader implications of ignoring our small family owned and main street gun shops, along with local businesses outside of our industry. When we choose to buy things online, which are available close to home, we are putting at risk a lot more than we might realize. If a local gun shop is relegated to just the “gun transfer hub” because folks are buying all their ancillary products online, what incentive does that business have to remain open at all? I’d prefer not to have them even consider closing the doors. Government regulation makes staying in business hard enough. We don’t need to make it harder for them buy doing all our shopping online.

So, I’d just like to encourage you to do as much of your business as local as possible. It’ll be good for your community, and it will definitely be good for the long-term viability of our industry and the retail community who supports us.

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The NASGW Launches SCOPE PLX, the First Industry-Wide Product Information Management System for Shooting Sports

Posted by NASGW on 3/10/22 8:00 AM

Ankeny, IA (March 9, 2022) - The National Association of Sporting Goods Wholesalers (NASGW), the association representing shooting sports wholesalers, manufacturers and their trade partners, takes one big step toward product standardization across the industry with its launch of SCOPE PLX (Product Link Exchange) this week. 

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February Legislative Update from the NSSF

Posted by National Shooting Sports Foundation on 2/28/22 4:37 PM

In Washington, D.C.,… President Joe Biden’s gun control agenda has remained stalled for the most part. Regardless, he used the fourth anniversary of the Parkland, Fla., tragedy to call on Congress to do more and enact more of his gun control program. Still, 43 different gun control groups and advocates signed on to a letter urging the president to do more and they’re getting increasingly frustrated and deflated by his inaction.

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Chairman’s Message: Dealing With Disruption

Posted by Chris Means on 2/28/22 4:21 PM

The last two to three years have been a whirlwind, if you haven't noticed. It seems like it's been one challenge after another. From Covid to riots, supply chain issues to staffing shortages, more supply chain issues and major inflation. When will it all end? And just recently, we've been glued to the TV watching the invasion of Ukraine, knowing very well this will lead to some form of disruption, the first impact probably being oil and gas prices.

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President's Message: The Proof is in the Pudding

Posted by Kenyon Gleason on 2/15/22 10:38 AM

There have been plenty of times when I’ve looked at people and wondered, “What in the world are they thinking?” But have you ever stared back at your own face in the mirror and wondered that about yourself?

You might say I’ve been doing a lot of self-reflection over the past five or six months. For those who read this column regularly, you’ll remember that my wife and I sent our youngest son off to college last fall. That made us empty nesters for the first time in over 25 years.

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January Legislative Update from the NSSF

Posted by National Shooting Sports Foundation on 1/31/22 4:03 PM

In the Nation’s Capital, federal legislation impacting hunting and recreational shooting have all mostly stalled as attentions are quickly turning to the federal election midterms, only 10 months away. President Joe Biden learned that after his first year, Americans bought nearly the same number of firearms during the first years of both President Donald Trump and President Barack Obama combined. U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Stephen Breyer announced his retirement after the current term finishes. There are also several federal court cases involving the firearm industry to watch, including the Mexican Government bringing suit against U.S.-based firearm manufacturers for the gun violence within their own borders, as well as the NSSF-led challenge to New York’s expansion of their “public nuisance” law to allow anyone to sue firearm manufacturers for the crimes committed by criminals in New York using stolen and trafficked firearms.

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Chairman’s Message: Time Will Tell

Posted by Chris Means on 1/31/22 2:25 PM

Reflecting back on this year’s SHOT Show, I have mixed reviews. For one, the absence of many non-essential people made it much easier to maneuver the aisles on the way to meetings and avoided the 5 minute scramble of someone trying to find the person we were scheduled to see. Coming off two record years for our industry, attitudes were very positive. Our vendor partners are still hesitant to offer any special programs as there are still pockets of strong demand. However, we are starting to see the inevitable slowdown and the accompanying overstocks. Despite our best efforts, it’s impossible to perfectly predict when to shut orders down while still capitalizing on sales opportunities. That’s why vendor communication is critical and a unified voice from NASGW members is needed. So now we press forward and get creative again in our business strategies, something we tend to ignore when demand draws inventory down and customers are eager to prepay to get more.

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Coreware Partners with NASGW to Expand Retail Sales Data in SCOPE CLX

Posted by NASGW on 1/17/22 4:01 PM

Ankeny, IA (January 17, 2022) -

Coreware, a leading point of sale platform in the shooting sports industry has partnered with NASGW to expand SCOPE CLX, a retail sales data platform designed to analyze consumer buying trends.

Coreware’s support of SCOPE CLX will help NASGW advance its goal to grow the shooting sports industry by collecting, standardizing and analyzing data. The addition of Coreware will add anonymous sales from over 300 stores, making SCOPE CLX the largest sample of the independent FFL market.

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President's Message: Who Are You?

Posted by Kenyon Gleason on 1/14/22 1:38 PM

During my professional career, I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to be involved in many strategic reviews, branding campaigns, and analyzing the overall mission and vision of a variety of employers.

Sometimes these strategic reviews consist of a small “update” to an existing plan. And in some cases, the process is much more comprehensive, in-depth, and ends up creating a complete overhaul.

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Chairman’s Message: Goodbye 2021, Hello 2022

Posted by Chris Means on 1/3/22 12:39 PM

Happy New Year! As we close out 2021, I’m filled with a sense of accomplishment for the goals I’ve fulfilled in my work and personal life, but a little emotional for the events that filled my life with joy and pride. I’m not one to wish away the years, but I think we can all agree that we’ll be relieved to see America grow out of the restraints of COVID and political challenges. We have a pile of work to do before we get back to “normal”, but we are resilient. We’ve survived many attacks on our industry and have continued to grow stronger. We haven’t faced our last hurdle, by any means, but will carry what we’ve learned from the battles we’ve won into 2022 with an increased fervor!

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