3 Archery Shop Owners Reveal Their Secrets for Success

Advice from veteran retailers can help archery shop owners — established and new alike — navigate through tough times and increase sales.

3 Archery Shop Owners Reveal Their Secrets for Success

Image courtesy of Archery Trade Association

We asked three veteran retailers "How long have you been in business, and what things have helped you along the way?"

Here’s what they had to say.

Marty Stubstad
Marty Stubstad

Marty Stubstad

Archery Headquarters, Rochester, Minnesota

Archery Headquarters been in business a long time — 42 years to be exact. Buying correctly has largely contributed to our long-standing success. I’ve been involved with ARRO Buying Group for so many years. Without question, it continually puts us in the right margins so we can be profitable, even as archery retailing becomes increasingly difficult.

This year, ARRO started branding its own merchandise with the Archer’s Pro Series. It’s going to be pretty cool. We have five manufacturers on board who are offering exclusive products with exclusive packaging to ARRO dealer members. We believe this step will help the buying group and its dealers, me included.

As for my team, I’ve been lucky in that folks have sought me out. I haven’t had very many employees over the years. Sure, I’ve lost some here and there, but with a good reputation, some have worked with me a long time. 

Times and technology have changed so much over my 42 years in business. The key has been staying on top of things and utilizing the tools available to us.

We’re also very in tune with our merchandise. With the speeds compound bows are reaching today, the need for expert tuning is so crucial, especially for bowhunters shooting broadheads. Our expert tuning and customer service have served our customers very well, and we’ve been able to achieve continued success because we know archery and we know equipment.

After all of these years in business, I’m still very passionate about archery and bowhunting. I started retailing 42 years ago to teach archery, and I hope my customers will see me as a teacher and want that face-to-face experience and the value that it entails.

I’m getting slightly frustrated with the innumerable channels through which consumers can purchase archery equipment. Many consumers are simply looking for the lowest prices and couldn’t care less about service. Still, we’ll do as we always have: reach out and shake hands, address customers we know by their first names, and deliver high-quality customer service they won’t forget. It’s worked for 42 years, and it’ll continue working into the future.

Ron Pelkey

Pelkey’s Archery, St. Albans, Vermont 

Pelkey’s Archery is a second-generation shop. My father opened in 1975.

Like most long-standing archery shops, I attribute much of our success to great service. We’ve worked diligently to build a community of archers.

Our youth programs (photo above) are another reason we’ve been so successful for so long. It was my father’s dream ever since he started the shop to teach archery to youth. When I joined my father after college, we had the staff and a newly built indoor shooting range to make his dream reality.

We started out slow with our youth programs and built them from the ground up. It began with  a half dozen kids on Saturday mornings. Today, we have 140 kids shooting weekly during the winter months.

Two members of my full-time staff are former JOAD students. They grew up through the program and went on to learn all facets of the business. It’s great to have them on my team. Lastly, we’re experts in our field. We’re an archery-only store. When folks shop here, they’re getting archery experts. We’ve always been known for our expertise. Beyond that, we maintain a family friendly atmosphere and make customer relations a priority. Those measures have served us well.

Scott Aase
Scott Aase

Scott Aase

Dakota Archery & Outdoor Sports, Yankton, South Dakota 

My enthusiasm for archery inspired me to launch Dakota Archery back in the 1980s. My interest formed during my Boy Scout years. I got serious about earning the archery merit badge. I took it as far as I could, and enjoyed it so much that I wanted to make it my career.

I started Dakota Archery in my hometown, which had a population of 1,500 at the time. I realized that running an archery store there was going to be very difficult, so we took a leap of faith and moved to Yankton, South Dakota, in 1985.

We’ve worked hard to build a pro shop with an expert staff, a range and high-end merchandise.

No matter how much you love something, it eventually wears you down. It’s easy to be excitable and enthusiastic when you first get started, but it definitely becomes challenging as time goes by. The trade shows reinvigorate my enthusiasm. They get me out of the grind for several days and give me a fresh new perspective that I can bring back to the store.

Finally, I believe my dedication has played into our success. Folks depend on me. Showing up and delivering good customer experiences creates lots of repeat business.


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