Built on Family Values

Zanders Sporting Goods has evolved into a one-stop shop for retailers.

Built on Family Values

If you’re in the shooting sports retail market you’re likely familiar with the name Zanders. The family-owned business started as a small retail operation nearly 60 years ago and has since evolved into a large domestic and international sporting goods distributor.

When Glenn and Verna Zanders started the business, they fished commercially, bought and sold furs and gradually started to add firearms, ammunition and shooting supplies.  During the early 1980s the company moved from the retail market to distribution and for the next 30 years, supplied and outfitted shooting enthusiasts throughout the region. Today, the company continues to operate with the same values and integrity that it started with, and is still supplying and supporting the shooting world (domestic and international) with its ever-increasing line of products. 

Shooting Sports Retailer recently caught up with Stefanie Zanders, president and COO of Zanders Sporting Goods, to talk about the company and its place in the industry.

SSR: How has being a family- and woman-owned business influenced company culture?

Zanders: Our company culture and the way we operate hasn’t changed much over the years – woman-owned or otherwise. Sure, we’ve grown, evolved, expanded and kept pace with the times, but our core values to our employees and customers have remained the same. Our employees are still family and our customers are still business partners.  The success of our business is reliant on the success of them both. 


SSR: What challenges has the past year of supply interruptions combined with increased demand brought?

Zanders: The past year has been unprecedented in a multitude of ways — as with most companies, I suspect. I’ve been in this industry for over 20 years and have seen the ebb and flows as a result of politics, social unrest and disturbances, but there is no comparison to the past year. We continue to work with our manufacturers and suppliers to keep the supply of products flowing. Given the extreme demand, it can be challenging — the supply is just not there. Our close relationship with our suppliers over the years has paid off greatly. Patience and understanding goes a long way, but keeping in constant contact and stressing the importance of supply in this market is key.


SSR: How do you see the industry evolving?

Zanders: In 2020, 40% of all firearm sales went to first-time buyers. At first glance, one may think that is a tremendous and encouraging statistic to see for our industry. I’m concerned a large portion of that was driven from fear and panic and I don’t know how that variable plays out. Another concern is the number of calls I have received throughout the country from scholastic trap teams and gun clubs that have to disband and close due to the unavailability of product, and that directly affects the evolution of our industry. There is a lot of noise out there right now and no way to know what’s to come. I do think that change is coming and change is already here, for all industries. We have already seen an unprecedented change in the way we conduct business, domestically and globally.         


SSR: What have traditionally been some of your top-performing product lines?

Zanders: Zanders has had its traditional brands that have been a staple for us for decades. Companies like Browning, Ruger, S&W, Beretta, and Henry have been imperative for Zanders Sporting Goods and we’re looking forward to continuing to grow our brands for many years to come. With the large spike in firearm purchases in recent years and the number of new hunters across the country, we have also noticed our accessory and archery categories climbing in popularity. Manufacturers like Real Avid, Bulldog Cases, Ravin Crossbows, and Ten Point have allowed us to round out our inventory to make Zanders Sporting Goods a one-stop shop for our dealers.


SSR: How do you determine what product lines you’ll carry? 

Zanders: When looking at new products we like to support two-step distribution. We want the products we offer to be top quality, priced competitively and desirable. Typically, we try to do a soft release of a new product to test the marketplace.  


SSR: You’re the exclusive distributor of the Impala Plus line of shotguns. Tell us about that line and its significance for Zanders. 

Zanders: Impala Plus Shotguns provided us with a unique opportunity to be the exclusive wholesaler of their products in the United States. We have been able to take over that brand and turn it into one of our top selling shotgun lines. With over 30 models to choose from, and features usually found on more expensive shotguns, we are excited to be the engine that drives this brand to our dealers and all of the shooters and hunters across the country. We will continue to evolve and grow this brand in the U.S. market and make it one of the most popular shotguns in its category.


SSR: Does Zanders have other exclusives?

Zanders: We are also the exclusive distributor for Eley Ammunition and the Bear lines of Ammunition (Golden Bear, Silver Bear, and Brown Bear), as well Athlon Optics and Anschutz Rifles. We are always looking for exclusives from our manufacturers, and work frequently with Cimarron, Iver Johnson and Ruger on special make-up items.


SSR: You’ve begun branching out into a wider range of outdoor and camping gear. Is that a move to serve a broader clientele or to better serve existing customers? 

Zanders: Both; we like to say that we are a one-stop shop and can provide our customers with everything they want in their store as well as products they didn’t realize they wanted to stock in their store.     


SSR: Tell us a little about what you’re doing in 2021 and beyond. What are you most excited about moving forward? 

Zanders: We are always expanding our technology and automation and this year is no different. Last year we invested heavily in automating a large portion of our warehouse to increase the amount of orders we can process daily. This year we will complete phase two of that project for the remaining portion of the warehouse, which will further expand our throughput. 


SSR: What does a retailer need to do to begin working with Zanders? Are there incentives or programs for new partners? 

Zanders: We try to make it as easy as possible for retailers to set up an account and start working with us. If they make the decision that they want to start doing business with Zanders Sporting Goods, the setup process should be quick and simple for them. Filling out our Dealer Request Form and submitting it with their FFL and resale certificate will get their account started. All of our forms can be found on our website, www.gzanders.com. 

We offer all of our customers the same great incentives, regardless of how big or small the retailer is. We want to make sure we’re supporting the smaller dealers as much as the large ones, as they have played a crucial role in helping Zanders Sporting Goods get to where we are today.



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