Contributors to this thread:
In everyone’s opinion, are the brick and mortar stores a thing of the past?
Would you as a bow hunter patronize a great archery shop that actually has customer service and great winter leagues?
What are your opinions on what this shop needs to have and do to be successful?
Pro shops are needed. It's a crap shoot at anything having done at a big box store. IMO
Unfortunately, "pro" shops are a crap shoot also. When you find a good one, darn right support it! Need to have knowledgeable folks that understand taking care of people. Not easy to do all the time, but that is what is needed.
I will always support a local archery shop as the first option, as long as the service/price is reasonably close to what I can get elsewhere. I understand that many times they don’t have the ability to carry multiple brands/models of bows or accessories, so if they need to order what I want, I’ll wait. Again, within reason. If they can’t meet the above criteria, I’ll look elsewhere.
Case in point, I ordered a stabilizer in a certain color when I bought a new bow in early February. 4 months later, he still hadn’t placed the order. Said he hadn’t found a supplier. I made a call to another shop in another state. I had the new stabilizer in less than a week. THAT’S how a local shop loses customers.
One also has to realize that a Pro Shop has to make money, in order to do that you have to patronize the store. He has to mark up the items to make money....many say...."oh I can get that rest a lot cheaper on EBay or Amazon". Then a month later when the shop is closed they wonder why.
When I had my shop open I was the only guy within a 60 mile radius. There is NO possible way to earn a living with a shop like that unless you have a website and try to compete with the Amazon's of the world. I can't even count how many times I fixed, tuned, installed and/or adjusted bows and accessories that were either mail-ordered or bought at a big box store, then brought to me because they couldn't figure it out themselves. Only to find out that I had that item in stock for the same price.
It's a different world now. It's too easy to sit on the couch and search gear, then order it shipped right to your door, then you-tube how to do it.
I'd say brick and mortar archery shops without an on-line catalog are a thing of the past. Soon to be extinct. This forum is a great example... you can find out how to do almost anything archery related here.
A good tech at a reputable box store location is priceless. Those locations will continue to thrive. Those of you lucky enough to live in one of those areas are blessed.
X2 “A good tech at a reputable box store location is priceless.”
When I lived in Mn, I frequented one called Cabin Fever, in Prior Lake. They also had extensive fishing, and quite a bit of gun stuff. I think it would be extremely tough to make it in an archery only store.
My place Southwestern Archery in shipman has shooting lanes including indoor 3 d Rineharts video archery and leagues along with kid things. Great place and a lot of people drive over an hour and half to get there. Owners boy is on pse pro staff. In Shipman Illinois.
I ran archery and gun shops/depts and was in retail management for many years (20) ... having a well stocked shop is a must and foremost being able to do the work needed on customers equip. is the top priority, so one has to know what they are doing and what they talk about when giving advice, this includes all employees ... having extra curricular activities helps for sure and keeps people coming back and gives a reason to come back, esp. In the off season/slow periods ... as for myself, I dont go to shops unless it would be for warranty on a bow purchased there, I purchase online and do all the work myself ..why, because I have the knowledge to do so, but not everyone does, and that is what a well respected shop is for ..
I try always try ans support my local shop but some have terrible customer. I'll drive 3-4hrs for great service. Like stated it's a crap shoot when it comes to good techs.
Many "pro" shops shot themselves in the foot by chastising customers that wanted something other than the one set up they shot, not having any more skills than an average shooter, stocking only bow manufacturer that they make big margin on even though they had less to offer than many others, trying to sell guys bows that were way more money than made sense......
“All Reedy’s,All The Time “
I used to go to Reedys Charlie. Chris is a great guy and runs a great shop. Even went on a bear hunt with him in 2000.
Have not been to his place in over 15 years. No need to go. I Can buy and learn online. It’s worked fine for me but I am sure they still do a great job for folks who want to be taken care of by others.
I just don’t need to spend the extra 20% premium on everything
Mail order will be the death of archery shops.
We have Turners Outdoors in So Cal that is Guns #1, fishing and archery. I happened to talk to the CEO one day and he said they try real to make the archery side a viable buisness but people dont want to work that hard to learn archery. They sell alot of guns. They have some really good techs too so hope they stick it for awhile.
My bad just trying to keep the little guy in business oh the horror
all my significant purchases are usually at a store for bows, sights and things like that, but online for arrows and other incidentals. The leagues are pretty fun. I have bought a few bows off Archery Talk just to try some new things. One thing that's been difficult for me is I'm left handed and if a store has 100 bows, they have like 1 lefty so I can't try things before I buy them for the most part. I get that there are fewer lefties, and it's an investment to stock a store so they should have fewer, but many have 0 left handed items. Another pet peeve of the shops are it takes about 2+ hours to buy something because everyone is BSing about "that buck" from 1990 and how they put it on their death trap 3-wheeler. I do like a good mullet story though.....good times.
Remember the days when your local shop was also a check-in station. Every evening after the hunt you would head over a see what rolls in and share what saw on that evening`s hunt or the rut. Sadly those days are gone too.
I wish I had a good shop local, if you do have one take care of them so they are there to take care of you as long as it’s a good shop. When you get in a pinch amazon and eBay won’t be there fast enough to do you any good.
The Bow Rack in Oregon...Been around a long time!
I will pay more and wait longer at a local pro shop to do business with guys who know their stuff and provide great attention to detail, are responsive, and reliable. Gannett Ridge in Fort Collins, CO is my trusted shop for my compound needs.
For trad gear, I'm my own "pro shop", but it works both ways.
I do 85% at my local proshop. Yes their are times I get stuff mail. I really dont need a proshop to do anything. I have two bow presses, a draw board, third axis tool. 5 different Fletching jigs, cut off saw and so on. But I still have my proshop do work for me, but I pay him well for doing it.
Pretty much mail order only stuff I want and he doesn't have. With not having any one to go to 3d shoots any more I dont spend that much on stuff the last 5 years. I remember back in the day going to 3, 4, and even 5 3d shoots a month with 150 maybe even 200 guys at one. Now lucky to see 25 at these local clubs shoots. I will say the xbow had something to do with the fall off at proshops. Xbow guys don't fiddle or tinker with their xbows like the regular bow guys do. They also hold on to them xbows alot longer Shooting a lot less bolts. Ed
I think it would be pretty tough to make a go of it from what I have seen. Most local archery clubs have a winter league. I don’t see that being a big draw.
Many shops shoot themselves in the foot. I have done most of my own work through the years, including changing string sets, tuning, etc. I took my two bows into a shop for a quick go over. They wanted to do a complete tune. I hesitated, but agreed. Then they, (thankfully), started to write up a work order on specifics they were going to do. Some of the stuff was totally unnecessary and was not what I wanted. They insisted. I packed up my bows and quickly exited. They also had wanted me to purchase a new release because mine was "old technology." I shoot very well with my "old technology." I went on to shoot a 5 x 5 mulie on a spot and stalk hunt several weeks later with a 56 yard shot. Haven't been to that shop since. I do appreciate good shops and have traveled 2 and a half hours.
There is a local one with a range that seems pretty busy but if you go in and mention that you don't shoot wheels they have NO products for you to buy.
Bob has it right. And to be honest it won't be long before one of the major bow brands (or a new major) goes online and deals direct to the public. As soon as that happens it will be an avalanche that follows...
I believe Martin archery is already doing that.
There is an excellent pro shop, Itasca Archery, 7 miles from me. Gary has been in business for 40 years. He is well connected in the industry. Has an indoor range and an outdoor 28 target 3D course. He has taken a big interest in traditional in recent years as well and is serving that as well. He does all my work and great to deal with. He has competition, but his knowledge and service has served him well.
It’s hard for me to buy accessories at the local shop with their high mark up. I try and buy small items there like vanes and glue. They do put strings on my bow every year or so and get some money from me for labor.
I do most through our local shop. There are things that are direct to consumer that I will order, and if something is considerably cheaper than I would go that route as well. I think now more than ever, it is of utmost importance for pro shop staff to be knowledgable, helpful and have great service. Otherwise the "value" just isn't there. We are no longer in a time when they are your only option.
I would support a local archery store IF it had a good selection of items that I want to buy and IF the prices were competitive with online prices.
There's a pro shop in Arena, WI I patronize. They have a good product selection, their customer service is great, and it is always done in a timely manner,...sure you pay for it but how are you going to get the same level of service off Amazon? This is one of the few actual pro shops left in southern WI that's any good. When they all are gone we'll miss 'em! Keep them in business by buying there, that's the only way!
Where I am we have a couple well stocked shops with 10 miles of me. I use one exclusively as the guys there know their stuff and are also great friends. They do well and at least for now no signs of them hurting for business. Flying Arrow in East Greenbush NY is my go to shop!! Shawn
Do you guys who like to keep the little guy afloat even when you don’t really need them also have a third party change your oil and cut your grass even though you know how to do both for a fraction of the cost
Archery Pro shops in my area are pretty much a thing of the past. Saw the writing on the wall years ago, bought my own equipment and learned how to use it.
A good friend of mine closed the doors a decade ago primarily due to inconsistent inventory turn over. Told me later, had he known about the sales potential on Ebay, he might still be in business. Given the changes to Ebay over the years, I'm not sure that would be true today?
lacrosse archery in LaCrosse wis is top notch!
I too support my local shop every chance I get. I've got one 5 minutes from my work that I never go to and another one 30 minutes away that I support every chance I get.
I just discovered a shop 40 minutes away from me. Couldn't believe what they had to offer! 2 stories with 2 sets of lanes out to 35 yds., video archery, and both owners are certified level 2 and level 3 archery coaches. They sell Hoyt, Mathews, Bowtech, and Bear. Prices were the same as Scheels, etc.
I started taking some coaching to learn how to properly shoot a hinge. They took slow-mo video from several angles, critiqued my form, etc. Only $20 for an hour. Lanes are $9/hr., video archery $9/half hr. Great, knowledgeable guys and a great place.
Archery Sales isn't a lucrative business by any means - most that have a shop do it because of their love for archery... Like many have suggested - if you have a decent shop - give them your business as much as you can... Saving a couple of dollars online doesn't mean a lot if you have no one to answer your questions or help you out when issues arise...
A good pro shop is gold. I'm lucky to have a few inside 90' of my house. one 30' away and the 90' one being the one Charlie noted. Having those options at hand is hugely valuable. I know I dont know a lot, and the help of a good pro is tremendous!
Archery shops are like Auto repair shops... if you dont have the knowledge or the time or the equipment to do it yourself, you go to the shops ... anything archery related I do my own, auto related I can do some on my own, but dont have the rack nor tools to do other stuff ... I'll still buy from Rock Auto and have a shop do it if needed ...
Have a small sports shop where I live, they reduced their archery lanes from 6 to 2. Ask the owner what was the reason, he said there were less shooters since selling majority x-bows with less practice and needed the space for a bigger fishing selection. Sad situation where the direction of archery has gone. He carries about 6 compounds and a wall of x-bows, reality bites.
a lot less accessories to be sold for those crossthingys too ...