Strong Distribution Base

NASGW Expo Offers Valuable Launch For 2013 Business.

The National Association of Sporting Goods Wholesalers (NASGW) held its Expo & 39th Annual Meeting in early November in Orlando, Fla. The event was the association’s most successful yet, with manufacturers from all segments of the industry introducing their new products for 2013.

Maurice (Moe) Desmarais, NASGW president, attributes the event’s success to the ongoing increases in business within the industry.

“There is no doubt it’s due to the overall strength of the industry, and the growing awareness of what a strong distribution base can do for their business,” Desmarais said. “International customers are becoming more aware of the incredible networking potential offered by membership in the NASGW, which is creating growth in that segment, as well.”

Desmarais reports the Expo’s 428 exhibitor booths represented a 12-percent increase over the number of booths in 2011, and the 1,759 registered attendees was an increase of 19 percent.

“The NASGW has grown by 96 members in the last year, with 55 of those new members in the manufacturing division,” Desmarais said.

A number of the new NASGW members are established manufacturers, according to Laurie Aronson, Lipsey’s Inc. president and CEO, and the first woman to be elected to the association’s board of directors.

“Many manufacturers that have been around for a long time have recently joined because their distributor partners are active, and they are seeing the value of their networking, specifically in firearms-related products,” Aronson said.

The first day of the Expo was Nov. 6 and, with the reelection of President Obama, there was a lot of discussion about the potential for firearm restrictions and the impact on the industry.

“The political environment is one of the key factors that will set the pace for the firearms market over the next few years,” Aronson said. “Manufacturers should not let the political environment dictate their business operation, but should continue to innovate in products and business practices.”

The results of the national election did not dampen manufacturers’ enthusiasm for business during 2013.
“We’re looking forward to another period of exceptional sales and some great new product launches in the next few months,” said Jeff Goddard, Crimson Trace director of sales. “Crimson Trace will continue its firm commitment to our distribution network, and we anticipate expanding both the breadth and depth of our relationships in 2013.”

Longtime NASGW exhibitor XS Sight Systems reported an enthusiastic reception for its products at the show. Strong firearm sales are driving a huge demand for better sighting systems, according to Jon Pastusek, company president.

“Shooting is all about front sight acquisition and using intuitive rear sights that align quickly with the front sight, without obscuring your target. XS sights utilize your eye’s natural ability for quick sight alignment,” Pastusek said.

Walther Arms Inc. is a new member of NASGW and was a first-time exhibitor at the Expo. Smith & Wesson previously held U.S. distribution of the established firearm brand. On Jan. 1, that changed to the new company.

“All distribution, sales and marketing, light assembly, as well as warranty and repair service, will take place in the Ft. Smith (Ark.) facility,” said Cyndi Flannigan, Walther Arms vice president of sales and marketing, who says the reception at the show was “unbelievable.”

“It is far exceeding our expectations. It’s exciting because the support has been extraordinary from Germany. They are confident with the knowledge and experience of the president, Adam Blalock, and we are very enthusiastic about U.S. sales for the future,” Flannigan said.


Buyers consider new product offerings at Gamo Outdoor USA. Gamo’s new offerings
for 2013 include the Lethal Hunting Pellet in .177, the Whisper Fusion Air Rifle
and Zombie accessories.


Tom Taylor (center), Mossberg vice president of sales and marketing, accepts
the 2012 Innovator of the Year award from Kent Williams (left), NASGW vice
chairman, and Jack Baumler, NASGW chairman.

Honoring Commitment

NASGW presented its annual awards during its welcoming dinner. The association’s Leadership Awards recognize manufacturers “who best demonstrate a commitment to two-step distribution and who provide outstanding value and service.”

For the second year in a row, Leupold & Stevens was honored with the Optics Manufacturer of the Year award.

“We believe our relationships with distributors are extremely important. We’re glad they have recognized our efforts to support and serve their needs,” said Kevin Trepa, Leupold & Stevens vice president of global sales and business development.

Birchwood Casey was named the Accessories Manufacturer of the Year.

“At Birchwood Casey, we strive to provide the best service possible to our customers on all levels. To be recognized five years in a row for our efforts means a lot to everyone on the Birchwood Casey team,” said Mike Wenner, Birchwood Casey vice president of sporting goods.

Hornady Manufacturing was honored as the Ammunition Manufacturer of the Year.

“The Hornady mission is to provide customers throughout our industry with innovative products, sales programs, shipping and customer service. We are honored that our dedication to the ammunition industry has been recognized for the third time in a row with this prestigious award,” said Steve Hornady, company president.

For the sixth consecutive year, Sturm, Ruger & Co. received the Firearms Manufacturer of the Year award. Chris Killoy, Ruger vice president of sales and marketing, said the company is committed to the development and timely delivery of innovative new products.

“We also focus on marketing promotions and communication tools that will benefit distributors of Ruger firearms, as strong wholesaler support and cooperation are vital to our success,” Killoy said.

The 2012 Chairman’s Award for Industry Leadership was presented to Olympian Kim Rhode, the first U.S. athlete competing in an individual sport to win medals in five consecutive Olympics.

“Kim Rhode sets the bar for accomplishment, and is a fantastic spokesperson for our industry. We are pleased to present her this year’s 2012 Chairman’s Award,” said Jack Baumler, NASGW chairman.

NASGW also presented new Excellence in Manufacturing Awards.

Nikon Inc. was honored for Excellence in Optics Manufacturing.

Crimson Trace was recognized for Excellence in Accessory Manufacturing.

“What makes this award special is it’s decided by the distributors themselves. We’re enormously honored to be chosen by the people who provide the link to the end user,” said Jeff Goddard, Crimson Trace director of sales.

Winchester Ammunition was presented the Excellence in Ammunition Manufacturing award.

Glock Inc. was honored for Excellence in Firearms Manufacturing.

“This award is a testament to our hard work and dedication to delivering our best, every day. We are in great company among the other award winners in the optics, accessory and ammunition categories,” said Josh Dorsey, Glock vice president.

NASGW also presented the 2012 Innovator of the Year award, another new category this year. The award was presented to O.F. Mossberg & Sons Inc.

“New product development is truly a team effort at Mossberg. Each member of the team is dedicated to developing, manufacturing and marketing the most technologically advanced, highest-quality firearms in the industry. We are very focused on increasing our distribution partners’ sales, profits and product demand,” said Tom Taylor, Mossberg vice president of sales and marketing.


Dan Eliasson, Redring sales and marketing manger, presents a demo stand
that is part of the company’s dealer package.

Supporting The Industry

At the Expo, NASGW announced grants to three nonprofit organizations to support industry efforts in advancing youth sports and congressional support.

A $10,000 donation was presented to the Youth Shooting Sports Alliance, a $25,000 grant was awarded to the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, and a $10,000 donation was presented to the USA Olympic Shooting Team.

Mark Your Calendars

This year’s NASGW Expo & Annual Meeting will be held Oct. 29 through Nov. 1, 2013, at the Gaylord Texan Resort & Convention Center, Grapevine, Texas.
By Ray Oeltjen

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