NASGW Expo Sets Tone For Business Year
By Jade Moldae
Nearly 2,000 wholesale, sales rep and industry executives converged on the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio to attend the 2017 NASGW Expo & Annual Meeting.
Held Oct. 17–20, the wholesale association’s 44th annual meeting featured almost 300 exhibitors from every segment of the industry and provided an ideal backdrop for the launch of 2018 new products and other programs to grow business.
“In an era when technology, deadlines, sales quotas and all the day-to-day noise can get in the way, the NASGW Expo offers an opportunity to meet face to face, with literally all the key people in our industry, in an environment designed exclusively for that purpose,” NASGW President Kenyon Gleason told SI.
The mood of the 2017 Expo was considerably different from the 2016 edition — held just two weeks prior to Election Day. While the industry has endured challenges as a result of the widespread
softening of the market since then, many attendees were upbeat about their prospects in the upcoming business year. Manufacturers and importers involved in certain segments (concealed carry, self-defense and sporting shotguns) reported sales didn’t quite match the heights of 2016, but were “strong” nonetheless. Other exhibitors shared similar viewpoints: It’s a challenging market, yes, but it’s not all doom and gloom — and Hillary is not the president.
Events like the NASGW Expo provide the spark to encourage new business partnerships and innovation, two things that will benefit companies in 2018. Gleason shared the 2017 Expo was a “great success” for the association “The show was successful once again because over and over, our attendees told us they were able to make new connections or expand existing business relationships and they appreciated being able to do it in an environment that is solely focused on getting business done,” he said.
NASGW is designed to help people and companies understand and utilize the wholesale distribution model — providing assistance and support to companies that are either considering a shift toward using distribution as a sales model or expanding their distribution efforts with sales and marketing teams.
“Our whole focus is to service our membership through strong, trusted relationships between shooting sports buyers and sellers,” Gleason stated.
As part of that service, the 2017 NASGW Expo facilitated the introduction of a couple new initiatives. For example, the Expo reintroduced a Range Day, allowing wholesale and sales rep members to handle manufacturers’ products personally.
“We added it to this year’s show to give manufacturers an opportunity to put their product in the hands of their sales rep groups, and into the hands of NASGW wholesale buyers. We’ll be working to upgrade our Range Day event for the next show,” Gleason relayed.
Gleason also announced a new measure that is in the midst of development by NASGW: A data and market intelligence program to help the shooting sports distribution channel. This platform will provide a single source for real-time data submissions and reporting between wholesaler and manufacturer partners.
“When implemented fully, this effort will give both wholesalers and manufacturers infinitely better information to make important and meaningful business decisions,” Gleason said. “In turn, this will have a strong impact on how the channel can better serve its retail customers.”
Details on this program were still being finalized at press time. Gleason relayed, once implemented, it will be made available to NASGW members.
Leon Brener, president of TxAT, pictured center with the TxAT team at the 2017 NASGW Awards Reception & Dinner, where the company was honored as the Importer of the Year — its second consecutive win in this category.
2017 Award Winners NASGW’s annual Expo Awards
Dinner maintained its decade-plus tradition of recognizing companies best demonstrating a commitment to the two-step distribution process and providing value and service to customers through its Leadership Awards.
The 2017 Leadership Award recipients were:
Firearm Manufacturer of the Year: Sturm, Ruger & Co.
Optics Manufacturer of the Year: Leupold & Stevens Inc.
Ammo Manufacturer of the Year: Hornady Mfg. Co.
Accessory Manufacturer of the Year: Magpul
Importer of the Year: TxAT/Aguila Ammunition
Innovator of the Year: O.F. Mossberg & Sons Inc.
A new award made its debut at the Expo Awards Dinner. NASGW partnered with POMA to create the NASGW-POMA Caliber Awards, which selected new products in six categories as well as an overall best new product. To qualify for the Caliber Awards, manufacturers must be a NASGW member in good standing, the product must have launched within the last year and products needed to be submitted through the NASGW Expo website.
The inaugural NASGW-POMA Caliber Award winners were:
Best Accessory: Leupold LTO Tracker
Best Optic: Trijicon RMR 2
Best Ammunition: DoubleTap Colt Defense
Best Handgun: SIG SAUER P320 X-Carry
Best Rifle: Bergara B-14 HRM
Best Shotgun: Remington 870 TAC-14
Best Overall Product: Mossberg 590 Shockwave
Save The Date
The 45th NASGW Expo & Annual Meeting will be held Oct. 16–19 at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh. Gleason shared the association will continue to expand and refine its show offerings to benefit members.
“When you get right down to it, our show in Pittsburgh will once again provide attendees with the best networking and sales meeting opportunities available,” he concluded.
For more information on the NASGW Expo & Annual Meeting, visit www.nasgwexpo.org.