April 24, 2023
Let’s Talk Expo | NSSF Range-Retailer Business Expo
July will be here before we know it, and with it, the Range-Retailer Business Expo in Milwaukee. Brenna McCoubrey, Marketing Manager for White Birch Armory in Dover, N.H., attended last year’s Expo. She said she advocates for the Expo all the time when she meets with other ranges and retailers.
“It’s the perfect opportunity for business owners to collaborate,” she said. “When I’ve attended, I’ve found immense value in networking opportunities. The NSSF does an incredible job at fostering an environment that brings together retailers, manufacturers and range retail service providers to talk about what we can do to collectively serve our customers and provide good experiences for new shooters.”
McCoubrey said the educational sessions at the Expo are very insightful and said there has been a progression and improvement in the educational sessions as the Expo has grown.
“The NSSF really shifts focus in the topics that are offered so they stay relevant to what’s happening in shops and at ranges today,” she said. “It’s a time that you have the opportunity to hear from veteran range owners who share their dos and don’ts of range operation and also get to talk to your peers and the people who are running these stores and ranges all across the country.”
Retailers and range owners also have buying opportunities at the Expo, McCoubrey said.
“There are incredible buying opportunities,” she said. “Products are out on display, you’re able to see them, feel them, get an idea of what you’d be offering in your store and the displays you may be able to have in your store. There’s a lot of opportunity to get face to face with brands and manufacturers that you wouldn’t have access to any other way if you weren’t part of a buying group.”
Jake Newbold, President and CEO of Trident 1, attended the 2021 Expo in West Palm Beach. He said he’s found that many retailers have learned that adding a range—particularly when they offer memberships—brings in additional revenue. He said retailers who either have a range or are considering adding one are really missing out if they don’t attend the Expo.
“The Expo focuses on retailers who are looking to expand their technology and innovation, and to learn how to capture more revenues and grow their membership sales,” he said. “I think coming to the Expo offers them a lot of opportunity to see different aspects of the market and what’s out there to help them do that.”
Newbold said the Expo is small enough that it’s not overwhelming to someone who may be new to the firearm industry.
“Retailers have time to visit every single exhibitor here,” he said. “You can gather a lot more intel on what your specific needs are, rather than taking a shot in the dark at a big show as to whether you’re going down the right aisle and talking to the right exhibitor for what you’re looking for.”
In the Savage Range Systems booth, Senior Sales Representative Alvaro Callejas said much the same thing.
“Everyone who attends this show is directly related to either a gun store or a shooting range,” he said. “It is a very focused show. Here you can get face to face with people who are thinking about adding a range and range equipment.”
At Sprague’s Sports in Yuma, Ariz., Range and Training Manager Matt Dusek said he got a lot out of both the education portion and the trade show at the Expo.
“I went with the mindset of range management,” he said. “Several of the seminars were really good, and the speakers had good ideas about range management. Interpersonal contact is the best. The knowledge, interaction and networking were well worth the trip. It’s 100 percent beneficial to interact with other like-minded individuals in the industry.”
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