President's Message: If life hands you lemons…

Mar 14, 2017

I grew up in North Dakota. When it comes to weather, you get used to making a lot of lemonade from all your lemons. I now call South Dakota home and I jokingly tell people I moved south for the weather. Don’t laugh! That extra degree or two makes a huge difference. (Ok, not so much.)

Especially not after enjoying one of the warmest February’s on record, we get whacked with a major winter storm on March 12th. I don’t know why I had my hopes up for a snow-free March. I should know better by now. Eternal optimism I guess.

Since I know all about lemonade making, I decided it was a great day to be inside by the fire, spending time with the family. Thing is, there’s no fireplace in my home. Been meaning to get one for years. Just haven’t. But, someday! At least that’s what I keep telling my wife. (She’s a truly patient soul.)

This past weekend I was feeling exceptionally guilty about the no fireplace issue, so much so that I had to get a bit creative, express my innovative nature. As such, I called up a “YouTube fire” on my smart TV and we cranked the audio to hear the crackles. A space heater provided the accompanying warmth. In the Dakota’s, you do what you can with what you have sometimes.

Not perfect. But lemonade from lemons. And truth be told, kind of fun.

I just got back from IWA OutdoorClassics in Germany. Before that I was of course at Shot Show. Not surprisingly, I’ve been visiting with a lot of people worried about a lot of lemons coming their way this year. Make no mistake, President Trump’s election was good for our industry, especially in the long term picture. But in the short term, I’m sensing a bit of nervousness and concern about the changing marketplace.

As 2017 progresses, much is still in the air. But it’s clear that there will be some “reset” in the shooting sports market. How big of a reset is uncertain still and I’m hearing mixed messages as of yet.

However, I came away from IWA and Shot Show with an overwhelming understanding that to succeed in 2017 it’s going to take a lot of one thing – innovation. You may at times feel trapped, but how you adapt and change, how you tap into your innovative genius, may well make the difference between a positive future or a bleak and murky path.

So what can you do with what you have? Can you create and devise innovative ways to make it work? Can you look beyond things you’ve always done and instead, look to new product developments or new ways to get that product into buyers’ hands? People are still going to buy. Innovation in products and ideas should help get them buying from you.

So whether you have a real fireplace, or watch a fire on TV, I hope it sparks your imagination on new and innovative ways to turn your lemons into lemonade in the coming weeks and months.

Until next time,

Kenyon Gleason

President, NASGW

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