As I sit down at my keyboard to scratch out this publisher’s message, I can’t help but reflect on the journey Sportsman’s Warehouse and our crew here at Sportsman’s News have endured. Ten years ago, the company was privately held and in the throes of bankruptcy. Poor leadership and a bad economy had everyone wondering if we would continue to pursue our passion or if we would be looking for a new career path. Sportsman’s emerged from bankruptcy with new leadership, 25 stores and a path to prosperity.
The new CEO was driven and very focused on the task at hand. New stores started popping back up all over the west. Every year there were between 6 to 10 new stores opening and before you knew it, the talk of getting to a hundred stores started being floated around.
The company went public in 2014 and growth continued. Jon Barker became the CEO of the company and provided a much-needed overhaul of the e-commerce side of this business as stores still continued to pop up. Projections for 2019 were to get to approximately 95 stores and the scuttlebutt was that 2020 would be the year to hit 100 stores.
Just last week, it was publicly announced that Sportsman’s Warehouse would be purchasing eight Field & Stream stores from Dick’s Sporting Goods. This included three stores in Pennsylvania, two in New York, two in North Carolina, and one in Michigan. By the time everyone has a chance to pick up this publication, those stores will be converted to Sportsman’s Warehouse stores and the overall count will be at 103 Sportsman’s Warehouse stores. It’s so amazing what we have seen over the past ten years and I’m happy to say that I saw it all happen and was part of it. Can’t wait to see what the next ten years holds.
Sportsman’s News is completing our 15th year of being the Official Publication of Sportsman’s Warehouse. This business has pretty much raised my three daughters and even the oldest one at 19 doesn’t even remember Dad doing anything else. Just as Sportsman’s Warehouse has evolved, we have as well. When we started, we were only a print publication and within two years, we started producing video. When this started, we were shooting on standard definition tapes for all of our stuff and the cameras we used were north of twenty pounds apiece. Our cameras are now half the size and produce a hundred times the quality. We went from producing shows and putting them onto DVD’s to having our own YouTube channel that gets millions of views each and every year.
As the Chief Executive of Sportsman’s News, I’m always looking at keeping us cutting edge, but not leaving our older generations behind that still haven’t launched into the newer technology. I hear from lots of our followers, both young and old when I travel, that they like all we do as a media source. Our videos are extremely thorough and informative and not just a bunch of fluff. The printed publication is enjoyed by millions every year and especially those who are headed to the woods and don’t get service. It even makes pretty good fire starter when you are done reading it and will second as some sorry toilet paper if the need arises. Still better than nothing.
However, things are constantly changing. In 2020, the Sportsman’s News print version will publish bi-monthly. We will have a lot more content in each issue than we do currently, but this will free up team members to produce more videos, which is the direction of the future. I’m sure there will come a time that this publication will become completely digital, but for now, we are still going to put something in your hands for free whenever you walk through the doors of Sportsman’s Warehouse.
I hope everyone is having a great 2019 and you better hang on for 2020. I have a feeling it’s going to be epic.