To my fellow NSSRA members:
This will be my last letter to the membership as Chairman of the Board, as my term ends next month. If you could refocus after your celebratory dance, I would like to leave you with a couple of thoughts.
The continuing focus of NSSRA should be, "how we can best help our member stores navigate the shark infested waters that we see as specialty snow sports retailers." One issue that exists is the relationship between the on-hill pro (PSIA and NSP), the suppliers and the retailer. Unfortunately, that relationship has changed over time and the retailers and the on-hill pros do not have the mutually positive interaction that can work for both.
What I am saying is that the retailer needs the support of the on-hill pro and that pro can benefit greatly from a positive relationship with a snow sports retailer. At my stores, we try to work with the on-hill pros, provide special programs and prices for both the hardgoods products the pros need and extend good discounts for other product in our stores. Having a pro on the hill recommending our store to the skiers and riders really works.
I urge you to reach out to the pros, get them in your store and be ready to give them something -- product, product discounts, free service or other advantages that work for them. Then contact your hardgoods supplier management and convince (maybe demand) that their PSIA and NSP programs have your store as the ship-to address. Getting that pro product in your store creates a very positive interaction with not only the bond between you and that individual, but the mounting, release check and tuning of that product, is obviously an important part of the interaction.
The supplier that is willing to have pro programs ship to an authorized dealer should be your first supplier to support.
This is just one part of the cooperative spirit that needs to exist between the stakeholders in the snow sports business if we are all going to survive. We need more communication, co-operation and interaction among the suppliers, resorts, retailers, ski rep groups and on-hill pros.
I hope you have a busy Holiday Season and most importantly a healthy and Happy New Year!
Equipe Sport, Rawsonville, VT