Playing to strengths keeps sports retailer strong

By Cameron Leslie


Committing to an industry for 25 years, and still going strong, is quite an accomplishment.

Whangarei's John Waldron, of Sportsmans Choice, has been recognised by the New Zealand Sporting Goods Association for his dedication to the sporting goods industry.

Over his time in the Northland business sector, Mr Waldron has seen many sporting shops come and go.

"I could peel off probably 15 to 20 businesses [which have folded]," Mr Waldron said.

"There's been a lot of them. [However], we've long since learned you can't be everything to everyone.

"So, we've worked on our strengths. And, our weaknesses, we basically dumped them [thanks to the coming on of big box stores].

"A key example would be 10 years ago when I'd sell about 15 boxes of sports boots, but with the coming on of the Warehouse and Rebel [Sport] they've killed the trade."

Mr Waldron, who was presented the award in January, thanked all the customers and friends who had helped him out over his quarter of a century of business.

After initially getting into the sporting goods industry through selling secondhand goods, Mr Waldron said today his business specialised in kayaks and fishing.

He said the decision to specialise in kayaks and fishing was based on market research, adding that at least half of Sportsmans Choice's sales involve some sort of fishing-related product.

"We wanted to move away from secondhand goods because we couldn't get a good enough supply of it," Mr Waldron said.

"Being a smaller business, we do specialise in service because we can't compete with the bigger box stores.

"Kayaking is where our focus is [selling wise], especially kayak fishing. I've been fishing all my life and some of my earliest memories would be bringing in fish on my dad's yacht."

He said Sportsmans Choice's biggest seller was the double kayak. Although, while kayak fishing was more prominent in summer, Mr Waldron said hockey was his winter specialty.

It is no surprise Mr Waldron has an interest in hockey because he has been involved with the sport since 1975 in various capacities. However, he said he would be taking this year off from hockey to spend more time on the water.

Sportsmans Choice can also be found on Facebook on a page called 'Sportsmans Choice/Kayak Zone'.

- NORTHERN ADVOCATE

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