How To

Growing Your Outdoor Business in a Down Economy with Dudley McGarity, President of BPI Outdoors

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Author’s note: BPI Outdoors (Blackpowder Products, Inc.), the parent company of CVA, has been aggressively acquiring companies and producing new products, even while the economy has been down. Although other outdoor companies have been very conservative during this time, BPI has been very aggressive. We wanted to know why.

Here at BPI, we use a business process that’s called multiple branding strategies. This term means that BPI has several different brands under the BPI banner. These multiple brands complement one another, because these brands deal with the same buyers and the same customers. Due to BPI’s strong infrastructure, we know we can service more customers across more markets by extending our brand.

I believe this is a growing trend in the outdoor industry among the progressive companies. For instance, Bushnell is following this same model by adding more products and brands to the company’s line. Nike is adding footwear brands, and General Mills is adding more cereal companies and new products to its line. Multiple branding strategies isn’t a new business concept, but it is a proven way for companies to use when they want to expand. Those companies then can reach more customers, satisfy more needs and sell more products. Strong companies usually buy other companies during a down economy to expand their brands. Then when the economy improves, these companies can gain more market share. For many years, the company that is now BPI had CVA guns as their main business. When we acquired Bergara Barrels, we started adding conventional rifles to the mix.

Within the last year, we’ve also started offering the Bergara Custom Shop that builds custom rifles for individuals who want the quality and accuracy that a custom rifle can deliver. We now let the consumer pick the parts he or she wants in a custom rifle, and our gunsmiths build those rifles to order. Bergara Barrels are used by many companies, because of the barrels’ precision accuracy. We decided we had the core component (the barrel) to build a custom rifle, so why not bring in the other parts to help customers build the rifles of their dreams? We recommend certain component parts for our custom rifles, but the customer makes the ultimate decision.

We knew that to build super-accurate first-class rifles we had to bring in individuals with the skills and know-how to do that. We recruited Dan Hanus, formally in charge of the custom shop in Quantico, Virginia that builds sniper rifles for the U.S. Marine Corps. We’ve recruited this man who has the talent and skills to build the most accurate rifles in the world, from the ground up.

The future for BPI is very bright. We plan to continue expanding our brand. We have some exciting new plans in the works that we can’t talk about yet. Right now we’re focusing our attention on how to build and promote our custom Bergara rifles, as well as adding new products and new ideas to our existing brands. To continue to grow, we’ll have the option of buying existing companies or creating new companies under the BPI brand. We’ve used both these types of strategies in the history of our company. We created Bergara Barrels and PowerBelt Bullets, and we purchased Quake Inc., a sling company. We’ll listen to any opportunity to enhance our infrastructure and our business for our customers.

Image courtesy John Phillips

Any views or opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect those of OutdoorHub. Comments on this article reflect the sole opinions of their writers.