With travel restrictions and social distancing ruling the summer of 2020, protests across the country and November’s national elections firmly in sight, the firearm industry is reminded that we face many challenges ahead. To get an idea of what the distribution side of our industry is thinking about these challenges, we reached out to Davidson’s, Inc., one of the country’s largest distributors for the shooting sports, and asked about their thoughts about NSSF’s 2021 SHOT Show® in Las Vegas.
The 2021 SHOT Show is taking shape to be the largest SHOT show in the industry’s history, with a landmark increase in floor space spanning two properties, the Sands Expo Center and the new expansion to Caesars Forum. During an interview with Bill Bennett, Director of Marketing, Print & Media Relations at Davidson’s, he said the decision for his company is a go. “We are committed to attending the show in Las Vegas and have moved our booth space to the new Caesars Forum,” he told me.
Space to Love
The move to the new floor space was, in part, to take advantage of a less-congested booth space area, one with a larger footprint, making it easier to interact with attendees. Davidson’s noted that this might very well become a critical move if social distancing remains the new normal next year. “The extra square footage is being carefully planned to take advantage of every spare inch, making the workspace safe and comfortable to use, without stressing either our staff or customers,” said Bennett.
He also commented that the booth will have a completely new design, allowing the company to better take health needs into consideration. The Davidson’s team invested much time and energy to creating a work area that allows for more social distancing compared to past shows.
Other advantages to Davidson’s move was the close proximity other new booths being created by brands like Ruger, Springfield Armory and Steyr Arms. “Some very large manufacturers have committed to the SHOT Show extension, and we felt the new floor area will be a must-see for all independent retailers,” Bennett said.
The Year to Order Everything You Can
When asked how this distributor is forecasting the rest of the 2020 selling season, Bennett responded with a clear message: “This is the year that every independent retailer should obtain all the inventory they can. Reach out to your distributor to see what alternative products are available. We are all in a challenging time, with increased demand from longtime customers and first-time buyers. Every effort is being made to keep manufacturers on track producing so that we can supply our industry’s needs and dealers have what consumers are asking for,” he said.
In the past few years, Davidson’s has expanded its offerings with a variety of ammo and general shooting accessories, in an effort to be an efficient, one-stop destination for all a retailers’ needs. The company is aggressively obtaining new manufacturers to fill the demand anticipated in the final quarter of 2020 and into 2021. “It’s a priority for our company to source new vendors that can fill the pipeline this season, and we look forward to introducing new partnerships with a host of quality American manufacturers. Retailers should be on the lookout at the new floor space at Caesars Forum for a notable number of new, small companies we’ll be representing and able to display for the first time. We’re looking forward to adding many of these specialty manufacturers, as we approach SHOT,” he said.
Miss SHOT Show? Not an Option
This distributor said that missing a SHOT Show is just not an option, especially given the upheaval that our country is experiencing. Bennett said the company was pleased to hear the recent announcement that the Consumer Electronics Show, which takes place in Las Vegas directly before SHOT Show, would move ahead as scheduled. “While some distributors have localized shows, Davidson’s does not. We see the SHOT Show as the best way to communicate and foster relationships with both manufacturers and dealers. A lot will happen for our company during the 2021 SHOT Show, and it will be a critical part of our marketing. We just can’t miss it,” he said.
Bennett said the new Davidson’s booth will have plenty of hand sanitizer available and that the booth staff is happily looking forward to “bumping elbows” with every dealer they possibly can—and they hope those retailers will be just as committed to attending SHOT Show and making sure that they have the latest offerings that their customers will be asking for.