What does it take to become a loyal customer?
So my hunting gear shop for more than 10 years changed owners. And how they have helped me over the years; I was there right after I had to let go of my precious hound, to get myself some consolation. I was there when my shotgun broke down and it was the eve of the duck season, and they gave me a replacement. It was my place to go for a girly present to myself, to celebrate women´s day - a kuksa cup and a knife, ofcourse! I could show up without money nor papers, and I´d walk out with whatever it was, I desperately needed at that time; steel cartridges, hearing protection for a friend, decent chokes.. They were always happy to help me, and so I made most of my hunting and shooting related shopping there.
But they have decided to do something else. And I can easily understand that, keeping a shop really is binding - web orders need to be shipped on time, you have got to stick to the opening hours and be there, and the competition is fierce. Not only in the domestic market, but nowadays you can easily shop around the world looking for the best prices. And not every item in the world of field sports has great profit margins, cartridges hardly have anything for the retailer. A box of 250 cartridges may have as little as 3 euros profit. And think about the storage space they require.. Also the amount of money a shop keeper needs to have tied up in the stock he keeps..
So I have been looking for a new "go-to" shop, and luckily there are options out there. One that is really close to my "home range" is ofcourse a natural choice, but they keep a very limited stock and I cannot find everything there. I have been to Ruoto, which is doing great. I was there yesterday on my way to the airport to drop off Nico, and I´ll be going back to get some gear for the upcoming duck season. I have been told my hunting spot will require waders, and for that I need help; haven´t got a clue what to look for. But at Ruoto they have more than just a clue, and could immediately help me find gear that is suitable, but not excessive for my needs.
And then there´s Corenius - a shop with long roots, but that too, with a new ownership since a few months back. The staff are hunters, they have chosen the right path, not to sell what everybody else sells, but to look for their own brands, and also organize events and courses. So I have been introduced to Sitka, a clothing brand I had not heard of before, seems very interesting. And Baschieri & Pellagri, an Italian cartridge manufacturer, whose products seem not only of super quality, but also with a great price/quality ratio.
Also, when you go and do your shopping at "brick-and-mortar-store" you interact with people, and that communication is the key to success or failure. And I have gotten a great service at Corenius. They know their stuff, what will and what won´t work for me. This is the kind of service I am happy not to get discounts for!! And on top, it comes with a smile and a good sense of humour. It makes it worth driving there! Where do you shop and why?
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