Member Company: Legacy Sports International
Gene Lumsden, President& CEO
Recently Insight spoke with Gene Lumsden, President and CEO of Legacy Sports International (et al) in a far ranging discussion about his company(ies) and the industry.
InSight: Tell us a little about your company (when founded, number of employees, territory covered, product lines and mix, etc.)
Lumsden: Legacy was started in January 1, 2000. We currently employ 24 people, and are the exclusive worldwide importer for Howa rifles, Citadel pistols and shotguns and Puma rifles & pistols, Escort shotguns, ISSC rifles & pistols and Nikko Stirling optics. Before we started Legacy, I was VP of Sales and Marketing for Interarms. In 1998 the owner of Interarm’s had passed away. The company was liquidated and we purchased the Howa inventory from the owner’s spouse. During the first 18 months of our new company, other products were added which gave us the volume we needed. In July of 2005, my original partners were bought out by John and David Fuller from Australia, and they became my new partners. The Fuller’s have a long history in the shooting sports industry and have had a positive impact on Legacy Sports. Collectively we have partnered in Legacy Sports International, Outdoor Sports Sales a sales rep company in Europe, Webley & Scott, U.S.A., Turner’s Outdoorsman, a 15 store retail chain in Southern California and soon to be launched Centurion International, LLC.
We are truly an entrepreneurial firm. We are constantly looking for opportunities; we may begin from scratch or seek to purchase.
InSight: Tell us a little about your rep firm, Outdoor Sports Sales in Europe.
Lumsden: European sales and marketing are quite different than here in the US. What we needed was the right person with knowledge of the European market to promote and sell the Nikko Stirling line of optics and our Howa rifles. That’s when we hired Nikolaus (Niki) Krausz who came on board with a vast knowledge of the European customer and market.
InSight: Your Company has a very diverse product line. Have you seen any trends in purchasing of specific products, pricing, etc.?
Lumsden: As we all know, business has been very good in the US. So good, that some manufacturers have had to postpone taking any new orders. We are very fortunate in that our orders are placed with our factories months in advance. As for trends, home defense shotguns, AR’s, pistols & revolvers are all very strong. I have been very happy with sales of all of our products. Currently we are running a 60-70% increase over 2010.
InSight: How competitive do you feel is the shooting sports market today?
Lumsden: I think the Shooting Sports market is very competitive. Although I do think our customers under sell the value of our products! I would love to see everybody work at moving their margins up a couple points. This would be very helpful in strengthening our Industry.
InSight: What do you believe are the biggest challenges and opportunities facing your company?
Lumsden: As an importer, my concerns aren’t any different than other manufacturer. I think we all are looking over our shoulder waiting for some new law. A big concern I do have is the United Nations with agreements and mandates that may affect importing and exporting of firearms.
We stay close to ATF and the State Dept. Our Director of Operations, John Anderson works very hard complying totally with all requirements for importation and exporting our products. We, in fact, have been told that these government agencies have a high regard for Legacy. We pride ourselves on a recent ATF inspection where there were no “missing guns” or mistakes in their review.
Change is the only constant and we at Legacy Sports pride ourselves on accepting change and moving forward.
In Sight: How does your company make use of the internet and technology?
Lumsden: We are working on updating and redoing our website to make it more interactive and easy to use for our customers. We have developed relationships with several sponsored TV series. For example, we sponsor several shows, Dead Dog Walkin’, The Fowl Life, On Your Own Adventures, Northwest Hunter and others, as well as supporting The Sportsman Channel. They have helped us increase our presence in the buying public.
Like other Companies, we are investing in social media: Facebook, You Tube, etcetera.
InSight: Markets are changing dramatically as well the potential and existing buyers. Put on your crystal ball “hat” and tell us where you see this industry 5 years from now?
Lumsden: Who knows what I will be doing 5 years from now?
I don’t see any major changes unless adverse legislation will hound us as an industry. Collectively the shooting sports industry has gotten much better, more sophisticated, more technology savvy.
Our Rep groups play a very important roll in support of our Distributors and Independent dealers. I learned years ago the most important real estate in our industry is the last foot & half from the dealer to the consumer and we expect our reps to work with dealers in there territories. Our reps spend quite a bit of time with our dealers promoting and showing our products.
InSight: How can NASGW help your company and manufacturers in general?
Lumsden: I go all the way back to the 70’s when NASGW held its Annual Meeting and Expo in Denver. Like most organizations, it has had its ups and downs but frankly, I believe it is stronger than it’s ever been. We wish however that all of the industry associations would recognize the value that Importers bring to the industry. We are an important part of the industry and would like to be recognized for it.
InSight: From your company’s perspective, what qualities (attributes) make for a superior distributor for your product line?
Lumsden: We have a great set of distributors that we work with. I learned a lot when I worked at Outdoor Sports in Dayton, Ohio in the 70’s. That experience taught me a lot about distribution. There is one thing however that disturbs me.
Unfortunately, some Buyers within the distribution chain today rely far too much on computers, reports, statistics and analytics . . . in a manner that they seem somewhat detached from the overall picture and sometimes relying on the path of least resistance by relying too much on what the report says they bought last year etc.
Meanwhile, on occasion, the buyers pulse of the industry from the consumer to the dealer level is somewhat diluted and hinders the buyers insights. Back in the 70’s we were ALL salesmen. Buyers knew how to sell the product as well as purchase it ..they had too! That kept them attached to the true picture of the industry.
I’ve had this conversation with distribution friends across the country and many agree that the technological side of the buying departments has somewhat removed a certain in-tune awareness , hence holding back some of the instincts that are crucial to a buying department. Sales and marketing qualities in a buyer are a real plus. We as a company recognize the importance of the buyer and hope more distributers will develop their buyers into marketing and sales people as well.
InSight: Complete the sentence: “If I could change one thing in this industry, it would be…”
Lumsden: Getting the buying departments more in tune with the sales and marketing departments and making sure they are spending some quality time at the dealer level for real-time feedback.
Thanks Gene. Gene can be reached at: GLumsden@legacysports.com