President's Message: Keep an Even Keel

Jul 13, 2017

I love to go camping. Growing up, I spent many nights out under the stars. After suffering the pesky mosquitos and other nighttime biters for years, I finally graduated to tent camping. Then in recent years, it’s been an incredible blessing to enjoy camping in an RV. You get the great outdoors, but you can still sleep in a relatively comfortable bed (keyword: relatively). And of course, there’s the air conditioning after a hot, sticky day. I know it’s cheating… but frankly, I don’t care anymore.

In addition, while camping I get to see a lot more sunsets and sunrises… some are literally breathtaking. While reluctant to share photos, which never seem to match seeing it in person, I’ll make an exception this time. One of the sunsets we enjoyed in western Iowa over the 4th of July holiday was simply out of this world.


We were camping at Lewis and Clark State Park near Onawa, Iowa, which is just about an hour north of Omaha in case you’d like to visit sometime. The park is situated on a small lake, an offshoot of the Missouri River. And of course, as you might have assumed, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark’s expedition came right through here in the summer of 1804.

If you make a trip to the park today, you can see a replica of the 55-foot keelboat or “barge” the two explorers used to get upriver. The replica is complete with blunderbuss and cannon. Times have certainly changed in firearms technology.

It all got me thinking. Those fellas, and the entire group with them were made of pretty tough stuff. Can you even imagine rowing a 55-foot keelboat, upstream for hundreds of miles, navigating waters you’ve never been on and facing untold dangers and potential death around any turn? Right… me neither. But they did it. And it’s the stuff of legend and history books.

In the recent weeks, I’ve been hearing a good bit of conflicting information on the exact state of the market. Some companies tell me they’re having a very good year. Others maintain the market is still very soft and it’s been a struggle trying to know what the right strategy is in this bit of a reset year for the industry.

Whether you’re navigating upstream or downstream in this current sales environment. Or whether the sails are up or the oars are all in, I’d like to encourage you to keep an even keel. And please let NASGW help you with your outreach to retailers. Our 40 wholesale members stand ready to assist with your marketing and sales initiatives and we hope you’ve made travel plans to join us in San Antonio in a few months. The NASGW Expo is really one of the best places to do business in our industry. The show floor and all our gatherings are designed with you in mind, helping to maximize your time and investment and putting you in the same place as all the top decision makers in the industry.

The show is currently sold out and we have a waiting list for exhibitors who’d like to take part. We’re doing our best to put on a Texas-sized event for you. There are going to be a lot of great opportunities coming your way in the next couple of weeks, for how you can maximize your success in San Antonio. I encourage you to give them a look and I look forward to seeing you in October!

Until next time,


Kenyon Gleason, NASGW President

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