Outdoor Retailer - Summer 2020 - 58

GOOD NEIGHBORS
Sportsman & Ski Haus staff
unload backpacking meals
at a local food bank.

The Right Thing to Do
Montana's Crown Enterprises found a simple way to thrive
during the pandemic. The shop put employees, community,
and customers first. by Eugene Buchanan
WANTTO KNOWWHATITTAKESTO NOTONLY
survive, but thrive, in today's COVID-19crushed retail world? Take a lesson from Joe
Power, president of Montana's employeeowned Crown Enterprises, which operates five
outdoor retail stores: two Sportsman & Ski
Haus shops in Montana and three Tri-State
Outfitters stores in Idaho and Washington.
Spoiler alert: The answer involves compassion for your community, customers, and
employees. And the result has been serendipitous; after reopening, Crown has seen products flying off the shelves.
"Now that they're all open again, our revenues are up 10% for the year," says Power,
adding hot-selling categories include bikes,
paddlesports, guns, camping, and fishing,
with footwear, casualwear and apparel also
doing well. There have also been a few surprises, he adds. The stores have sold more
trampolines this year than in the past 10 years
combined, with golf up 80% and running up
100%. And much of this stems from forsaking
the bottom line.

58 OUTDOOR RETAILER

/ Summer 2020

A week before authorities requested, Power
took the liberty of closing his stores early. "It
was the right thing to do," he says. "People
weren't really understanding social distancing, and you could see the uncertainty in our
employees' eyes. It just wasn't right to make
them come in."
Even after friend and Kalispell Mayor Mark
Johnson reminded him he didn't have to
close, as his stores were "essential businesses,"
Power felt it was more important to protect his
employees than make money. "We put health
before wealth," he says. "Our bank is local, and
before we even knew about PPP, we knew everyone would be understanding if we didn't
have the best year."
In all, four stores were closed for five weeks
and one for 10 weeks. Rather than lay them off,
throughout it all, Power continued paying the
stores' 210 employees. "I was really worried
about people's health insurance," he says.
"It's a great example of a business making
decisions based on what's best for their employees," says Johnson. "He's a great partner

to have in the community-especially during
these times."
Then Power took it a step further. As more
closures came on line and grocery stores became barren, he woke up from a 2 a.m. nightmare worried about people's ability to procure
food. So he took $25,000 worth of backpacking and camping meals from his inventory and
had his staff donate them to local food banks of
their choice.
"Everyone we knew in the service industry
was out of work and likely needing food," he
says, adding the gesture helped lift the spirits
of his team. "It gave our employees something
different and positive to focus on."
When the store reopened, the favors were
returned-sales increased despite a lack of
visitors from Canada, which typically represents 25% of its business.
"We have great customers who are really
loyal to us, and I think this strengthened that
even more," says Power, who made his own
pact to eat and shop locally as much as he
could during the shutdown.
He also credits the uptick to people wanting
to get outside. "Instead of spending money at
the movie theater, people are applying that to
a new trampoline," he says. While he admits
it's tough to refill shelves and procure products
from vendors, when a shipment of 36 kayaks
arrived, two went right to the register, never
even making it to the wall.
Power's altruism continued even after reopening. Unable to run his annual Ladies'
Night event benefiting local domestic violence
shelters, he picked a Saturday to donate $5
from every pair of shoes sold to local Stomp
Out Domestic Violence programs. "It was our
way to make up for it," he says, adding the effort raised more than $2,500.
All this has also boosted sales and his
employees' morale-and given his stores a
chance to enhance their relationships with
their customers. "Opening back up and doing
the right thing gives you a second chance to
make a first impression," he says. "Everyone's
looking at how well we're behaving and judging us all over again, whether it's wearing
masks or distancing. It's a great chance for us
to step it up." O.R.

Photo courtesy Sportsman & Ski Haus

#shoplife: w/ Crown Enterprises



Outdoor Retailer - Summer 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Outdoor Retailer - Summer 2020

OUTDOOR RETAILER - SUMMER 2020
CONTENTS
THE PULSE
HEADLINES
RETAIL 101
MARKETING
GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE
CASE STUDY
IDEAS
FLOYD LANDIS
AMY HATCH
EMPLOYEE OF THE MON
RESEARCH
THE COVID-19 TIMELINE
HEROES IN CRISIS
ON BLACK JOY
BREAD+BUTTER
SUSTAINABILITY
HOT PICK
THE VIEW
HOW I GOT HERE
#SHOPLIFE
FROM THE ROAD
Outdoor Retailer - Summer 2020 - OUTDOOR RETAILER - SUMMER 2020
Outdoor Retailer - Summer 2020 - Cover2
Outdoor Retailer - Summer 2020 - 1
Outdoor Retailer - Summer 2020 - CONTENTS
Outdoor Retailer - Summer 2020 - 3
Outdoor Retailer - Summer 2020 - 4
Outdoor Retailer - Summer 2020 - 5
Outdoor Retailer - Summer 2020 - 6
Outdoor Retailer - Summer 2020 - THE PULSE
Outdoor Retailer - Summer 2020 - HEADLINES
Outdoor Retailer - Summer 2020 - 9
Outdoor Retailer - Summer 2020 - RETAIL 101
Outdoor Retailer - Summer 2020 - 11
Outdoor Retailer - Summer 2020 - MARKETING
Outdoor Retailer - Summer 2020 - 13
Outdoor Retailer - Summer 2020 - GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE
Outdoor Retailer - Summer 2020 - CASE STUDY
Outdoor Retailer - Summer 2020 - 16
Outdoor Retailer - Summer 2020 - 17
Outdoor Retailer - Summer 2020 - IDEAS
Outdoor Retailer - Summer 2020 - FLOYD LANDIS
Outdoor Retailer - Summer 2020 - AMY HATCH
Outdoor Retailer - Summer 2020 - EMPLOYEE OF THE MON
Outdoor Retailer - Summer 2020 - RESEARCH
Outdoor Retailer - Summer 2020 - 23
Outdoor Retailer - Summer 2020 - THE COVID-19 TIMELINE
Outdoor Retailer - Summer 2020 - 25
Outdoor Retailer - Summer 2020 - 26
Outdoor Retailer - Summer 2020 - 27
Outdoor Retailer - Summer 2020 - 28
Outdoor Retailer - Summer 2020 - 29
Outdoor Retailer - Summer 2020 - 30
Outdoor Retailer - Summer 2020 - 31
Outdoor Retailer - Summer 2020 - HEROES IN CRISIS
Outdoor Retailer - Summer 2020 - 33
Outdoor Retailer - Summer 2020 - 34
Outdoor Retailer - Summer 2020 - 35
Outdoor Retailer - Summer 2020 - 36
Outdoor Retailer - Summer 2020 - 37
Outdoor Retailer - Summer 2020 - ON BLACK JOY
Outdoor Retailer - Summer 2020 - 39
Outdoor Retailer - Summer 2020 - 40
Outdoor Retailer - Summer 2020 - 41
Outdoor Retailer - Summer 2020 - BREAD+BUTTER
Outdoor Retailer - Summer 2020 - 43
Outdoor Retailer - Summer 2020 - SUSTAINABILITY
Outdoor Retailer - Summer 2020 - 45
Outdoor Retailer - Summer 2020 - 46
Outdoor Retailer - Summer 2020 - 47
Outdoor Retailer - Summer 2020 - HOT PICK
Outdoor Retailer - Summer 2020 - 49
Outdoor Retailer - Summer 2020 - THE VIEW
Outdoor Retailer - Summer 2020 - 51
Outdoor Retailer - Summer 2020 - 52
Outdoor Retailer - Summer 2020 - 53
Outdoor Retailer - Summer 2020 - 54
Outdoor Retailer - Summer 2020 - 55
Outdoor Retailer - Summer 2020 - HOW I GOT HERE
Outdoor Retailer - Summer 2020 - 57
Outdoor Retailer - Summer 2020 - #SHOPLIFE
Outdoor Retailer - Summer 2020 - 59
Outdoor Retailer - Summer 2020 - FROM THE ROAD
Outdoor Retailer - Summer 2020 - 61
Outdoor Retailer - Summer 2020 - 62
Outdoor Retailer - Summer 2020 - 63
Outdoor Retailer - Summer 2020 - 64
Outdoor Retailer - Summer 2020 - Cover3
Outdoor Retailer - Summer 2020 - Cover4
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