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AUSTIN, Texas – Central Texas Archery opened their doors just three years ago and has already introduced nearly 7,000 people to the sport of archery! They offer introductory classes, parties, corporate events, certification courses and USA Archery Explore Archery, Junior Olympic Archery Development and Adult Archery Programs, and were featured on the Netflix Series Queer Eye. Central Texas Archery (CTA) Coach Kat Davis shared some of what has been most successful in growing their business.
CTA began marketing their programs on Groupon, which brought in a lot of business but wasn’t sustainable as it comes at a great expense (CTA made only 20% of their normal income once fees were removed) and the stopped when COVID hit and they feared downturn. However, with a 70m outdoor range available, CTA was able to run their programs outdoors, socially distanced and in accordance with public health guidelines and they actually saw their numbers increase steadily through the pandemic.
“I think what has helped us grow more than anything is that our members have been so amazing to go online and spread the word,” commented Davis, “we have a 5-star Google review rating with several hundred reviews on there and having all that positive review online is what caught the interest of Queer Eye on Netflix.”
To achieve this rating, CTA is not afraid to ask for help: “Sometimes at the end of first time classes we say, ‘if you had a great experience out here we’d love for you to share the word, it’s a great way to help us grow since we’re a nonprofit,’ and we put that out there for them and people have been really generous and kind and sweet with all of that, it’s awesome.”
CTA has also relied on their members for community outreach: “We have offered free Explore Archery community events with special features,” said Davis. “For example, we did one for community educators where we invited all educators to come out and shoot with their families for free, and we’ve done that for military, first responders, and we’ve offered some just completely free Explore Archery events open to the whole community.”
“A lot of times our members are in different industries and we can partner with them to spread the word – we’ve found that our members bring so much information and so many more people and enthusiasm to us that they really are the best ambassadors we could ask for to support our range.”
Additionally, CTA has partnered with their local NASP program: “We have 200 kids who shoot NASP who are also members at our range and they can get extra practice time at our range, participate in tournaments and classes and start to transition from Genesis bows to recurve and to continue on in college. We’ve recruited some of the students from the high school NASP team to be coaches with us, and that’s been really beneficial.” Davis shared the importance of reaching out to all areas of the archery community and reminds other club leaders: “don’t leave out the traditional archers. We have a huge traditional archery community and they love to shoot with us too.”
To convert new archers into members, CTA found that the more they got people shooting, the more fun they would have and they were more successful, so to balance a disconnect they noticed between club members and class sign ups they created the “What’s Next Bundle” where they encourage people to sign up for four more classes and an annual membership: “they can come out and practice with us once a week so they are getting additional training and are able to take that training and practice weekly as well,” commented Schhmer. “That’s made a huge difference. We also have equipment people can use, which makes it so much easier for people not to have to make a big investment at the beginning to try a new sport.”
Davis added: “We have had some very generous donations made from individuals who believed in us right at the start, and we have now twice received the USA Archery JOAD Grant and that helped us get our bows…then we also got a grant from the Texas State Archery Association of USA Archery that helped us buy our first set of bales. Those generous donations at the beginning made a big impact on us at the beginning as club.”
On CTA’s success with the Explore Archery curriculum, Davis commented that they’ve appreciated the emphasis on safety and that archery can be really fun for anyone: “That’s a huge deal, when we have people come out who need a wheelchair or a walker, maybe they’re deaf or have another challenge that would make other sports hard for them, they come out and see they can be successful at archery right away and I think Explore Archery lends itself to showing the entire community that they are welcome and can have fun with this program. It’s been so amazing seeing how archery affects the community and how people respond to it.”< Back to All News