Retailers have questions. SHOT Show University has answers.

Offered each year on the day before the SHOT Show opens, SHOT Show University is a day of seminars specifically tailored to the needs of those in the firearm retail business. This year’s lineup of classes will bring a new level to attendees for education and interaction. Keynote addresses coupled with strategic sessions will leave each firearms store owner/manager with unparalleled training and education to operate their businesses more effectively.

The 2013 SHOT Show University, with a theme of “The Retailer’s Playbook,” is set for Monday, Jan. 14. If you haven’t already done so, get registered today.

Here is one retailer’s take on the value of SHOT Show University and NSSF membership, as published in SHOT Business magazine:


By Joe Keffer, owner, The Sportsman’s Shop, New Holland, Pa.

SHOT Show U. Is a Must

A gold mine of guidance is delivered in one day

Today’s retailer faces a multitude of factors that constantly affect his or her business. Retail has always been a fast-paced, everchanging endeavor — the retail environment can turn on a dime and leave nine cents change. Stores that are on the cutting edge are the survivors; stores that don’t keep up with the rapid pace of change are soon left behind and forgotten.

Firearms retailers are not immune to these challenges. Granted, the industry has enjoyed tremendous growth over the past few years, but the landscape for the firearms retailer continues to evolve at a blinding speed. Customers are more educated than ever before about their purchasing decisions. Thanks to the Internet, the information that’s available to consumers has reached unheard-of levels. Retailers are constantly trying to stay in the lead on this information highway. And the availability of this information has changed the shopping habits of consumers, as well.

Customers obviously drive sales, and are the top priority in any retail business, but other complexities face firearms dealers. Competition is fierce from many different sources. Other firearms retailers, be they small independent stores, gigantic mega-stores, or even online sellers operating without a physical storefront, all are trying to get a larger piece of the pie.

Retail businesses constantly face new challenges in day-to-day operations. Obviously, financial performance is critical to the health of a business. Being able to control and understand the complex issues of profit-and-loss statements, cash flow statements, and the like is crucial to a firearms store owner’s continued success. To remain competitive and on the customers’ radar, a retailer’s understanding of how to market his or her business is a top priority. Meanwhile, other areas of operations can never be neglected. Compliance with the requirements of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, and the resulting paperwork, for example, must be adhered to and strictly monitored and controlled.

Firearms retailers often ask themselves, “How can we learn to stay on top of the changes and challenges that we face today? Where can we get the education to meet our specific needs?”

The answer is SHOT Show University.

SHOT Show University is a daylong event held the day before the SHOT Show officially opens; for 2013, it takes place on Monday, January 14. I’ve attended SHOT Show University for the past several years, and it has been extremely rewarding, helping me run my business more efficiently and effectively. The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) works very hard to bring such a quality experience to firearms retailers, and I know that for past several years, SHOT Show University has been sold out.

SHOT Show University hosts 300 retailers from all walks of life for this event. NSSF brings in presenters at the top of their fields, covering a variety of subjects, including marketing, advertising, financials, media training, merchandising, compliance training, and social media, to name a few. (The list often reflects what retailers requested via the surveys administered at the previous SHOT Show U.) The subjects are always timely, well thought out, and presented in layman’s terms so retailers can grasp the concepts and immediately implement the ideas and techniques in their stores.

To further complete this experience, NSSF provides a lunch and a reception for all attendees. The lunch break and the reception provide opportunities to network with other retailers. In addition, all of the presenters are available to have one-on-one time with anyone who may have further questions.

I’ve always come away from SHOT Show University energized and ready to implement new ideas and changes to my business. I can’t wait for SHOT 2013 to see what new, valuable information NSSF and the Shot Show University presenters will deliver. You can register for SHOT Show University when you register for the SHOT Show, at

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