Recently I have heard a lot of gloom and doom regarding the future of airsoft in Ohio. I have had the opportunity to speak to several industry owner / operators in Ohio and have also paid close attention to some of the forums and social networking channels regarding airsoft in and around the state of Ohio. "Players are losing interest", "we can't get consistent numbers", "players are not willing to spend money locally", "the big box stores are killing us"......these are just a handful of the comments that are readily offered up to anyone willing to lend an ear.
My question is this: Why? Why are the players losing interest? Why are we not getting consistent numbers? Why are players not willing to spend money locally? Why are the big box stores killing us?
I feel that I have an answer for these questions. It is the same answer for all of them. It is the same answer that, in my humble opinion, will answer all of these questions. And if we follow thru with the answer I believe it will be the remedy for many of our woes regarding the health of the Airsoft Industry in Ohio.
Before I give you the answer let me start by telling you a little about myself. As my full time gig I run a very high end custom wood turning shop. I manufacture custom wood components for a multitude of industries including but not limited to, awards & advertising, kitchen & bath, game calls, toys & crafts, and OEM products. My 17+ years of experience in this industry has taught me a very valuable lesson. A lesson that applies to "ALL" industries. Before I tell you about the valuable lesson that I have learned, let me tell you how I am involved in airsoft. Nearly 6 years ago, after purchasing a few low end airsoft guns and masks for Christmas, my father-in-law, my 3 boys and I had an epic battle in the barn in my back yard. At that point I was hooked! I quickly realized the opportunity to spend time with my kids doing something we both loved and a real opportunity to reach out to the youth in the area and be a positive role model for those youth. War Den Airsoft was born approximately 6 weeks later and has now grown into one of Ohio's Premier Airsoft Only fields.
Now back to the valuable lesson that I learned thru my experience in the world of high end woodworking. The lesson is this.....give the customer a product worth buying! That's it. It is not rocket science. If the product you provide is inferior or not up to the customers expectations then they, as they should, will spend their hard earned money elsewhere. This applies to every aspect of any business. If you make yo-yo's for a living and they are the best yo-yo's around then you will always be able to sell yo-yo's. How many people do you know that buy yo-yo's? Can't think of many can you? But....there are still company's that are thriving and making yo-yo's for a living. Why? Because their product is worth buying!
So what does all of that mean you ask? It means this....if we want Airsoft in Ohio, and in the world for that matter, to be a healthy industry then we must provide a better product. We must hold field owners and suppliers to a higher standard. No more fly by night pop up fields. No more uninsured fields. No more half measure local fields. Let's as a community, hold the fields to a higher standard. Make your field a safe place where parents can feel comfortable dropping off their kids for the day. As a retail store owner refuse to sell sub par product that you know will fail on the customer within a month or two. Carry only products that will stand up to normal field use for at least a season or more. Educate your customers. Educate the parents on the safety issues regarding airsoft. Instruct them to allow their kids to play only at sanctioned airsoft fields and not in public parks! Teach the younger customers how to safely handle, transport, and enjoy their airsoft guns. Model to them appropriate behavior and sportsmanship on the field. Model to them respect, honesty, and integrity. It is our responsibility to take care of our sport. And this, my friends, is where we start. Join War Den Airsoft and myself as we begin the journey to a revitalized airsoft industry in Ohio.
Until next time.
Warfox signing off.