With some golf equipment retailers feeling the pinch of a flat marketplace and declining sales, Golfers Warehouse locations in New England are continuing to provide customers with the attention-to-details service that made the retailer a name brand in the area.
Golfsmith, one of the largest retailers of golf equipment in the country, recently announced it was filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and closing underperforming stores. While not addressing a rival company’s fortunes directly, Mike Britt, eastern regional manager for Golfers Warehouse/World Wide Golf Shops, said the flagship Golfers Warehouse store in Hartford, Ct. and outlets in the Boston area (Auburn, Braintree and Danvers) and in Cranston, R.I. are operating at full steam and remaining true to the company’s policy of providing quality equipment at fair price points and superior customer service. The five New England stores are under the umbrella of World Wide Golf, which also has Roger Dunn, Van’s Golf Shops, Unita Golf, Edwin Watts Golf Shops and the Golf Mart in its portfolio.
“The market has changed, the company has changed and how individuals are spending their discretionary dollars in some areas has changed,” said Britt. “It’s tough out there and we have to adapt to the times and control what we can control. We always strive to put our stores in a position to succeed. We believe that is the best way to battle the ups and downs of the market.”
Britt doesn’t feel golf is “in dire straights as some would make it out to be.” He added, “We are seeing a whole crop of great young players coming into the game and that bodes well for the future. We miss the Tiger factor because he got people watching and caring about the game that wouldn’t normally be golf fans. But, the products are better, we have great clubs and golf balls and great looking apparel. You are seeing a change in the way companies are cycling their products, sticking with a core flagship brand longer and improving upon it. Golf is in a good place.”
Golfers Warehouse’s 90-Day Satisfaction Guarantee exchange policy is a major factor in continued consumer approval ratings. It’s pretty simple: If for any reason the buyer is not completely satisfied with a product purchased from Golfers Warehouse within a 90-day time period, the customer can return the equipment for a replacement or full store credit.
Britt also believes consumers will continue to be attracted to Golfers Warehouse because the stores are enjoyable places to spend time, whether you buy or not, a place where one can revel in the world of golf.
“We want people to have fun when they come in. We have to really be customer friendly, make our stores comfortable and fun, and deliver a high level of customer service, handling our customers’ needs as they arise. Building personal relationships with our customers is our calling card.”
As for the future, Britt said, “Certainly we are not afraid of intelligent growth. Worldwide Golf has 84 stories in the company right now and we recently opened a new store in New Mexico and are moving into a new store in Nashville, Tn. We always have our eyes and ears open and when we see an opportunity we will not be afraid to take it.”
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