DEALER BLOG 004:

GREEN TOP

“We are here because of our customers – we know that – so we make every effort to be here for our customers”

In a city rich with history, the story of Green Top fits right in. Currently in their 69th year, Green Top of Ashland, VA, is set to kick off year 70 with a bang.

In 1947, their first year in business, Green Top didn’t have a single firearm to sell and was not a sporting goods store. Rather, it was a gas station with a focus on selling fuel and fireworks. As the story goes, a customer who was short on funds came to the gas station in need of a fill-up. To cover the purchase, he traded a Colt WWII-era 1911, which was later sold for a profit. This pivotal point in Green Top’s history redirected the focus of the business from gasoline to firearms and would eventually grow them into one of the biggest sporting goods stores in Virginia.

green top

Almost seven decades and three changes of location has generated a lot of change for the business, but some consistencies have helped ensure their success.

“Throughout the years, we have had one goal — to provide the best in customer service and the best advice on the products we sell,” said Hunter Brooks, Green Top’s General Manager. “We’ve found that part of providing excellent customer service is doing whatever we can to keep our employees – they are the ones who deliver the service and advice.”

Brooks has been with Green Top for 20 years, which he said isn’t uncommon. “We have a lot of employees who have worked here for at least 20 years, including our Vice President, Pat Hopkins, who is about to celebrate his 50-year anniversary with the company,” Brooks said. Pat has been working with the company since he was 15 years old. “Customers come into our store expecting to see the same faces they’ve seen every time.”

green top

Another way Green Top shows an appreciation for their employees is through their advertising efforts. Green Top Testimonials is a radio spot featuring Green Top employees talking about their areas of expertise such as fishing, hunting, guns, etc., as well as highlighting new products in the store, specials being run, or upcoming events that Green Top is hosting. “This form of advertising allows customers to come into the store and look for the employee they heard on the radio,” Brooks said. “It transforms a radio spot from product pitched to employee pitched.”

You don’t cultivate a successful 70-year business without taking your share of risks. “Risk is part of the business – if you don’t take risks, you’re going to regret it in the long run,” said Brooks. “For example, we recently started selling Black Rifle Coffee, and I’ll be the first to tell you that a sporting goods store is not at the top any coffee buyer’s list. But we took that risk and began selling coffee. Now, we have people come by just to buy Black Rifle Coffee. Risk and reward.”

green top

Getting customers in the door is half the battle – the other half is keeping them engaged. To address this, Green Top designed their retail floor to function like a library of products; customers can get firearms in their hands, check them out, and peruse at their own pace. This hands-on approach means customers can shop, learn, and inspect products without having to wait for an employee to grab something from behind the counter.

“We are here because of our customers – we know that – so we make every effort to be here for our customers,” said Brooks. “It’s all about being happy in life and loving what you do. When we get the chance to help someone experience that happiness, that’s what makes it all worth it.”

To keep up with Green Top Sporting Goods, be sure to visit their website www.greentophuntfish.com, or follow them on Facebook @GreenTopHuntFish.

green top

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