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March 19, 2013 > Archery's Golden Age

Archery's Golden Age

By Steve Taylor

One local sports shop is enjoying a golden age of sorts. Archery Only in Newark just expanded their indoor shooting range and pro shop to accommodate the new interest in their sport. The expansion, nearly doubling the size of the shop and completed late last year, was necessary to accommodate the flood of new archers coming in after seeing bow-slinging heroes in blockbuster movies like "The Hunger Games", "Brave" and the TV series "Arrow" on the CW.

"Last couple of years it (archery) just exploded," Wayne Piersol, owner of Archery Only for the past 23 years explained. "Young girls and boys come in after seeing the movies, then buy a starter bow and setup. And plenty of them come back to practice." For $25, you can rent all the necessary archery equipment (Bow, Arrows, Finger Tab, Arm Guard) and get an hour on the range to play "Merida", "Katniss", or any noble archer you'd like. Bring your own equipment and the lane rental is just $10/hour.

With 12, twenty-yard indoor lanes, the store hosts Olympic style target shooting and Bowhunting events weekly, as well as supervised instructions for the young and old. On scheduled days, you might see the Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, a birthday party, the disabled/handicapped and even a handful of "visually impaired" or special events for the blind.

Archery Only typically runs two leagues: a "Vegas" target shooting grouping that runs October to February, and a Bow Hunting League that simulates hunting conditions shooting from elevated stands at cushioned, life-like animal figures February through May. The Beginner's League is just that and starts whenever a dozen sign up.

Few businesses can claim steadily growing revenues over these past three economically tough years, but this recreational venture is one of them. Piersol said the shop's annual income, including bow, equipment sales and service as well as range fees "usually make in the six figures." That's a lot of arrows downrange!
Piersol credits his personal touch and "hands on" approach to explain Archery Only's success where ranges offering the same product have failed in the area. He said, "a few years ago, there were about10 archery shops in the South Bay. Now, there are three." This approach was on display over and over as Piersol abruptly ditched an interviewer to tend to customers, calling each by name.

Although startup costs can be high, Archery Only's beginner's kits start at under $200, and learning the craft can be relatively cheap. Arrows can be reused for years and for the price of a few hay bales to stop them and 60 feet of backyard space, you've got your own range. Plus, there are five outdoor ranges within an hour drive of the Tri-Cities offering FREE access to archers. "It's like buying golf clubs, which aren't cheap, then being able to skip the green's fees", Piersol adds. Links for directions to the public outdoor ranges can be found at their website: archeryonly.com

Archery Only
37300 Cedar Blvd., Newark
(510) 795-0460
Mon - Fri: 12 p.m. - 9 p.m.
Saturday: 11 a.m. - 5 p.m.

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