KETCHUM, Idaho, March 30, 2004 — Two weeks ago Smith Optics invited two groups of key dealers to Sun Valley to participate in a week of feedback, input and fun. The invited dealers were determined by Smith Optics’ many channels of trade–the first two days being host to the Sport Specialty group, which consisted of Bike Specialty, Outdoor and General Sporting Goods and Resort retailers. The latter part of the week was held for the Lifestyle retailers, which included Surf/Skate/Snow shops as well as Sunglass Specialty. The dealers attended meetings along with many of Smith’s in-house employees including the President Ned Post, Senior VP of Sales Blair Clark, and Senior VP of Marketing Kerry Marumoto. Topics covered the entire business spectrum, from sales programs and customer service, to product mix and marketing strategies. Dealers also had a chance to enjoy Sun Valley at its best—the weather was cooperative and the skiing and snowboarding was a perfect respite from the long meetings.
Duke Edukas from the successful Orange County-based Surfside Sports had a positive experience. “Not only were we made to feel like a part of the Smith Family, we also learned some very informative facts about Smith products and infrastructure. One of the most valuable things we learned was that the people at Smith truly do care about their retailers–not just in the extraordinary way that we were treated during our visit, but also in the way they value the input of their dealers. Our meetings were great and always to the point. Never boring, always interesting, sometime provocative! I truly felt like we were a part of the Smith decision-making process for the immediate future, as well as for years to come.”
Smith Optics’ managers solicited honest feedback from the dealers, and plan to use the information immediately in all programs to provide products and services to the best of their ability. The request for openness was at first surprising, but then openly embraced. Ron McCann, owner and manager of the Colorado Sun Logic chain, said, “The glimpse of what’s to come shows me Smith is on track, plus the willingness to listen to where I see opportunity was fantastic. The environment was pure ‘tell it like it is’- and we did. I can fully back a company like Smith that is already solid but still recognizes the need to get even better.”
After reviewing information from the meeting, Smith plans to execute change in many programs. One of the main directions to come from the meeting is to pursue an even more aggressive stance in its polarized lens offering—from revamping pricing of polarized Sliders to $129, to creating a more effective polarized lens testing display and in-store materials, to introducing two new custom polarized lens tints. Dealers also offered input on the seven new sunglass models to be introduced in April.
Based in Sun Valley, Idaho, with a Southern California office located in San Clemente, Smith Sport Optics, Inc. was founded in 1965 with the creation of the first goggle featuring a sealed thermal lens and breathable vent foam. Today, Smith is as well known for its diverse line of fashion and performance sunglasses as it is for its goggles. From Smith’s distortion-free Tapered Lens Technology to the versatility of the Slider Series, with its patented, interchangeable lens system, the devotion to excellence, innovation and style is what has made Smith goggles and sunglasses the choice of action-sport athletes worldwide. Smith products are sold in more than 50 countries through sporting goods and specialty stores. For more information visit www.smithsport.com.