Well it’s been a hectic few weeks, and it doesn’t show any signs of letting up. This time of year at Countryman Fairs is all about finalising last year, and confirming next. Pretty much all of the research has been done, and it’s now all about putting plans in motion.
However, there is one thing that’s going to be taking a completely new direction. As many of you will know, I have been working closely with Realtree Europe for many years now, both with Countryman Fairs, and personally through my hunting and media activities. I say ‘personally’, but there really is no distinction between my personal and business lives!
I discovered recently that Realtree will be closing their European Office, and moving the management of their international business interests to their Headquarters in Columbus, Georgia. My first thoughts were for Donna and Viki, with whom we have been working so closely for nearly a decade. Barely a day went by without a phone call to at least one of them! However they seem bright and positive about the future, after getting over the initial uncertainty.
I’m being asked on a regular basis ‘what’s going to happen?’ and ‘how does this affect us?’ from people across the shooting community and I tell everyone the same thing – it’s business as usual until we hear otherwise. Of course things will change, as is invariably the case when people move on, and others take the reigns – this is normal.
However, while change can always be a stressful and complicated process, it can also offer new opportunities. People see things in different ways, and a fresh perspective can sometimes help to move things forward. I’m hoping that those taking responsibility for the international portfolio will see the potential of our market, and the vibrance of the community surrounding it.
One of the things I like most about the Realtree brand are the core values which provide its foundation. These include the universally shared values of sportsmanship, family, conservation and community. Donna and Viki are the epitome of these values, and behaved with integrity throughout their representation of Realtree across the globe.
I will miss their interaction on a day-to-day basis in my association with Realtree, but I’m sure that the friendship we have forged will remain as strong as ever. I wish them both the best in their future endeavours, and I’m sure our paths will continue to cross.
And so now begins a new chapter in our Realtree relationship, with new faces, new ideas and a new approach. Although I think I’ll always be a little sad when I look back, as you do when you miss your friends, in many ways I’m excited to see what our future holds.