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Outdoor Group aims for growth

Rochester Business Journal
August 30, 2013

The president of the Outdoor Group LLC expects to move some workers to Henrietta within 60 days and end up with as many as 125 employees there when its new facility is completed.
The Outdoor Group was formed in March 2012 as a holding company for Elite Outdoors LLC, which does business as Elite Archery on Middle Road, and six other businesses. It has seven subsidiaries in New York, Kentucky and Oregon.
The locally based company plans to acquire a local machine shop, All-American Mold Inc. on West Avenue in Rochester, and move its 17 employees to the new building on John Street Extension.
"Right now, we're spread out from a business perspective," said Peter Crawford, president and a partner in the ownership group. "We're in multiple locations. It's very hard to have a unified direction and management strategy. Once we get under one roof, it'll be a lot easier to do all that."
In addition to Elite Archery, the Outdoor Group is the parent of Perfect Form Manufacturing LLC and Solid Broadhead Co. in Henrietta; Scott Archery, Custom Bow Equipment and Duel Game Calls in Clay City, Ky.; and Winner's Choice Custom Bowstrings Inc. in John Day, Ore.
The company plans to buy 5 acres of land on John Street Extension and build a 70,000-square-foot facility that will include sales and administration, production, and research and development.
Outdoor Group employs 29 people in Henrietta now, and Crawford expects to add 50 workers in three years. Some 55 are employed in Kentucky and 45 are employed in Oregon, he said.
Scott Archery and Custom Bow Equipment were purchased in March 2012, at which time the business was reorganized with its holding company. The two companies make releases and target sights.
"We knew we needed a platform to bring investment dollars in and work with banks, taxes, the whole thing," Crawford said.
The Outdoor Group acquired Mossback Game Calls in Clay City, Ky., in January and changed the name to Duel Game Calls. Duel Game Calls' eight employees will be moved to Henrietta.
The company also acquired Winner's Choice Custom Bowstrings this past January.
Perfect Form Manufacturing was formed in 2011. The Outdoor Group bought Solid Broadhead, a maker of arrowheads, in December 2012.
Crawford decided to spend $5.5 million on the Henrietta facility after being approved this week for property tax breaks of $295,930 from the County of Monroe Industrial Development Agency. COMIDA projects a benefit to the community of nearly $6 million.
The Outdoor Group also is getting $900,000 in tax credits from the Empire State Development Corp.'s Excelsior Jobs Program.
"I was going to move all the machining to Kentucky, which was another 20 or 30 jobs from Monroe County," Crawford said. "Now they're not moving. They're going to stay in Rochester because of COMIDA and the Excelsior grants.
"In the next couple of years, the county, COMIDA, the state, they're going to look at this as a highly successful use of tax credits and abatements, because, quite honestly, it did save a bunch of jobs. And it anchored us."
The Outdoor Group does business around the world, Crawford said. Its primary market is the United States and Canada, with sales as far away as China, Australia, New Zealand and Africa.
"Now we're going to build an almost 70,000-square-foot facility, and we're not going anywhere," he said. "We're going to have 100 or 125 employees in that building, working 20 to 24 hours a day from now until the foreseeable future."
The Outdoor Group is considered among the elite manufacturers of bows, with a two-track system that allows bows to be drawn with less effort than traditional models.
"You can buy a bow for $200 or you can buy a bow for $800 or $900," he said. "We're the $800 or $900 version. We spend a lot of extra time making our products better, and we have the best warranties in the business.
"If you drive over our products with your truck and it's 100 percent your fault, we replace it, no questions asked. We take really good care of our customers."
Crawford, 43, is a native of Avon, Livingston County. He now lives in Henrietta, close to where the new building will be.
"My father died when I was 8 years old," he said. "My mother got me into fishing. I still fish, but not as much as I bow hunt or participate in archery. When I was around 16 years old, I got introduced to archery, and I haven't looked back since then."
Crawford managed floor companies in Monroe County and other businesses along the way.
"My passion was always the outdoors," he said. "I finally decided that I'm good in business, I know what archers want, and I'm going to go that way."
The Outdoor Group generates $20 million in annual revenues, with a growth rate of 60 percent, Crawford said.
"It's growing significantly now, which is why we're going from 20,000 feet of leased space to 67,000," he said. "It's to make sure we can accommodate that growth.
"I grew up here. I have friends and a couple of family members that work for me. This isn't just about money."

8/30/13 (c) 2013 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or email

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