As far as ‘little acorns’ go, this one’s pretty sizeable. Distributor Sporting Wholesale has seen impressive growth since its establishment in the early 2000s; starting out in a 1,000sq/ft unit in Colindale, Eddy Eliaz and his team have now moved to Harpenden, where they have a 40,000 sq/ft premises from which to operate.
“This year our turnover is above £6million,” Eddy says. “The UK is still our main market, but we’re very strong in Europe now, and as far as America and Canada.”
So why feature Sporting Wholesale in Little Acorns? Eddy explains that there is still more growth to be had: “We’ve got two sides to the business; we’ve got NGT, which is our fishing tackle side and Anglo Arms, which is our shooting side. Sporting Wholesale is the company that they both fall under.
“Overall I would probably say that Anglo Arms is 30 per cent of the business and NGT is probably 70 per cent, but I think it’s going to start moving a little. We want to do more on the Anglo Arms side. We’ve increased the range. Reason being, from our point of view, especially now in the winter, fishing is very seasonal but shooting is more stable. Margins are good, the items are generally smaller and easier to handle, and it’s where we’ve seen growth.”
This year Eddy has plans to really push forward Anglo Arms to bring it up to the level of NGT: “We export a hell of a lot of fishing tackle into Europe and we sell a lot of the Anglo Arms items domestically, but we’re not that strong on Anglo Arms in Europe and beyond, so that’s where we can really see some potential growth.” Tactics include putting in an appearance at IWA in Nuremberg, taking place 4-7 March. “We’re looking forward to that. We’ve got a custom stand, we’ve got someone from the UK that’s going to drive over and build it, so hopefully it will all look pretty good and that should push our growth into Europe.”
As for Sporting Wholesale’s business ethos, Eddy insists it’s a focused approach that will reap rewards. “Our unique selling point is that we don’t stock everything under the sun,” he says. “Some wholesalers have 10,000 to 15,000 lines – we’ve got under 1,000. What we tend to do is pick the most popular products. For example, we do a three-piece sword set. Some companies will do a different design, different colours, but we’ll take the most popular item, bring a lot of them in, really negotiate the price, make sure everything is right, and focus on that. So rather than having a massive range to offer, our range is smaller but with more popular items and the price is always good. It’s a narrower focus and for us that’s worked. We are a volume seller; that is our strength.”
And he’s confident that Sporting Wholesale has the ingredients to attract more trade customers in the UK: “The reason for the continued growth is that we constantly spend a lot of time on product development, we bring in good products at the right price, our artwork and packaging is good – we’ve got in-house designers that do that for us – and of course, good service.”