A Chat With Dennis Garvey, chief operating officer, U.S. Cavalry
DG: The biggest challenge revolved around the fact that going through that bankruptcy process, you lose a lot of people. And the resources weren’t there during that period to keep up things like mailing lists and all the background things to be able to cost effectively mail the catalog and get it out to the right people. Across the board, it was a rebuilding experience. Getting our mailing list squared away, getting our customer profile organized so we could mail effectively. That was the biggest challenge with the catalog. We’ve always had a very outstanding art department and group here that was capable of putting together a first class catalog. The main problem was redeveloping and rejuvenating our mailing list.
CS: How did you deal with it?
DG: It was a combination of a lot of things. We had a lot of history on our internal databases that we went back and tried to farm creatively to capture some of our older customers who hadn’t done business with us in a while. We actually experienced a good deal of success with that. We also did a mix of renting mailing lists and other prospecting techniques that over time build the list back up. One of the things I’ve found with U.S. Cavalry, and I credit the original owner with this, he built up a tremendous amount of brand equity. And one of the things we found when we started getting back towards doing the catalogs properly is that there were a lot of people who wondered where we went. They weren’t aware of the bankruptcy process, but they very much had a lot of fond memories of dealing with U.S. Cavalry. It never ceases to amaze me that wherever I go, people seem to recognize the brand. I’ve had it everywhere. From walking into a Starbucks in the middle of Indiana, and having someone who wasn’t old enough to serve in the military but has seen the catalogs because their family shopped through them. Going through an airport, you always see former military folks with the TSA, and they see the shirt and let me know they come to the store or shop the catalog. I had a problem with my Blackberry, and when I called Cingular for assistance, (my Blackberry was a company phone and registered under the U.S. Cavalry name) and the service operator was familiar with the brand. I thought that was kind of a kick.