Catalog Profile: Austad’s
When Mammoth Sports Group purchased the Austad’s golf catalog from Hanover Direct this past October, it became “a new company under new ownership with a new mission,” says Kent Arett, president of Mammoth Sports Group located in Jessup, MD.
“We knew there was a lot of potential there that was not being tapped. This was an underperforming business. That was the whole reason we bought it [Austad’s],” Arett explains.
Under terms of the agreement, Mammoth Sports Group, which also owns several Mammoth Golf superstores and an e-commerce site, purchased Austad’s complete inventory, customer base and historical artwork with plans to quickly ramp up the catalog’s mailing frequency to 12 times a year and to make substantial investments toward improving the overall effectiveness of the catalog business—from the creative look of the book ... to the merchandise it sells in its pages ... to the marketing and media plan ... to the service it provides to its customers on the back end. Also on the drawing board for the not-too-distant future: Plans to formulate an integrated Web presence with Mammothgolf.com, which as of October 1999 was getting 12 million hits a month.
An Entrepreneurial Edge
How Kent Arett came to Mammoth is an interesting story in itself. Mammoth’s Founder and CEO Bill Albright had started as a beverage distributor. He founded Maryland Beverage in 1986, and grew a very successful business selling juices and sodas; he sold that business at a hefty profit by 1991. Soon after that, Albright bought a regional marketer of golf clubs in Pennsylvania, then started to sell them through a catalog and later on the Web. This became the foundation for Mammoth Golf.
Independent of Albright, Arett had worked in the direct marketing field since 1973, including a long career at Sears catalog, which lasted until 1993. “In 1998, I was looking for an underperforming catalog to buy,” he recalls. In the summer of 1999, Arett identified a possible candidate in the Austad’s catalog, which was owned by Hanover Direct. “I negotiated for the rights to buy Austad’s. About the same time, Bill bought my company, then [called] Euclid Logistics, and I came to Maryland as president of Mammoth.” Then, with the help of J. Schmid & Associates, a catalog consulting firm in Shawnee Mission, KS, headed by Jack Schmid, Arett began examining the numbers.