Profile of Success: A Victorious Resurgence
• Housefile deterioration: Although the company’s catalog production staff remained intact throughout the bankruptcy proceedings, employees and management in other key areas, such as circulation management and customer service, were either laid off or left the company on their own. During that earlier period, U.S Cavalry also was unable to cost-effectively mail its catalog.
• Loss of good faith relationships with suppliers: An obvious side effect of the bankruptcy filing was that many suppliers were hesitant to work with the company, Garvey says, even under new management.
• Reactivated old customers: Garvey and his team first identified the ideal U.S. Cavalry customer. He then sifted through the company’s extensive past buyer file searching for names to reactivate.
Garvey says that despite U.S. Cavalry’s past problems, the brand still carried a lot of respect with customers. Customers didn’t realize that the bankruptcy filing was the reason catalogs were only mailed sporadically for a few years; they were simply happy to be regularly receiving the catalog again, he says.
Along with renewed prospecting efforts, the reactivation campaign was a success, Garvey notes. Part of the company’s earlier problems was the inability to reach all the customers who were interested in its products. With a renewed catalog effort, the business bounced back.
• Rebuilt the
company’s reputation: U.S. Cavalry’s renewed focus on who its customers were helped fuel growth. That soon convinced most suppliers it was in their best interest to work with the company again, according to Garvey. Suppliers that initially were reluctant to come back on board realized that if U.S. Cavalry wasn’t working with them, it likely would work with rival vendors. Along with U.S. Cavalry’s renewed growth, Garvey used this leverage to bring back hesitant suppliers.
Garvey’s first task was to rebuild U.S. Cavalry’s organizational structure. One of his major initiatives was integrating the company’s e-commerce and retail software platforms with the rest of the company’s enterprise management systems. Centralizing the purchasing and inventory control processes was essential to recharging the company, Garvey says.
Company founded: 1973
Catalog Established: 1975
Headquarters: Radcliff, Ky.
Primary merchandise: military and law enforcement equipment
# of SKUs: 50,000
Circulation: more than 100,000
Customer demographics: military and law enforcement, outdoor enthusiasts
Sales channels: retail 10 percent; direct (including catalog and Internet) 45 percent; contracts 45 percent
# of employees: 120
# of stores: 3