Profile of Success: More than Military Might
When I last spoke to Randy Acton in 1999, his U.S. Cavalry catalog was focused mainly on selling camouflage pants, flak jackets, crossbows, nightscopes, military memorabilia and the like.
Today, he says: “There’s been a major change in our business as we’ve moved from an almost exclusively military product line-up to selling law-enforcement and anti-terrorist products.”
Even before Sept. 11, U.S. Cavalry Inc. started to move to more law enforcement-related products as the military downsized in the 1990s. “Look at my industry and the place where it is now,” says Acton. “We’ve had to move away from military and on the upside with the law enforcement.” Acton says he recognized the need for change by watching trends. “It’s the old adage of staying in touch. This gave us a clue as to what new things we could sell”—and also what products to drop. For example, he says, “Humorous military mottos on T-shirts that were popular 10 years ago are taken completely differently now.”
One thing that won’t change with these changing times is the company’s name. Says Acton, “The brand name has been out there for so long (29 years), and we have spent so many dollars to develop it that we could not walk away from it.”
Big Changes Are Afoot
CavPro is U.S. Cavalry’s business-to-business catalog and Web operation. That’s where much of the company’s growth has been in recent years and also where Acton believes further growth potential lies.
About 30 percent of the company’s business is currently from b-to-b sales. It also has a separate contract sales division that sells to the government. Another new b-to-b unit, CSGSHQ.com, supplies specialized equipment for homeland security, such as suits for chemical protection. The other 70 percent of sales include 23 percent mail order/catalog; 27 percent Web via UScav.com; and 20 percent retail.