published Saturday, January 19th, 2013

On target: High Country Archery opens retail outlet

Owner Nathan Land talks in his shop at Archer's Choice on Hixson Pike.
Owner Nathan Land talks in his shop at Archer's Choice on Hixson Pike.
Photo by Angela Lewis.
  • photo
    Jason Campbell fires a couple of arrows as Doc Crowe watches at Archer's Choice on Hixson Pike.
    Photo by Angela Lewis.
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Nathan Land grew up in the 1980s bow hunting in Northern Idaho with his father, Spencer, who invented some of the best compound bows at that time.

At age 33, Nathan Land still is passionate about archery. As the owner of the bow-making business his father started -- High Country Archery -- the younger Land is hoping to find the bull's-eye of America's renewed interest in archery.

"We want people to know we're here and eager to grow," Land said.

To help improve the local profile and service of the business, Land recently opened Chattanooga's newest and largest archery shop, called Archer's Choice Bowhunting Equipment. The new store on Hixson Pike will serve as a showroom for HCA's products and other archery equipment, as well as a service center for High Country products.

Land said he decided to use the 4,000-square-foot building with a pitched blue roof to open the company's first retail and service outlet. Land bought the site six years ago and said the new store should help showcase High Country Archery bows and arrows, along with other brand name equipment, and provide a place for local customers to get quicker service and warranty work, if needed.

The store also is an outlet for high-end landscape stone.

High Country Archery, which Spencer Land began in Orofino, Idaho more than three decades ago, pioneered some of the best bows from the 1980s through the first part of this century.

But the company later fell into hard times as competitors developed their own faster and more efficient bows and archery enthusiasm declined among some hunters.

The younger Land also blames mismanagement for hurting the High Country Archery brand when it was in Dunlap, Tenn., and once grew to nearly 150 employees.

Through Hunters Heritage Group LL, the younger Land bought the assets of High Country Archery nearly four years ago and relocated the business to Hamilton County.

"The strength of the intellectual property, accompanied with the well-known brand as High Country Archery, is a huge asset," Land said when he bought the business. "My goal as a manufacturer is to continue that legacy by producing quality products backed by superior service."

Nathan Land already is boosting sales and says he is eager to promote youth archery and other programs to entice more people into the sport he loves.

Land believes he is on target with the growing interest in archery sparked by the popularity of "The Hunger Games," the movie that has grossed more than $400 million and landed archery in the bull's-eye of pop culture.

Bow advancements

In its 31-year history, High Country Archery has developed more than 20 patented bow and arrow designs, including one of the first bows to allow users to hold the tension on a bow with less strength, and designs that deliver faster and provide more accurate shots.

Spencer Land, who owned a pawn shop and sporting goods store in Idaho before starting High Country Archery, developed the first 65 percent let-off cam in 1983 with its Pro Eliminator.

He followed that invention up with such pioneering bows as the Hatchet Cam in 1989, the first extruded aluminum riser of its kind in 1992 known as Ultra Extreme, the first carbon riser in 1996, and the roller guard in 2002.

High Country Archery bows, which typically sell for $200 to $800 each, are sold through more than 100 dealers around the globe.

Archer's Choice Bowhunting Equipment is being managed by Joshua "Doc" Crowe, who handles the company's tech department.

"High Country Archery continues to be a dealer-only company, but Archer's Choice is unique in that it presents a showroom for High Country's products as well as other brand name equipment on a local level," Crowe said.

about Dave Flessner...

Dave Flessner is the business editor for the Times Free Press. A journalist for 35 years, Dave has been business editor and projects editor for the Chattanooga Times Free Press, city editor for The Chattanooga Times, business and county reporter for the Chattanooga Times, correspondent for the Lansing State Journal and Ingham County News in Michigan, staff writer for the Hastings Daily Tribune in Nebraska, and news director for WCBN-FM in Michigan. Dave, a native ...

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