Why Hornady Stopped Selling Ammunition to Walmart 12 Years Ago
September 8, 2019
Jason Hornady’s quote from 2007, shows that the company sticks to its values and doesn’t shy away from making tough decisions.
When Walmart made its most recent decision to flip the firearms industry the bird by changing multiple policies, Hornady Manufacturing reminded all of us that they stopped doing business with the retail giant back in 2007. Jason Hornady’s quote from 2007, shows that the company sticks to its values and doesn’t shy away from making tough decisions. Jason is the vice president of Hornady, and we were able to pick his brain about his past dealings with Walmart and what he thinks the effects will be from Walmart’s decision.
RECOIL: Why did Hornady decide to stop selling to Walmart back in 2007?
Jason Hornady: In my previous life, I worked for a company that lived and died by Walmart. And like many companies, Walmart treated them poorly. And, as we were going through these things with Walmart, I decided that if I was ever in a situation where I didn’t have to do business with them, I would not. And when I got to Hornady, we were doing some business with them, it wasn’t a lot, but they started to become difficult to work with again. I was in a situation where I made the decision for our company to walk away and everybody in the company supported my decision. And we have not looked back.
RECOIL: Did you feel any repercussions from that decision?
JH: No. Quite to the contrary. We then started being very public with the fact that we weren’t going to do business with Walmart. And we were applauded by our customers and our partners. Everybody thought it was a great decision. By not selling to them made us a far better brand for a lot of our customers. Essentially what it boils down to is that we decided to pick who our partners are. And we don’t pick Walmart, ever.
We believe in our partners, and part of my issue with Walmart is that they don’t support our industry, they don’t support what we do– they don’t contribute back. They take out of the industry, and they don’t put back into the industry, which is important to us at Hornady Manufacturing. Stealing a quote from a friend of mine, “We don’t manage our business from quarter-to-quarter. We manage our business from generation-to-generation,” and that’s all we’re looking for in the long run. We don’t believe that they [Walmart] were going to be good long run customers. And it turns out we were right. We feel the same way about other companies- we don’t sell to Gander Mountain direct. I believe the person in charge there is anti-gun. Until he calls my father and me and says he’s not, we choose not to sell to them direct. We chose not to do business with Sports Authority because of the same thing; they weren’t good partners. We chose not to do business with the state agency of New York after Andrew Cuomo came out and said he was going to try and break the firearms industry. We’re lucky that we can choose people that we think see the world the way we do.
RECOIL: We’ve seen Hornady products in Walmart more recently. How did that happen?
JH: From what we understand, each Walmart store manager has the power to bring in products they feel are applicable to the marketplace, and so in markets there places where they can purchase from distributors. We do business with a lot of wholesalers who distribute our products, and so, what has happened is in certain areas Walmart managers have opted to bring in merchandise through distribution. And, we wouldn’t necessarily know about it; There’s no way for us to track that, but we do not have any direct accounts with Walmart or Walmart.com. We have no interest in doing business with them.
¨We do business with a lot of wholesalers who distribute our products, and so, what has happened is in certain areas Walmart managers have opted to bring in merchandise through distribution. And, we wouldn’t necessarily know about it; There’s no way for us to track that, but we do not have any direct accounts with Walmart or Walmart.com. We have no interest in doing business with them.¨
RECOIL: What would you say to the people upset about the recent decisions Walmart has made?
JH: They shouldn’t be surprised. People shouldn’t be surprised over their decision, and we respect their ability to make decisions as a business. I’m certain that it wasn’t an easy decision on their part. I’m also certain that I’m glad that we were not a partner of theirs for the last twelve years, and certainly now. I don’t feel like we missed a thing.
But, the thing about this is that it’s not good for the industry. Any time you make it harder for somebody to participate in a sport, I don’t care what sport it is, as soon as you make it harder for that customer to participate in the shooting sports, the more likely he is to find something else to do with his recreational time. It’s not going to be good for the shooting sports industry, and it makes me sad. Nobody thinks that it’s good for the shooting sports industry because it’s just eliminating access to somewhere around 4,700 to 4,800 stores.
RECOIL: What ways does Hornady give back to the industry?
JH: We are heavily involved with the NRA, NSSF, youth shooting sports, as well as 4-H, numerous competitive shooting matches, events, and banquets. We not only support our industry but our community and our state, as well. We try to give back to the places where we live. I can guarantee you that you’ll never see Walmart’s name on anything in our locality, but you see all the family-owned businesses on them.
RECOIL: What are you looking forward to in the near future, as it relates to Hornady?
JH: We’re excited we’ve got a meeting with our sales force in two weeks with a hundred people coming to town to see our factory, to meet with our employees, and we’ll be able to reveal our new products to them. Shortly after that, we’ve got a PRS match that we’re participating in with several employees. We’ve got several hunts– it is hunting season, so everybody around here starts to get kind of smiley at the season. We’re certainly excited about some of the stuff for 2020; October 23rd is when we launch our new products. We’re proud to be sitting in the middle of Nebraska, the Midwest, running a business, not quarter-to-quarter, but running it for shooters.