This article is from the October 2019 edition of Full Swing, the official News Magazine of the New England PGA. Check out the full issue here.
Jack and Amanda Davis, PGA, have spent the last few years reviving the pro shop at Essex County Club. They’ve reshuffled, redesigned, restocked and redecorated. But perhaps most important to their success has been their ability to listen to the members.
“I have the philosophy that it’s so much listening and learning from what they want,” Amanda said of the Essex members. “I think if you do that, there’s no doubt you can be successful.”
Prior to the Davis’ joining Essex County Club, Jack as the Head Professional and later Amanda as an Assistant Professional, the pro shop’s annual revenues were roughly $250,000 per year. By 2018, despite a rain-soaked season in which rounds were down significantly, sales reached $475,000, a number projected to reach half a million in 2019.
Jack and Amanda have left their mark on so many aspects of the business that it’s impossible to point to one specific difference-maker. They’ve strategically added some much-needed lighting to the 650-square foot shop. They’ve simplified displays and experimented with different brands while maintaining a low brand-count. They’ve brought in merchandise to attract members of the club who are more engaged in non-golf activities. All of this, combined with Amanda’s background as a visual merchandiser, has been a formula for success.
“My job for Peter Millar was traveling around to their top accounts in Florida, New York and Connecticut, which to me was a dream job if you’re planning to run your own shop,” Amanda said. “Just picking and choosing things from all these great buyers and Pros, which is so crucial in transitioning to this shop.”
While Amanda’s experience is certainly an advantage, the Davis’ ability to cater their strategy to the things that make Essex County Club unique has also helped boost the bottom line.
“We have a pretty unique benefit of being the only retail shop,” Amanda said. “There are no malls really close to us, so the members really look to us as more than just a golf shop. I would say our philosophy is more clean merchandise, we don’t use too many props. We really want it to feel high-end and nice, but also shoppable. Hopefully we continue to set ourselves as more than just golf shirts and golf balls and clubs.”
The couple’s success has yielded more than just a booming business. Jack and Amanda will take home the 2019 New England PGA Merchandiser of the Year (Private) Award this fall. But while their work has been validated by the prestigious award, the process of improving never stops.
“It’s a constant process. We’re learning every second,” Amanda said. “Bringing it back, the best shops that I traveled to when I was working with Peter Millar, they would have every single person on their staff be well-versed in the properties and the technical features of all of their items that they carry in their shop. It makes the process feel less like a sales pitch if you understand why it’s there. That’s something that we’re always also trying to get better at.”
Jack and Amanda will collect their award at the annual NEPGA Awards Dinner on November 2 at Cyprian Keyes Golf Club.
“It’s an honor. It’s been both of our goals to win a Section award and for me it’s always been Merchandiser of the Year, so it’s awesome,” Amanda said. “The important points with us are the team environment at Essex and how everyone plays a part in this. It might be our names on it but the whole team had a ton of effort put into this.”