When Rob Kaufhold of Lancaster Archery Supply in Pennsylvania needed to expand his company’s youth programs, he launched the Lancaster Archery Academy. This undertaking might seem risky, but it was just good business to Kaufhold, Lancaster’s president.
“We have five indoor archery ranges featuring a total of 55 lanes and a world-leading TechnoHunt video range,” Kaufhold said.
Since the Academy opened in October 2013, it has attracted over 2,000 people. Some are beginners and some seek help improving their skills. “We’ve seen huge increases in beginner and intermediate-bow and bow-package sales from the Academy,” Kaufhold said. “It’s added about $200,000 in our pro-shop showroom sales.”
Not content to simply open the Academy, Kaufhold – ever the innovator – has also hired three archery experts who are Olympic hopefuls or once lived at the U.S. Olympic Training Center. Holly Stover, Dan Schuller and Heather Pfeil would make a formidable archery team. Instead, they’re part of Kaufhold’s team of friendly, helpful archery technicians who also teach the sport and coach serious young athletes. They also fit right in with the rest of the Lancaster Archery Supply crew, all of whom are archers.
“There’s no question we needed to hire the best coaches possible,” Kaufhold said. “They must also relate to kids, parents/grandparents, and archers of all ages and skill levels. We chose Heather Pfeil from Leo’s JOAD in Buffalo, N.Y., not only for her awesome archery experience, but also her organization and management skills.
“It has been incredible to have Heather directing our Academy,” Kaufhold continued. “She’s far exceeded our expectations. Her experience … at the Olympic Training Center, combined with recent years of high-level competitive compound-bow shooting, give her great insights into every archer’s needs.”
Kaufhold said Stover fills the need for a coach with recurve credibility. “Holly Stover came to us about a month after we hired Heather,” he said. “Holly brings cutting-edge experience as a resident athlete who worked with Coach Lee and National Training System (NTS) recurve coaches. Holly’s greatest assets are her bubbly personality and ability to relate with archers of all skill levels. We get rave reviews from Holly’s students.”
Pfeil loves many things about working for Lancaster Archery Supply, but professional rewards are most important.
“I’m always amazed how many new archers walk in, just curious about archery,” she said. “It’s rewarding to teach them, and hear their stories and emotions on how archery relates to them or helped them in life, even in a short amount of time. I love watching people grow in the sport, from the moment they don’t think they can hit the target or even pull the bow, to shooting six in the gold at 18M.”
Stover echoed Pfeil’s thoughts, noting that her background helps her teach. “My archery experience has been a huge help [for] coaching,” she said. “I can relate to what archers go through because I’ve been there. My competition experience helps me prepare students who want to compete and take their shooting to the next level.”
Stover especially enjoys watching her students grow confident. “Everyone has to start somewhere,” she said. “Understanding the ups and downs that come with learning archery helps me relate to what students go through. I can explain what’s going on and how to solve problems with my archers. The best part is watching someone come out of their shell. It’s a great feeling when a parent mentions how they see their child opening up and becoming confident off the range.”
While Pfeil and Stover are managing and coaching the Lancaster Archery Academy, 2012 Olympic hopeful Dan Schuller is working full time as a customer-service representative for Lancaster. Schuller said helping others fall in love with archery is a major motivation.
“Working at LAS allows me to relate my experiences with others,” Schuller said. “I can help put customers on the right path, whether it’s set-up issues or questions about products. Since I started shooting 19 years ago, I’ve had few days where I’m not shooting or thinking about something involving archery.
“I want all customers to find the same enjoyment out of this sport that it brings me,” Schuller continued. Many people influenced my archery career without asking anything in return. Helping archers with the experience and knowledge I’ve gained at LAS is my way of giving back to the archery community.”