January 7, 2000
Ed Larkins is a happy guy.
He’s the manager of the Golf Day store on Rehoboth Avenue Extended. The adult toy store for golf and tennis is approaching its second anniversary, and Larkins is grateful for its success.
“We’ve done really well here,” Larkins said in a recent interview.
Larkins retired from the Defense Logistics Agency in Philadelphia. He then worked for Golf Day in New Jersey. When the company decided to build a new store in the Cape Region, they tapped Larkins to be the new manager.
“We were somewhat apprehensive at first, but it really kicked off well,” Larkins said.
Of course, no company will make this kind of investment without at least a hint that it will work. Trend-Lines, Inc. is the parent company of Golf Day, and is publicly traded on NASDAQ (TRND). In deciding to locate a store in the Cape Region, the company looked at locations where its catalog sales were strong. The Cape Region was among the best performers. Since Golf Day’s initial investment here, it has paid off well.
Larkins attributes much of the store’s success to the local community support, and not simply because of the seasonal tourist trade. “We have a strong customer base, with many repeat customers.”
He also believes his staff has a lot to do with their thriving business: “Our biggest thing is customer service, and the people now working here are great.”
For example, Derrick Berzonski is the Assistant Manager. Larkins says the 28-year old sports enthusiast has “a real flair for merchandising. He’s responsible for the great layout of the store you see when you come here.”
Other employees such as George Hanby are also active in customer service. Hanby, a retiree from the National Security Agency, is a graduate of the Dynacraft Clubmaking Institute. He likes helping customers with club repairs and re-shafting. All the staff at the store can also perform club re-gripping, with the store’s wide variety of grips. They can also re-string tennis racquets, a rare service in the Cape Region.
Larkins admits he was surprised at the success that the store’s location seems to have created. Larkins now knows it’s a great spot for the locals, and especially good for the tourists and outlet shoppers.
“We’re like the operations center for golf in the area. Tourists and golfers are constantly coming in and asking for information about golf courses, driving ranges, and so on. We’re happy to give them the information, and keep a brochure stand near the entrance just for this purpose,” Larkins said. He also plans to develop their own brochure with maps and directions to local golf opportunities, and should have it available by late spring.
In addition to the year-round customers, Golf Day does very well during the summer season. Larkins said, “We see a lot of the outlet shoppers, especially the men, but a lot of women, too. When they find out how much they save on the big ticket items by not having to pay sales tax, they spend their money here.”
Larkins is also impressed at the strength of Golf Day’s apparel sales. They have strong volume in tennis wear, and also plan to expand their golf apparel sales area.
Larkins also said they recommend customers to local pro shops and other stores that carry product lines they don’t, and those stores return the favor. That sort of cooperation is most impressive to the new manager.
“This is a fairly close-knit community. We’re just really thankful that we’ve been so well-accepted here by the other merchants, the tourists, and especially our local customers,” Larkins said.