Pyramyd Air’s CEO Val Gamerman Talks To Hard Air Magazine – Part One
In this latest exclusive Hard Air Magazine Executive Interview, Val Gamerman, the CEO of Pyramyd Air, talks to HAM Publisher Stephen Archer.
We met recently at the 2018 Pyramyd Air Cup in Ohio in September. Given the range of our discussions and the importance of Pyramyd Air as the world’s largest airgun retailer, we’ve decided to split the interview into two parts.
Here’s how the first part of our conversation went…
HAM: Val, it’s great to see you again. Thanks for taking the time to talk here at the Pyramyd Air Cup.
Val Gamerman: Likewise Steve, it’s great to see you again also. Thanks for traveling over to Ohio to report on the Cup for Hard Air Magazine. We really appreciate your efforts…
HAM: The Pyramyd Air Cup gets larger every year. Tell us about the amount of effort it takes to run this event in such a professional manner?
Val Gamerman: It’s really a year long endeavor with a big peak of activity in the two months leading to the event. Next year will require a full time person for two months prior to the event in addition to existing efforts. That’s simply based on the increasing number of people we are projecting will attend next year.
HAM: How many people are shooting at the 2018 Pyramyd Air Cup?
Val Gamerman: We have over 100 registered competitors this year.
HAM: What do you see as the benefits of the Pyramyd Air Cup?
Val Gamerman: It promotes sport of airgunning! The most important job we have is to grow the shooting community. This is reflected in our mission statement. That means to me that we – as a company – we need to promote sports with airguns and do everything we can to make this wonderful hobby into a lifetime enjoyment for many people.
The Pyramyd Air Cup is one of many things we do to help make sure this happens. That’s why we will keep adding disciplines and other competitive events to the Cup in future.
HAM: Many manufacturers attend the Pyramyd Air Cup. Why?
Val Gamerman: That’s probably a question better answered by them! But I am sure some attend to show their support to Pyramyd Air as one of their largest customers. Some attend to be able to talk face to face with serious airgunners and not just accidental airgun buyers they are used to in other sales channels.
Also some attend to have fun!
In recent years, we’ve seen the Pyramyd Air Cup become a preview event for manufacturers and their products – almost like a late summer SHOT Show. For the 2018 Cup, SIG Sauer brought a sample of their new ASP20 Rifle, and Umarex brought their .25 caliber Gauntlet. It’s a great opportunity for competitors and spectators alike to get a hands on preview of the products that will be coming out over the next few months.
HAM: Pyramyd Air is the world’s biggest specialist airgun retailer. Can you give any numbers to illustrate?
Val Gamerman: As you’ll understand, I am not at liberty to share sales data. But I can tell you that over the last 10 years we shipped over 2,000,000 packages to consumers.
HAM: Wow, that’s huge! So why do customers buy from Pyramyd Air?
Val Gamerman: No matter what, we always do it right by the customer and we are always honest. Honesty is in the foundation of our “Pyramyd Air Core Values”. (As shown in the Pyramyd pyramid below).
HAM readers can check this out on our “About Us” page. I would like to think that’s the main reason but there are others, too…
We also differentiate ourselves by offering services that others don’t, unique products and other things.
Above. We also had fun when talking!
HAM: Amazon is a threat to all online retailers. How does Pyramyd Air compete successfully?
Val Gamerman: Amazon is our “frenemy”. They helped grow the market to some degree but they are also extremely dangerous in the long term to most industries. Their main goal is to drive prices down when there is competition. There’s nothing wrong with that as this is a way to compete and it’s just capitalism, but and that’s a big but..
Since they are funded by the public and are Wall Street darlings they could afford to lose money for decades on shipping tangible goods. Now they are too big.
If you drive prices down so far, it removes all profit from the marketplace. Without profit there is no R&D. No R&D means no innovation (like Air Venturi frangible BBs, for example). No innovation means no industry for the future.
Amazon does not and will not innovate for our industry and does NOT market airguns. That means they only syphon sales away from brick-and-mortar stores and don’t contribute to growth of the industry.
In other words – they don’t give back to our industry and that’s my biggest issue with them.
Thanks to Justin Crutchley of Pyramyd Air for taking the photographs.
We’ll continue this interview with Val Gamerman in a few days time. Check out HAM for Part Two.