Todd Bromley, publisher and editor of Crossbow Magazine, recently sat down with TenPoint CEO Rick Bednar for a one-on-one interview.
Q. Who started the company and why?
A. It was started by an Investor Group of nine people. My father and myself included. We began doing business as TenPoint Crossbow Technologies in January of 1996. Why? Several of the members of the investment group believed there was a need for some new crossbows with superior engineering, performance and innovation.
Q. Can you give us a brief history about your father?
A. Bill Bednar was the smartest man I’ve ever known. He did not have any formal design or engineering education, but he had a great feel for how things worked and how they needed to be made to work better. He was a Champion shooter, a skilled craftsman and a great visionary. He was and will always be one of my best friends. I would also say, for the most part, he was misunderstood by most people he met. If you didn’t take the time to get to know him, you never really knew him.
Q. Do you think your vision has differed any from your fathers?
A. Not really. He always wanted to build the best, most accurate, most comfortable crossbows available. So do I. I think our visions varied slightly when it came to staff and day-to-day operations, but not when it came to equipment. He had the “I can build one” vision. I have the “I want to build 100 with the same quality” vision.
Q. TenPoint has several of its top people in the Archery Hall of Fame. What does that say about its leadership?
A. I think it says loads about our history and commitment to the Industry. My dad is in the Archery Hall of Fame because his shooting skills were among the best in the world. George Gardner is in the Archery Hall of Fame because of his dedication to the archery industry through his sales and leadership roles. Chuck Jordan is in the Bowhunting Hall of Fame because of his years of dedication and leadership in producing some of the finest bowhunting equipment in the world.
Q. What were the first TenPoint crossbows?
A. We introduced two crossbows our first year. The HuntsMan and the HuntMaster. The pull weight and features separated them from each other. The main frames were identical in design.
Q. The crossbow movement has gained a lot of momentum over the past few years. Were you expecting it and ready for it?
A. I think so. I’m comfortable with where we are. We are ready for our share of the momentum. I don’t think we see ourselves as ever being the largest producer of crossbows in the world. However, we have established our brands in the market. We think our customers recognize we have high-quality crossbows that are very accurate and innovative. Each of them is backed by world-class customer service. Are we perfect? No. But, we certainly try to be.
Q. With all of the recent crossbow attention, what are your thoughts about all of the new crossbow companies trying to break into the market?
A. Best wishes. Today the world is flat. Consumers have a lot of choices and entrepreneurship is what drives innovation and creativity. I welcome new companies into our space. We will continue to stay focused on our customers, remain innovative in our designs, and supportive of additional recreational opportunities for the outdoorsman through the expansion of crossbow seasons.
Q. TenPoint is known for making and marketing a higher-priced bow. Some say overpriced. Does quality directly reflect price?
A. I’m surprised at the use of the word “overpriced.” I think the selling prices of our crossbows are very much in line with the quality and features we offer. Interestingly enough, if you study our brand, we offer crossbows packages from $399 up to $2,499. In looking at the market, we believe our models are better values than those of our competitors who offer models that sell between $399 and $1,600. We don’t feel we can build a quality crossbow package that would retail at under $399.
We also don’t think anyone builds a crossbow package as good as our higher-priced models. I’m proud of our offerings. We have something for everyone. We have been able to produce highly reliable crossbows that have enabled a lot of people to enjoy the sport regardless of their financial circumstances.
Q. Many of your critics say that TenPoint caters to a niche in the market with their higher-priced bows. Your thoughts?
A. I can’t recall anyone saying that to me. However, I do think that with our innovations; like the ACUdraw, ACU50 and ACUrope, we have proven we have a keen eye for developing features that serve different segments of the market. Quality innovations cost money to design, test, market and produce. I do think it is impossible to produce a crossbow with many features for the same price as one with few features.
Q. We see crossbow users willing to pay more for quality, service and commitment from a manufacturer. Was that one of the goals at TenPoint?
A. When we started TenPoint, we developed a Corporate Statement that included several strategic, fundamental, goal-oriented precepts. Two main principles guide the operation of our company. First, quality can’t be compromised. Second, successful enterprise comes from sound business relationships built on mutual trust, respect and ethical behavior. We want to build long-term relationships with our customers and we want to provide world-class customer service. I don’t believe any other crossbow manufacturer today is more committed to its customers than TenPoint.
Q. TenPoint seems to take on a responsibility when they get a customer. Is that a fair assessment?
A. Yes. I think that the quality of our owner’s manuals, instructional DVDs, catalogs, hats, and apparel reflect a certain image to our customers. We are the best. When you buy our crossbows, you get the best of everything. All included at no extra charge.
Q. What are your goals for the company in the next ten years?
A. From a product standpoint, to continue to lead the crossbow industry with cutting edge engineering and innovation. Engineering and innovation that promotes a better outdoor recreational experience for someone using a crossbow.
From an owner’s standpoint, to mentor the new young executives I have hired in the past two years. Mentor them to “carry on” what my family started and watch them continue to grow the company. Grow as managers, as salespersons and as engineers.
Q. Is there anything that you’d like to convey to current and future TenPoint users?
A. Thank you for your continued support and confidence. Enjoy great hunting and send us pictures!