Our humble beginnings date back to 1928, when our grandfather, Clarence Love, turned his passion for archery and the building of bows into a full time business. The original office and workspace for Fleetwood Archery was in the kitchen of their small home in Denver, Colorado. Clarence was soon joined by our grandmother Irma, and together they grew the business quickly with many new ideas and products that weren't available at the time. Soon they moved the business out of the kitchen and into a small warehouse where they built longbows and recurve bows, fletched arrows, and manufactured quivers, armguards, gloves, tabs, fletching tools and even broadheads. Clarence and Irma were also competitive archers and traveled all over, selling their goods and shooting with many of the elite archers of the time. Their shooting buddies included people like Fred Bear, Earl and Ann Hoyt, Ben Pearson, and many more.
Clarence and Irma were an important part of helping to start the Vegas Archery Tournament, which continues to be one of the largest archery tournaments in America today. After all of their hard work in the archery industry, they were able to sell their company in 1959 to Outers Corp., but maintained a deep passion for archery and couldn't leave the industry for very long. With the help of their son, Don Love, they started a new retail store, Denver Archery, and drawing from their extensive experience and tenure in the archery community, they had plenty of insights and ideas about what was missing in the retail archery world. At the time of Denver Archery's inception, the idea of having not only a retail outlet, but also an indoor shooting range featuring automatic targets to retrieve your arrows, was a fairly novel concept. Denver Archery eventually grew into Western Archery, which was now a retail and wholesale company providing equipment and service to the entire Rocky Mountain region.
In the early 1970's, Don took over the business from Clarence and Irma with a focus on the wholesale aspects of supplying the archery industry. As a wise businessman, he was always on the lookout for opportunities to grow, expand and improve the business. One such opportunity came in the form of his oldest son, Stan Love, who had recently graduated from college, and Don invited Stan to join the family business. With a combination of experience and new ideas, and with Stan's background in business management and accounting, the company was running at peak efficiency in short order.
The global business environment was very different in 1984, and soft goods were more difficult to acquire, so Don created a new division of Western Archery. Originally dubbed Peak to Peak, these products, like quivers, armguards and shooting tabs, eventually became the quality line of archery accessories known today as Vista. Vista began to grow, and growth required a larger staff, so in 1986, Don invited his youngest son, Brad Love, to join the business, and Brad immediately began applying his degree in marketing and his unique skillset to these new products and this new division of the company.
Don's business instincts told him that if a business isn't growing, it's dying, and in an effort to best serve the company's market base, the team decided, during their morning commute together, to change the company name once more, and Western Recreation was born. With its first two brands, Vista and Western Archery, the company began a new era of serving the distributors and retailers of the archery industry. Eventually the Fleetwood name returned to serve the growing youth, recreational and traditional archery market. Since then, several additional quality brands have joined the Western Recreation family including Outdoor Decals, SkulGear Hats and DuraMesh Targets.
What's in a name? Perhaps it's only fitting that we were blessed with the last name Love, because nothing reminds us more of what got us to where we are today. Yes, technology and archery equipment are constantly changing, but in most ways this sport is still appealing to all of us for the same reasons it was appealing to our grandfather. Whether we're talking to the most experienced archer on the planet or talking to a new archer who showed up at League Night in our small mountain town, we always remind ourselves that archery is a recreation industry. We aren't professional athletes and we aren't big-time hollywood stars. What we are is a company built on the values taught to us by our family. We've learned that offering care and support is what builds the best relationships with our families and with our customers. From the five year old girl, grinning from ear to ear with no front teeth as she leaves our shop with her first bow, to the experienced hunter researching his perfect hunt, to each and every one of our dealers who work so hard to support their own families, we strive to make sure that we remind all of them that they are special to us by treating them like the important people they are. The archery business is the business of putting smiles on people's faces, and we often remark how blessed we are to be so involved in an industry that we love and a sport that is filled with so many great people.
Brad Love (Left) - Stan Love (Right)
2016 marks our family's 88th year in this awesome industry, and we're humbled by the idea that we are beginning to think of what a celebration it will be when we reach the 100 year mark in 2028, and we want to thank each and every one of you for your help and support in making it a reality!
Sincerely - Stan Love, Brad Love, and the whole team at Western Recreation