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 work space for Fleetwood Archery was 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 were not available at the time. Soon they moved out of the kitchen and into a small warehouse and were not only building longbows and recurves but were fletching arrows, manufacturing quivers, armguards, gloves, tabs, fletching tools and even broadheads. Clarence and Irma were also competitive archers and would travel all over selling their goods as well as shooting with many of the elite archers of the time. Their shooting buddies included people like Fred Bear, Earl & Ann Hoyt, Ben Pearson, and many more….
Clarence and Irma were an important part of helping to start the Vegas Archery tournament, which is still considered among the biggest tournaments to this day. Their business grew and they had the opportunity to sell. In 1959 Fleetwood Archery was sold to Outers corp. However, Clarence and Irma maintained a deep passion for archery, and couldn’t be left completely out of the industry. With the help of their son, Don Love, they started a new retail store in Denver.
Insert Denver Archery and due to their long tenure in the archery community they had plenty of insights as to what was missing in the retail world. At the time of Denver Archery’s inception the idea of having not only a retail outlet but also indoor shooting range and even automatic targets to retrieve your arrows was a fairly novel concept. Denver Archery grew and soon became Western Archery. Western Archery was a retail and wholesale company providing equipment and service to the entire Rocky Mountain region.
Don took over the business from Clarence and Irma in the early 1970’s and started really concentrating on the wholesale aspects of the business. He was a very shrewd business man and was always alert for opportunities to grow the business. One such opportunity came in the form of his oldest son Stan, who had just graduated from college. Don invited Stan to join in the family business. Business is an ever changing climate in our world and generations often see things in a different light. The combination of fresh and experienced ideas and the fact that Stan brought with him a background in business management and accounting, led to the company running at a peak efficiency in short order.
In 1984 Don started another division of Western Archery to manufacture soft goods, which were very difficult to get at the time. Originally dubbed Peak to Peak, these soft goods eventually became the line of archery accessories known today as Vista. Vista was growing, and growth demands bigger staff which soon had Don inviting his youngest son, Brad, to join the business in 1986. Brad had a degree in marketing and it wasn’t long before he was applying his unique skill set to all of the new products they had.
Don realized that if a business isn’t growing it’s dying, and in an attempt to grow he needed to change the name of the company yet again in order to serve the company’s market base. Don, Stan, and Brad decided on the name Western Recreation over a morning commute together. Western Recreation was born and its first two brands were Western Archery and Vista. Several other brands have joined in the family since. The name Fleetwood has since returned to serve a growing youth and traditional market. Outdoor Decals was began in order to help our dealers market their stores and build their names. SkullGear hats, and Duramesh targets have also since joined the constantly growing family that is Western Recreation.
What’s in a name? I guess 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 is constantly changing and archery equipment is an ever changing thing, but for the most part this sport hasn’t really gone away from what made it so appealing to our grandfather. Whether it’s the most knowledgeable archer on the planet or the new couple who has never shot a bow that shows up to our league nights in our small mountain town, we strive to never lose sight of the fact that archery is a recreation industry. We aren’t brain surgeons, we aren’t professional athletes, and we aren’t big time Hollywood stars. What we are is a corporation built on the values taught to us by our family. We are products of our parents and our grandparents before them, and we certainly strive to provide for our families by succeeding in the world of business, but what truly makes Western Recreation special is the care and support we have learned to offer every one of our customers. From the five year old girl grinning from ear to ear missing her front teeth as she leaves with her first bow, to the most experienced hunter on the move to find that perfect hunt, to each and every one of our dealers trying to put food on the tables for their families, what we strive to do is make every single person feel special. We work in a business that is about putting smiles on people’s faces. We often remark how blessed we are to be able to make a living in an industry we love, and 2016 marks our family’s 88th year in this industry. It’s incredibly humbling that we are starting to think of what a celebration it will be when we reach the 100 year old mark! We want to thank each and every one of you for your support and helping us to make this a reality!
Sincerely, Stan & Brad Love