TRAVERSE CITY – Archery has been around for so long that it is difficult to identify its origins.

The earliest evidence of archery dates back to around 10,000 BC, according to World Archery. Other websites like the Flint Bowmen Club state that “archery probably dates back to the Stone Age – around 20,000 BC.

Jim Gauthier, former owner of Gauthier’s Archery in Traverse City, said the retail archery industry has seen two major growth spurts in the 41 years he has owned his business.

The Archery Trade Association said total retail sales in 1974 barely exceeded $ 100 million. Thirty years later, the industry has generated $ 535 million.

Gauthier Archery opened on July 22, 1980, which Gauthier says was around the same time that compound bows were gaining popularity.

“It just got bigger and bigger the further we went,” said Gauthier.

“Archery dealers experienced a significant increase in sales from 1985 to 1995 during the period of rapid growth in archery hunting and 3-D archery,” according to the report. Spring 2005 ATA.

Gauthier said crossbows changed the archery market in Michigan in 2010. Often controversial because they increased the distances from which archers could shoot, Gauthier said they widened opportunities for more hunters. young and old, some of whom had difficulty removing compound bows.

“It was like a blast for business,” said Gauthier. “It really gave a lot of stores new life – a big time – and it’s been like that ever since.”

The National Sporting Goods Association attendance survey reports that the archery segment grew “107.2% from 2003 to 2017,” according to Shooting

Sales leveled off from 2017 to 2019, but 2020 was by far the best year for Gauthier in 2020.

A 2020 report from Shooting predicted that “the archery equipment market, including equipment used in competition, recreational shooting and archery hunting, has held steady in recent years. years, some analysts predict growth of up to 8.5% through 2022 “.