Pro/specialty retailer of the Year: Indianapolis Racquet Club
By Kent Oswald
Everyone knows what a good forehand should look like, but only the best execute it every time. Similarly, everyone knows that the building block for any retailer is the development and maintenance of customer relationships, but few consistently execute like the Indianapolis Racquet Club, Tennis Industry’s Pro/Specialty Retailer of the Year.
Much credit goes to Director of Retail Operations Jeff Rodefeld, whose connection with the club traces back to his high school tennis days. According to Head/Penn Eastern Regional Sales Manager John Tranfaglia, “Jeff is one of the best retailers in the business year in and year out. Jeff’s attention to detail, product merchandising and knowledge of what his customers want sets him apart in the industry.”
The IRC’s two locations are a 3,500-square-foot flagship location associated with 16 indoor hard courts, and a 400-square-foot outpost at an eight-court site about 10 minutes to the east. Rodefeld’s mantra is that, “the ultimate point of differentiation [between retail success and failure] comes down to the relationship developed with the customer and the personalized service that is provided.”
Communications are sent to club members and the general public about new product arrivals, upcoming events and promotions. Customers are welcome to touch, feel and demo; and an on-site stringer is always available. There is also a frequent stringer program, special ordering service, and adult and school team discounts. Finally, a well-tenured staff is taught to be always on-point and focused on making sure everyone walks out feeling well cared for. — Kent Oswald
Tips for Success
- Employ friendly and outgoing individuals who are well-versed in the products, and passionate about the game.
- Make all customers feel welcome and valued, whether they purchase or not.
- Maintain an inviting, clean, organized and well-merchandised retail environment focused on variables customers say are most important.
- Support vendor initiatives, launches and programs and expect vendors to be as interested in your success and sell-through as they are in receiving your order.
See all articles by Kent Oswald
About the Author
Kent Oswald is a contributor to TennisNow.com, producer at the JockBookReview.com and a former editor of Tennis Week magazine.
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