BY LOREN MASON-GERE
As consumers, most of us don’t think much about the origin or background of the products we buy. We go to the store (or pull out our phones), make our selections, and move on. We lead busy lives, after all, and there are more important things to do.
But at Hammer Nutrition, we’ve spent the last 30 years making sure the way we do business leaves customers feeling good— not just by making the most healthful and effective endurance fuels and supplements on the planet, but by doing business right. In the last issue of Endurance News, I described the history of this approach, and how the elimination of online profiteers became the logical next step in this journey. (For more information and description of the values that drove this decision, please see “Principals Before Profits, in the last issue of Endurance News #105.) In the last three months, we’ve marched forward with this mission, vanquishing unscrupulous e-commerce schemes and reuniting athletes with the products, education, and local shop support that they deserve. We couldn’t feel better about the results. Every day, because of this policy, we hear more happy stories of customers well served, local shops’ businesses growing, and the web of our sporting communities growing stronger.
Of course, it wasn’t all roses. I could go on at length about the internet banditry working to separate unsuspecting consumers from their hard-earned money: A race director we’d generously sponsored selling leftover (and now expired) product through a masked storefront, another black-marketing product from across the border, and even someone selling our free educational resources at exorbitant prices to overseas buyers that couldn’t readily access them… Not to mention the software programs perpetuating the “race to the bottom” by automatically lowering prices to undercut competitors, or Amazon sellers raising prices to three times their value (relying on “one-click-ordering” patterns to take advantage of inattentive buyers.) But for every one of these horror stories, there are ten happy endings.
Our fire is fueled by serving customers like “Jane,” whose arthritis was so bad she’d thought she’d have to hang up her bike forever. Luckily, she was using Endurolytes to combat night cramps. No longer able to find Endurolytes online, she called us directly, connected with one of our client advisors and learned about Tissue Rejuvenator. After three weeks of regular use, she found could again pedal pain-free and has been at it ever since. We know this because when we called to check on her she told us her mileage had increased for the first time in ten years. In fact, she informed us that that she’d been repurchasing Tissue Rejuvenator locally, along with HEED and Hammer Gel. Not only was she riding again, but she was going long enough that she needed to reassess how she was fueling her workouts!
Another favorite is “Al,” a single dad who had been buying HEED from an internet seller for two years. He called the bluff on overpriced HEED from Amazon.com and placed his first direct order. As we got to know him, he explained that he could only run twice a week while maintaining the energy he needed to uphold the rest of his life responsibilities. We helped him make some changes to his diet and he started regular use of Recoverite and Race Caps Supreme. He is now running twice as often and feeling better than ever. In fact, “Al” is now taking part in a weekend training group at the local run shop and plans to complete his first half marathon next month.
These are just a few of the countless stories we hear from hundreds of former marketplace buyers we talk to each week. And we know that for every one we talk to, countless more are returning their purchases and dollars to the local shops in their areas.
Given my background in retail and love of the local shop, these are the stories that make me happiest. Unable to find products on discount sites, the customer heads to the local shop. There they find the Hammer Nutrition items they are looking for and a community they didn’t realize they’d lost. The shop takes care of them, builds a relationship and sees them again the following Saturday— when they jump into the group ride, make friends, and reignite their fire for group riding and racing.
While unearthing the underworld of marketplace websites has brought up some ugly aspects of humanity, the light always shines through. The hard work is paying off with each of the thousands of customers we’ve happily served, educated and released back to the world— happier, healthier and better performing. Bit by bit, the Amazon crooks are falling away, and the business web we believe in is being restored. When the next wave of online schemes emerges, we’ll beat that one too, knowing that due to this hard work, customers are winning, so shops are winning. So we are happily serving them both, and will be for decades to come!