The Saratoga Sun -

Howlin' for five years

Koyoty Sports in Saratoga celebrates half decade of success


August 12, 2020

Joshua Wood

People gather for lunch outside Koyoty Sports.

Koyoty Sports and Trophy Room Taxidermy (Koyoty Sports) in Saratoga recently celebrated their 5th year in business with their annual Koyoty Howl and, if attendance at the event was any indication, the sporting goods store has plenty of celebrations ahead.

Co-owner Warden Patzer said that, over the weekend of July 25, he estimated approximately 2,000 people visited his store. Each year, Patzer offers a number of deals on his stock and brings in vendors to talk with patrons. In December 2015, Koyoty Sports made the move to Bridge Avenue from their previous location just south of Saratoga. Last spring, the store made one of the shortest moves as they went from 104 E. Bridge Avenue to 102 E. Bridge Avenue.

According to Patzer, that move has been extremely beneficial to the store.

"Mountains of improvement, it couldn't get any better. I mean, you're downtown and right on the corner," said Patzer. "We have a very attractive store, we get compliments all the time. Just this morning, somebody walked through the door and said, 'Wow, what a nice store.' We get that all the time. It's great."

Patzer said there are various aspects to which he owes his success, with the location being one of the top reasons. In addition to having one of three corner spots on the Bridge Avenue and 1st Street intersection, he said that visual appeal and customer service are also reasons for continued success.

"Customer service; it has to be excellent to compete with the big box stores because, if you don't have customer service, you're not going to have people coming in your store more than once," Patzer said. "We pride ourselves on customer service, we pride ourselves on always following up on phone calls and emails. Somebody needs something, they want something, if I don't have it I'll get it for them, if I can."

Another part of that customer service is customer communication, to which Patzer praises his son, Forrest, and employee Merry Waugh.

"Merry and Forrest have both been very good about that. They're better than I am about that. They get involved in conversations with people, it gets them to open up," said Patzer.

Due to the tourist economy that supports Saratoga, the service that Koyoty Sports provides goes far beyond just the Platte Valley. Customers not only come from across Wyoming, but come up from the Northern Colorado and Front Rage area and even from the midwestern United States.

"There's people in the midwest that they meet somebody that they know that spends time in Saratoga and they've come in and said, 'Man, my friend was here last summer and they told me you got to go down to see that store.' That's really encouraging getting that kind of feedback," Patzer said.

Something else that Patzer has found in trying to compete with big box sporting goods stores, and which goes along with customer service, is standing behind the product he sells.

"You have to be behind your product the best you can because, if you're not, they're not going to shop with you. Whether it's bullets or firearms or barrels, it's a very competitive edge out there right now," said Patzer. "You have to be the best bullet maker, you have to be the best ammunition maker, barrel maker because, if you're not, you're not going to keep up."

Despite the often insulated nature of the Platte Valley, the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) showed that the area is not immune to all national or international issues. The same goes for Koyoty Sports which, despite being declared an essential business by President Donald Trump, did see a brief lull due to the rise in unemployment and the shutdown of other businesses. As state health orders provided a way for businesses to reopen and some people could return to work, Koyoty Sports saw business return.

Additional national issues, however, provided another challenge for the sporting goods store. Following COVID-related shutdowns, protests and movements took place throughout the country and led to mass buying of firearms and ammunition.

Joshua Wood

Warden Patzer estimates that nearly 2,000 people came for the event for the weekend.

"When the rioting started, everybody started panicking because of what was going on. When the defunding of the police started, then that really came back and got everybody panicked. So, now, we have a hard time getting product in on our shelves because the COVID, everybody was laid off, then the panic started, then the rioting and all that stuff. So, it's really hard to get a product right now," Patzer said. "I'm out of ammunition in certain places. It changes from week-to-week on what you could get."

Despite it all, Patzer is extremely thankful for how supportive both local and visitors have been of Koyoty Sports and the product it offers ranging from guns and ammo to outdoor equipment.

Said Patzer, "We're fortunate to be where we are and have a successful business in a trying time like this."


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