Ron McPherson creates a culture able to survive the economic downturn at Antigua Featured

5:37am EDT August 16, 2010

Ron McPherson and his employees at The Antigua Group Inc. were gearing up to celebrate three decades of business.

The company had become a familiar name with followers of the PGA tour and sportswear consumers alike. Many employees were close to their 15 or even 25-year anniversary with the company.

Then, perhaps not so suddenly, hints of an economic crisis became too great for anyone to ignore. McPherson knew that the merchandising industry and, therefore, the company were in for a huge fight. 

“Our type of business, you know businesses that are based on disposable income of consumers,” the president says. “Buying a golf shirt at a pro shop or buying a shirt or a jacket at a retail (store) is a disposable income item.”   

Instead of panicking, he turned to his employees to come up with a course of action.

“The first thing is, you bring your team together, you know your key managers and you put together a consensus and get everybody on board as to what has to be done to ensure that the business continues,” McPherson says. “The first thing we did was get each manager to buy in; so that there wasn’t a manager that was out there going ‘This is wrong.’ We had everybody agree on the plan.”

Listening to your managers will help when reaching a consensus. Recognize that not everyone is going to think or work the same way.

“Trying to mesh all of those personalities together into a team is a challenge, so having the one on ones, listening as opposed to just talking to people and hearing what they need to do their jobs well has been successful for us at Antigua,” McPherson says.

Once everyone agreed in regards to what he or she needed to ease the pain of a recession, he made sure everyone knew how the plan worked.

“Unfortunately, we have to make ourselves a little smaller, we have to make inventory smaller, we have to work on significant expense reduction,” he says. “All those things a company does when there is a downturn.”

McPherson continues to talk with managers and employees to let them know how the plan is working.

“We have continued communication with the entire associate base, where we would bring groups into our main conference area and show them graphically where we are,” he says.

As a result, Antigua is emerging from the economic slump ready to secure an eagle. While many companies are still anxious about the future, McPherson and his team are looking forward.

Antigua celebrated its recent anniversary by signing with the PGA tour for another three years.

“We’ve been in business 30 years and those things are part of business. The peaks and valleys of business and the ups and the downs of the economy affect all businesses,” he says. “The good thing is that while it appears the economy is still a little tough we may have turned a corner a little bit.”

How to reach: The Antigua Group Inc., (623) 523-6000 or www.antigua.com