LIMA — A 19-year-old Lima resident has put his college career on hold to take over an Internet company that manufactures arrows for hunting and target archery.
Bryce Hinegardner, a 2016 Bath High School graduate, recently purchased Deer Crossing Archery from former owner Bart Lawhorn, a Mansfield native who was operating the company in California.
Deer Crossing Archery manufactures and sells carbon fiber arrows for bow hunters and archery enthusiasts. Hinegardner took over the company on Jan. 1 and has been selling arrows out of his parents’ home in Lima ever since.
“We pride ourselves in having a high quality, 100-percent carbon fiber arrow at a price that is going to beat the competition,” Hinegardner said. “We’re also a Christian-based company, so that’s part of our core values. We make sure we’re honest with our customers.”
After graduating from Bath, Hinegardner attended the University of Toledo for mechanical engineering. He arrived at the university with 55 credit hours, which would have allowed him to graduate in three years. But soon into his first semester, Hinegardner started to have second thoughts.
“I decided (mechanical engineering) was not what I wanted to do with the rest of my life,” he said.
As an archery enthusiast since the age of 5, Hinegardner was familiar with Deer Crossing before he bought it. He worked as a promoter for the company for three years and was a frequent customer.
When Hinegardner was thinking of quitting college, his father was hoping Lawhorn would talk him out of it. Instead, he helped convince Hinegardner to purchase his company.
“He said, ‘you could buy it now and save yourself three years at least, and who knows if you’ll even find a job in the archery field after you graduate,’” Hinegardner said. “So we ended up buying it, and my first semester at Toledo was also my last.”
Hinegardner said his parents were not thrilled at first, but they have since come around. He said the business has gone well so far, and sales have increased since he took over.
Deer Crossing Archery is strictly an online retailer, but Hinegardner said he is coming close to a deal with Vaughnsville-based Buckeye Archery.
“They’ll probably be carrying our products too, so if someone wants to go there it’s relatively close,” he said.
Hinegardner can customize each arrow based on the customer. He said there are six or seven different colors they can choose from, and he can cut the arrow to any length they want. He sells them by the dozen or half-dozen, and most sets run between $80 and $100. Deer Crossing arrows can be shipped from Lima to any state in the U.S., as well as Australia and Canada.
In the future, Hinegardner hopes to open his own storefront.
“I’d absolutely love to have my own archery shop, but as of now that is not a realistic goal,” he said. “But I’m hoping eventually it will happen.”
Reach John Bush at 567-242-0456 or on Twitter @bush_lima