Welcome to our new feature -
made in BROOME.
This program was created to celebrate all the good that is made here in Broome. We are just getting started but you will soon see a lot from us. Our full web experience will be coming soon!
company: Johnson Outdoor Gear
product: Military, camping and event tents
location: 625 Conklin Road in Binghamton
owners: The Johnson family
JIM REYEN SERVES AS THE BUSINESS DIRECTOR FOR THE MILITARY AND EVENT TENT DIVISIONS
In a nutshell, what is your product all about?
Our brand stands for quality, customer service and the heritage/tradition that comes along with our products. We’ve been around since 1895 so most people who are into outdoor recreational activities have heard of Eureka!--the original name of the Binghamton facility store that’s now the brand name for many of our products. Our products are also about about innovation. We’ve always been ahead of the game in product innovation and are always striving to find the best way to communicate and/or gather intelligence from our customers--that’s how we stay out in front of it.
How can people get it?
Anyone can purchase Johnson Outdoors, Inc.’s products on their website, as well as on Amazon and DICK’S Sporting Goods, Inc.’s sites. You can rent Eureka! party tents from Taylor Rental and several other rental companies nationwide. We also sell our military tents through large contracts with the U.S. Army, U.S. Marines, National Guard, as well as foreign armies like the Israeli Army, Argentinian Army, a few armies in the U.K and more. Our military tents are built and spec'd for militaries all over the world!
The Story behind The Product
Where are you originally from?
I’m a Broome County native. The Reyen family has been here for decades. My grandfather is from Deposit and my grandmother moved up here from Carbondale, PA to find a job when she was just starting out.
What was the reason why you chose to get involved with the Johnson Outdoors business?
I’ve been around this business for as long as I can remember. My father started working at the Conklin Ave location right out of college and I followed suit. Our family has a loyalty to the business, just as the business has a loyalty to the area. I started working here part-time in 1988 when I was in high school. I worked in Production and Maintenance then. In 1993, after I graduated college, I started working here full-time and have done just about everything in the building at some point. I’ve been around Sales and Marketing, Product Management, the Event Division, the Military Division and the Camping Division. Right now, I’m the Business Director for the Military and Event divisions.
What are some challenges you’ve encountered along the way?
Our facility was hit by both the 2006 flood (where we incurred about $10 million worth of damage), as well as the 2011 flood (where we incurred roughly $6 million dollars worth of damage). Our facility was under water so it was a challenge to come back from that. It’s also hard, in our industry, to find the right skillset in our workers like the ability to sew, weld, etc. Tent manufacturing--even fabric manufacturing--is something you don’t find or do often in the U.S. anymore. I could go through challenges all day long, but we just keep trucking. We love Broome County--the business has been here since 1895 so we’re tied pretty closely to the area.
How did you get your product in people’s minds?
We’ve had a mix of innovative electronic marketing and traditional relationship-building for all three divisions here. On the camping side, the Eureka! brand is pretty well-known since we’ve been around a long time. On the events side, we got involved with the internet pretty early and had a secure-dealer website before most companies did. On the military side, it’s a mix of the two. We know what the message is so we use all the advances we can find to promote it electronically, but the branding is so strong--people recognize it whether they’ve used it or not through the relationships we’ve built.
So, what’s next for Johnson Outdoors?
Johnson Outdoors, Inc. recently acquired another company called ‘Jetboil’ back in 2013, which produces a compact, lightweight camping stove that can boil water in 110 seconds so that’s pretty cool. We’re also working on some new innovation with the military, as well as on the event side so there’s a lot in store there. Our goal is to always provide our customers good service and keep hiring people. Those are simple goals, but through product innovation and service, if we keep customers happy, keep selling and keep our employees here and employed (and hopefully hire more), we’re on track. Any time a company in Broome County is hiring that’s a good thing. We have lots of sales plans, but our main thing is to keep trucking along and keep our employees happy, supporting them in the best ways we can.