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PGA News

THE CHALLENGE REVISITED Nova Scotia brothers on right trajectory with golf gear

THE CHALLENGE REVISITED Nova Scotia brothers on right trajectory with golf gear

Dormie Workshop co-founders Todd, left, and Jeff Bishop and their brother Alex. The company makes custom head covers for golf clubs and other golf accessories. (Paul Darrow for The Globe and Mail)

Brothers Jeff and Todd Bishop had a good laugh a few months ago after they moved the operations of their company, Dormie Workshop, into a larger facility in Dartmouth.

“There was so much room in there,” he says of the new space, a headquarters for the golf leather-goods company they founded two years earlier. “But now there’s so much stuff you can barely move around.”

It’s an indication of how busy the pair have become since they told their story this year in a Small Business Challenge article in The Globe and Mail. At the time, they were trying to keep up with a surge of orders that followed pitching their products at the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando in early 2016.

Since the article appeared, Dormie Workshop has moved to the larger office and expanded its offerings to include belts, bag tags, apparel and more head-cover options (the bread and butter of their company, says Todd). Business has grown nearly seven times in terms of units sold year-over-year.

The company was also featured in Golf Digest, the sport’s pre-eminent publication. It also forged an official partnership with Golf Canada, and is working with Canadian star golfer Brooke Henderson on some head covers.

Jeff says Dormie Workshop is also going to make a push to have more of a presence on the PGA Tour. “We’re going to target some players we feel match our image and guys that we’d like to see play our stuff. We’re definitely going to amp that up and get on other players’ bags,” he says.

The brothers are also receiving e-mails from prominent golf brands around the world looking to collaborate.

They are working with Dunning, a Canadian golf apparel company, on an official head cover, and representatives from Titleist (one of the biggest names in golf equipment) asked them to design a cover for their alignment stick product (a portable training aid that golfers can use while practising).

“We’re really excited to be able to coattail on the Titleist brand. I remember checking their e-mail over a few times because I didn’t believe it was true,” says Todd.

The pair are also in negotiations with a former golf industry chief executive officer and industry veteran who could “really push it over the top,” he says. The brothers say the advice they received in the Small Business Challenge feature, especially from Dan Keogh, managing director of Belding Golf Bag Co., went a long way to help them determine the best way to cope with sudden success.

“Having that click-and-purchase idea online is our No. 1 priority coming into the new year,” says Todd of Mr. Keogh’s advice. “We’d love to move on it, and if we had the capital we would have already been on it.”

Appearing in the Challenge article “was a way to share our story, and with the national coverage it was awesome,” Jeff says. “The tips we received and the exposure for our brand was great.”

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