RSWC #197, Erin Mihalik, Throom Targets

At the Great American Outdoor Show in 2022, I got to meet Erin. I was there with John Petrolino and we were in search of Tony Simon. Well, we were pretending we didn’t see Tony while he was behind us, and we were talking smack about him. Erin wasn’t sure what we were up to, but she just went with it. That’s the kind of fun-spirited person she is. We saw her again at GAOS in 2023 and she wanted to be on the show as things have been growing at Throom over the last year, and she has lots to talk about!

She starts us off with some lofty goals for the show. She wanted to see a bear. We did run into a pig (cop). Hehe! We were in the way northern part of New Jersey, Sussex Country, and drove into New York state for about a ½ mile, maybe less. I was honored to hear that she has watched several shows and knows the format well. She tracked out a path for us to drive and didn’t want to get lost. Part of the route took us over the Appalachian Trail.

We do talk about some of the ridiculousness of the New Jersey gun laws, hollow point ammo, and jug handles. She also tells us the difference between living in central New Jersey, where gun owners stay in the closet, versus northern New Jersey, where it’s a bit more conservative and people are gun owners and not hiding it. She used to say she was in manufacturing but can now say she’s with a company that makes targets.

Getting a degree in public relations and psychology, she noticed that her family were great engineers but not great marketers or communicating with people. She grew up in manufacturing with the rest of the family. Erin’s grandfather started an engineering business in the 1970s, and her dad and uncle grew up in the business. They started a side hustle in 1995 called Newbold Targets, which was the first self-healing, reactive, ricochet-free targets. The only benefit she had was that she had targets to shoot.

Throom is a small family-owned and run business. This year, Erin is the CEO. Her previous titles were Managing Director and Director of Sales before that. I don’t want to say that titles aren’t important, but they do have someone who manages the dummy rounds they make. He’s the Dummy Director.

After working for a big car company, Erin came back to the family business in 2013. She realized that they had a brand image issue and people were mistaking Newbold for other brands of targets. She’s got a great story about someone coming up to them at SHOT show and telling them their targets are junk. But they realized that they were talking about a different self-healing target that didn’t heal so well. This is when the marketing stepped in and made a change in the color and packaging.

Throom was rebranding before the lockdowns of 2020. There were big plans for SHOT 2021, which didn’t happen. So they started selling via the big online company. And sales took off! People were stuck at home, buying online and shooting in the backyards. (Not in the Garden State, of course!) Neighbors weren’t complaining because there wasn’t noise from the Throom targets. More and more people started buying them.

The exciting news is that Throom is now in lots of new stores, the big box stores, the small mom & pop stores, and even some of the online suppliers, too. New to the product line is a remote target.

Favorite Quotes:

  • “My husband says ‘Erin, we’re in Sussex County now. You can tell people what you do.”
  • “I am the CEO this year.”
  • “We’re just always having fun. We’re lucky we all get to work together. Most of us are family. And the people who aren’t technically family, we consider family.”
  • “This industry, they respect people that make things in the US.”

Throom Targets

About Riding Shotgun With Charlie

Riding Shotgun With Charlie isn’t about firearms. It is about having an intimate conversation with 2 people talking. You’re the fly on the rearview mirror. Many of the passengers are involved in the firearm community.

This is a more intimate conversation than a phone, radio, or Skype interview. You get to see the passengers. And you’ll see where the road and the conversation take you! Cook headshot

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