HHA Sports of Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin, USA was started by Harry Hamm and wife Arlene in 1984 under the name Harry Hamm and Associates and is a family affair with sons, Chris & Brian, daughter Roberta & Brian's wife, Suzi involved and has long been synonymous with the single-pin Optimizer sight.
Behind the scenes with HHA Sports
A 30th December 2019 article by Jace Bauserman in Archery Business titled Behind the Scenes With HHA Sports
Family owned and operated since 1984, HHA Sports continues to honour the legacy of its founder by pressing the limits of product design and function, while placing a massive emphasis on customer service.
Companies get bought and sold; it's the way of the world. Investors have a vision, they build that vision and then sell it for a large profit. When the late Harry Hamm founded HHA Sports in 1984, his vision was quite different...
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His hope was to take his passion for the sport of archery and develop products that would benefit the masses. Mission accomplished! Today, HHA Sports is one of the leading brands in the archery world.
Harry's mission to provide archers worldwide with the highest quality products on the market and back those products with a customer experience that is second to none, is the mantra for this now legendary brand.
Harry Hamm successfully created a reality of his vision to develop meaningful products for archers who want both quality and customer service. Sadly, he passed away on July 3, 2019, at the age of 82. However, his legacy continues to shine in the family run business.
To find out more about the history and future of HHA Sports, I reached out to Vice President of Operations Chris Hamm, Vice President of Engineering and Product Design Brian Hamm and Director of Sales and Marketing Scott Bakken. Here's what they had to say.
"When dad officially launched HHA Sports in 1984, we had one product, the Knucklehead Folding Stabilizer." Chris Hamm said. "A variety of products followed in the early years that included arrow rests, quivers, broadheads, sights and targets.
"Mom (Arlene Hamm) along with myself and my brother (Brian) and sister (Roberta) were the first employees. We pitched in when needed to meet the growing demand of Dad's creations."
Things flowed well for the budding company and early signs pointed to a bright future. In the early 1990's, Harry Hamm prompted his son, Brian to start a machine shop. The caliper release revolution had exploded and Harry figured HHA Sports could be more competitive if the brand could manufacture its own parts.
"The machine shop was a pivotal addition in the growth of our company." Chris said. "Then, in 1996, we launched the Optimizer sight and things took off to a level few of us ever imagined."
For the next 20 plus years, HHA grew its Optimizer line of single pin sights and today, sits at the top of the single pin sight food chain.
"We are primarily known as a single-pin sight manufacturer," Chris said. "However, we also manufacturer multiple-pin sights, arrow rests and a crossbow sighting system. Our constant pursuit of excellence and our ability to provide the archery world with innovative and dependable products has elevated HHA to an elite status."
Archery Business (AB): HHA is known for its high quality single-pin sights. What makes HHA sights so sound, proven and coveted by bowhunters and target archers?
Chris Hamm (CH): All of our products are manufactured and assembled here in the USA. We try to source all of our materials from Wisconsin, Minnesota and other locales around the Midwest. Doing so not only cuts down on lead time, but more importantly, it helps support local economies.
By doing all of our own machining in house, we are able to supply our customers with the highest quality sights, rests and accessories on the market. Manufacturing stateside and having a passionate group of employees who take great pride in their work and oversee every piece of the process is key. We firmly believe we make the best products on the market, an opinion shared by the thousands of satisfied HHA users around the world. Being archers ourselves, we know the extremes at which our products are tested. We build them to last. Period. From hardcore bowhunters to 3-D and tournament archers, the last thing our customers need is for products to fail them at the moment of truth. Our track record speaks highly of not only the brand recognition and quality of our products, but also to the loyalty we have built over the past 3 decades at the dealer and consumer levels.
Brian Hamm (BH): Our company is extremely fortunate that we have a team of employees in the machining, assembly and customer service areas that truly take pride in their jobs. Collectively, there is a keen focus on quality and precision. In addition, a large percentage of our people are full-scale participants in the sport of archery. This combination makes for a pretty potent team that is able to produce the very best products our industry has to offer.
HHA staff work closely with dealers to provide end-users, from novice to expert with the right products.
AB: HHA makes a sight for every type of bowhunter from the Optimizer Cadet all the way up to the Kingpin and Tetra. How does offering so many single-pin varieties help retailers move products?
CH: We understand that dealers are going to have customers ranging from the beginner level to the most accomplished tournament archer and everything in between. As a result, we have been able to provide them with a well-rounded product line over the years to accommodate the needs of their customers. The features on most of our sights make them ideal for the serious bowhunter and also double as a great 3-D or target setup. Feedback from retailers as well as end users has further enabled us to enhance our product offering and offer something for everyone, regardless of skill level, application or budget.
AB: It's obvious HHA doesn't rest on its laurels. You continue to raise the bar in single-pin design. How do you keep improving on an already successful product?
CH: While it would be easy to let past success go to our head, the only way we know to stay on top is to continue to innovate and improve our product. The best way we know to do that is to stay connected at the consumer and retailer levels, gathering feedback on what changes or enhancements our customers want to see. Not only does this give them a seat at the design table, but it also provides us with great intel we simply can't obtain anywhere else. There's no better way to improve or enhance your product line than to get feedback from end users and implement that feedback into new and improved designs. Through social media, sales reps, retailers, industry partners and consumers, the feedback we receive is invaluable and helps us stay one step ahead of the competition.
BH: As a company, and also as individual archery nuts, we do a great job of staying connected to the shooters in our sport. Whether it's having a presence on the Total Archery Challenge circuit, hitting 3-D events on the weekends, or shooting in the weekly league at our local club, we are always interested in any and all feedback we can squeeze out of the discriminating archer. We take the time to listen, and we value every word of input that we hear.
Also, as the main design engineer for HHA, I take great pride in not only the end product, but also in our prototyping, production machining and assembly processes. The talent, passion and degree of focus our people put into producing the HHA product line are every bit as, if not more, important than the designs themselves.
AB: Tell us about the Virtus Arrow Rest. How has this rest been received by dealers and consumers? What sets it apart from other drop-away rests on the market today?
Scott Bakken (SB): The Virtus was introduced in 2017. At the time, the company was looking to enter a new market. We felt at that point the industry had room for another option in the rest arena. The feedback we received from both dealers and consumers validated that thought. The Virtus has been a success since it was introduced. What sets the Virtus apart from other competing rests is the fact it's built with the same integrity and tolerances as our bowsights and is backed by the same 100 percent lifetime warranty. There are a lot of great rests on the market, but the Virtus definitely has its own set of competitive advantages.
AB: HHA offers a full line up of accessories. Tell us about your favourites and how those items help the consumer.
CH: Of all the accessories we offer for our sights, I'd have to say my two favorites are our Blue Burst Sight Light and the magnified lenses. While we feel our fiber optics are the brightest on the market, they do need a little help when natural light is taken away from them. With more hunters using enclosed blinds, a sight light has become a necessary tool. Our Blue Burst has been very popular.
Our 2X, 4X and 6X lenses are also extremely popular with the target and 3-D crowd, as well as the hunter whose eyesight may not be what it once was. Our lenses make a great addition to any of our sights to bring the target a bit closer and allow the shooter to hit their mark.
AB: Does HHA offer any dealer incentive programs?
SB: For years we have offered different programs to incentivise dealers and have tried to help put a couple extra dollars in their pocket. Programs have ranged from early buy discounts, to terms and freight discounts, show specials and even sales incentives. These programs will continue in the future; however, for 2020, we feel we have a solid new program and an attractive incentive dealers will greatly appreciate and enjoy. The support from consumers and the bricks and mortar dealer has been the blood line for HHA for over 35 years and although times have changed and the way commerce is conducted has changed, if it wasn't for the retailers and mom and pop shops, HHA wouldn't be where we are today. Going into 2020 and future years, we want the dealers to know how much we appreciate them and how important they are to our brand.
AB: Where does HHA go from here? Any big news for 2020?
SB: The sky is the limit. The company and the brand have been around for a long time and we continue to grow. However, by no means does that mean we are done. Private family owned companies are becoming a rarity these days, and the worst thing we can do is become complacent. We're constantly looking for new opportunities, whether it be something new in technology or designing products that could lead the company into new markets. Competition has never been stronger than it is now. Everyday there are new challenges. However, once dealers and consumers are introduced to our 2020 product lineup and see what we have to offer, they will quickly realize we are here for the long haul and are willing to rise up to every challenge.
BH: We are all excited for the introduction of our 2020 product additions, and you will need to stay tuned for the rollout in January. We believe our loyal following will be pleased with our efforts. Of course, to keep the HHA brand on top, we are already working on an aggressive new product introduction for 2021.
Harry will forever be remembered as a fighter in life and the industry, beating the odds when most counted him out. Harry far exceeded his expectations to make a living for himself and his family. He was able to use his own life experiences, both good and bad, to offer others encouragement and be a friend, mentor and inspiration to people of all generations. His infectious smile, willingness to lend a hand and glass-half-full attitude are qualities he lived by. He passed those qualities on to his employees, family and friends. Harry's legacy and the mark he left on all he encountered will never be forgotten, and he deserves much of the credit for the successes that HHA Sports has achieved over the last 35 years.>