Understanding Market Diversity for Outdoor Goods

GLG sat down with Lee Downing, Former Executive Vice President of Store Operations & Real Estate at Tractor Supply Company, to learn about the outdoor goods business. The Tractor Supply Company, he says, has almost doubled in size over the last five years – growing from 850 stores across the United States to over 1,500. He argues that increasing attention to sustainability and the environment has contributed to this growth. Also contributing to growth, he says, is American environmental diversity – while oil production equipment may be popular in states like Texas, salt manufacturing and heating supply tools will likely be more popular in the Northeast. For chain stores in the outdoor goods business, says Downing, identifying the target market is essential.

Lee Downing is the Former Executive Vice President of Store Operations & Real Estate at Tractor Supply Company. In this role, he was responsible for all aspects of store operations for more than 1,500 stores, as well as operations administration including the customer care (call) center, store services, and help desk. Downing also oversaw real estate and new store growth. During his time at TSC, the store count grew from 850 to 1,500 with sites in 49 states, and sales grew from $3.6 billion to more than $6.5 billion. Prior to Tractor Supply Co, Downing was the Vice President of Operations, Mid South Division at Dollar General. Lee graduated with a BS in Business Administration/Management from the University of Tennessee at Martin and currently serves on the Board of Advisors for the University’s College of Business and Global Affairs.

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