TenPoint — 20 Years of Exceptional Crossbow Manufacturing
Made in the USA.
It’s a slogan well-known and oft repeated by Americans, who understand the sentiment not as a political slogan but in a patriotic spirit that is alive and well in Mogadore, Ohio, where TenPoint Crossbow Technologies is celebrating its 20th year as an entrepreneurial wonder of the outdoor industry.
Mogadore is where Rick Bednar, a veteran field archery champion and US Olympic athlete, set up shop and now heads the multi-million dollar empire that lays claim to dozens of patents and a manufacturing facility that has fueled unprecedented growth in an industry that was in its infancy a decade ago. That empire also includes Wicked Ridge Crossbows, a subsidiary of the TenPoint brand that targets the entry-level market in a highly competitive business.
TenPoint today is a remarkable testament to Bednar’s vision and his steadfast desire to not simply be a part of a cottage industry but to lead it through quality engineering, innovation, high performance, and safety improvements. It’s a vision that actually began in the 1970s, when Bednar traveled the world as a member of the USA Pan Am, World Target and World Field Archery teams, and when he competed and won three NCAA Championships at the University of Akron and qualified for the 1976 Olympic Team. It’s a vision fostered by his parents, Archery Hall of Fame member Bill Bednar and his wife, Edith, whose Portage Archery Center was headquartered in Suffield, Ohio.
Rick and his sisters, Cindy and Joanna, grew up in an apartment adjoining the pro shop of Portage Archery, which still operates today as Hunter’s Outlet Archery Center and is a division of TenPoint Crossbow Technologies. After graduating from the University of Akron, Bednar worked for two years as director of new store expansion for the Cole National Corporation, then bought the family business in 1981. After adding a wholesale distribution business called PAC Distributing to the retail operation, Bednar garnered the interest of British entrepreneurs who wanted a national sales and marketing organization in the States to import and sell a line of crossbows designed by British custom gun maker Bernard Horton.
Thanks to Bednar’s efforts, which included convincing the Brits to move their manufacturing facilities to Mogadore, the Horton brand grew into a $4.5 million business in the six years he was its chief operating officer. In fact, Stark County, Ohio, named Bednar its New Entrepreneur of the Year in 1990.
But a stockholder dispute — Bednar and another investor, George R. Gardner, an Easton Aluminum Top-Ten Arrow distributor, wanted to invest the company’s profits back into the company while the majority of Horton’s partners wanted to distribute them — led to Bednar’s departure from Horton. After waiting a year to satisfy a non-compete agreement, Bednar and a small group of investors launched Hunter’s Manufacturing in 1994, when the crossbow industry was small and dominated by the well-established Horton name. In 1995 Horton executives filed a complicated lawsuit designed to occupy Hunter Manufacturing’s operating capital and keep the fledgling company on the sidelines. It didn’t work. By the end of 1998, a moneyless settlement forced Bednar to change his company’s trade name to TenPoint Crossbow Technologies.
Despite the challenges, Bednar led his young company to double-digit growth in each of its first five years, and by 2002 when a pair of southeastern states joined three others in eliminating restrictions on crossbows during archery deer seasons, TenPoint was poised for tremendous growth. In the ensuing years 15 more states followed suit, allowing Bednar to increase his business from 20 employees to 100.
TenPoint has been issued 31 patents in the United States and two in Canada, with 19 more pending, far outpacing the technological reach of its competitors. Things didn’t go so well for Horton Archery, and just last year TenPoint purchased selected portions — machinery and equipment, trademarks, patents and licenses — of the bankrupt company.
Today, ‘Made in the USA’ is more than a slogan at TenPoint Crossbow Technologies. Rick Bednar joins his two sons, Phil and Steve, two sisters, and his nephew in designing, building, testing, marketing and selling crossbows with one goal in mind: to be a world-class manufacturer of products that are recognized as an industry standard for safety, precision engineering, durability, performance and power.