Full Article : Bowhunter Business Article
Peter Luccisano had a problem. The 30-year-old carpenter and part-time truck driver had just finished his shift of snow plowing at midnight, and as he gathered his hunting gear to meet his brother by 4 a.m., he realized that his Hot Seat was damaged. The weather was cold,and snow covered most of the New England deer woods. Peter didn’t want to hit the frigid woodlands without a seat, and as he pondered his dilemma, he thought of laminating together some pieces of foam house-siding insulation. He tried it, and it worked. Pete Luccisano’s spark of an idea solved his immediate problem, and it eventually changed the rest of his life. He still has his first foam seat.
The foam cushion worked so well that Peter was soon fabricating seats for his hunting buddies. He was also contemplating “hanging up his hammer” for a life in the hunting industry. It is often said, “Necessity is the mother of invention.” In Luccisano’s ‘ case, necessity helped him launch a new career. Thirteen years later he is still going strong and has not stopped to look back, to ponder “What if?”
What first started as a one product cottage industry has grown into an enterprise with annual sales as high as $750,000. Today, servicing some 700 accounts requires nine full-time employees, including Luccisano and Linda Collupy, his office manager for the past eight years. Northeast currently occupies 20,000 square feet of a l00 year old mill building on Franklin Street in Lawrence, Massachusetts, about 50 miles north of Boston.
“The first real education I received was in the variety, types, and properties of closed cell foams. There are many different foams, each with its own attributes. Initially I gravitated to Evazote,a type of foam manufactured in England and imported into the U.S.. I found that purely from a performance standpoint, it was the best. I still think it is.
“We continue to sell a great number of my original ‘Therm-A-Seat’ made of Evazote. It’s my favorite, and it’s the best when it comes to durability. In fact, it has all the features sportsmen prefer. Unfortunately it’s also very expensive. Consequently, we also offer foams for the price-sensitive buyer.
“Back in 1992 and ’93 we learned a very important lesson when competitors introduced dirt-cheap copycat products and almost put us out of business. They were using inexpensive foams in products that looked like ours but delivered less than optimum results. But, unfortunately, by visual inspection alone the general buyer couldn’t tell the difference between Northeast and its competitors. “We made our comeback by offering a wide variety of products and price levels,” Peter continued. “That way we had something to sell almost every potential customer. Spreading our name by word-of-mouth, through national advertising, and by attending both trade and consumer shows helped build our brand name recognition.”
Northeast Products’ latest catalog offers a variety of products for bowhunters, including cushions for both treestands and ground blinds. These cushions come in solid colors as well as camo patterns, including Realtree, The Therm-A-Seat for treestand platforms and Therm-A-Grip bow handle warmer are specifically made for bowhunters. Cold Stopper pack boot foam replacements
and Hot Footers heat-retaining shoe insoles round out the product line.
Different foams offer different degrees of waterproofness, durability, weight, comfort, flexibility, and noise. Peter Luccisano explained, “The challenge is to match the right foam to the application. We do all of our manufacturing in-house, including pattern screening and cover fabric application. This way we have total control of our inventory levels and quality, and we benefit from the added-value operations. And, by manufacturing in-house we have total control over costs and overhead expenses.”
Northeast Products’ comfortable cold weather gear is handled by archery pro shops, catalogers, and mass merchants. Owner/Founder Peter Luccisano feels that actively developing and introducing new products, continuing to advertise nationally, maintaining high quality standards, delivering products quickly, and satisfying individual customer’s requests are some of Northeast Products’ secrets of success. But he really believes that his “secret weapon” is attending consumer shows.
“I personally attend a lot of shows and talk one on one with the hunters who use my products,” Peter said. “Those hunters provide the very best feedback I can get. They tell me what’s working, what needs to be changed, and how best to tailor our products to their specific needs. After 13 years I still come home from every show with lots of new ideas, fresh opinions, and input that help us stay abreast of our segment of the industry.”
For a product catalog,
375 Jaffrey Road,
Peterborough, NH 03458
(978) 784- 5671