Mid-States Distributing Co logo

Sporting Goods Category Manager

Mid-States Distributing Co
Fort Worth, Texas, United States

Who We Are:

Mid-States Distributing ("Mid-States") is the leading Farm, Ranch, and Home Retail Cooperative. Our company is owned by 34 independent Farm, Ranch & Home retailers (�Members�) who operate over 800 stores in 34 states and 9 Canadian provinces with combined annual sales of over 7.5 billion dollars.  Our member-owners retail items such as agriculture parts & supplies, petroleum products, hardware & tools, pet food, lawn & garden, animal health supplies, apparel & footwear, sporting goods, and various other products for the Farm, Ranch, and Home.

We are looking for competitive people who like to win big and have fun doing it.  We place a tremendous amount of emphasis on creating a unique and positive company culture.  Most of our employees will tell you this is the best place they�ve ever worked.  We value high-energy people who like to work hard and play hard.  Our consumers are primarily rural people raising �kids, cows, and quarter horses,� so traditional values like God, family, and patriotism are important virtues around here.  So, if you are enthusiastic and competitive, have a great attitude, have good communication skills, are good at building relationships, love to win, and you like ice cream � Mid-States is the place for you!  If you are not, please apply with our competitors! 

The Position                                                                                                                                                         The Sporting Goods Category Manager with a focus on Hunt/ Camp/ Fish/ Marine develops and manages supplier relationships, events, and merchandising programs on behalf of the Mid-States Membership. This involves collaboration with the Business Unit (division), committees, stockholders, member buyers, and executive management to leverage the combined purchasing power of the cooperative. At its core, the position serves as an ambassador for the category.

What You Will Do:

  • Facilitate and support direct business with our centralized sourcing, purchasing, and distribution
  • Facilitate and support indirect business needs relevant to the category and our Member�s core business needs
  • Develop and manage supplier relationships in assigned category (Sporting Goods)
  • Research, select, and certify supplier merchandise programs
  • Forecast and budget in responsible areas with cross-functional teams
  • Manage master data for assigned categories while working to enhance programs
  • Coordinate supplier involvement and participate in the design, management, and execution processes of the semi-annual tradeshows
  • Negotiate, drive/guide �direct� programs from inception to implementation
  • Ensure assigned annual revenue plan is achieved through tradeshow structured resources
  • Manage supplier assortments & recommend leveraged buys
  • Communicate all aspects of supplier programs to the membership via website, mailing, e-mail, tradeshows, and meetings
  • Manage and analyze each assigned supplier�s programs for value and accuracy
  • Identify and drive new business opportunities by analyzing market trends and facilitation of coordinated line reviews
  • Resolve conflicts between suppliers and members in a �win-win� scenario
  • Coordinate and manage supplier �Top to Top� meetings, member committee meetings, and associated category line reviews
  • Present, influence, and promote our Learning Management Solution to suppliers to foster commitment and participation
  • Support the execution of the Private Brand Strategy
  • Other duties as assigned


  • Bachelor's degree or higher in business, retailing, management, sales, marketing OR equivalent work experience
  • Minimum seven (7) years of retail buying, sourcing, or category management experience. Including negotiation, contracting, and supplier performance management in a distributor/wholesale/retail environment
  • Previous experience in the outdoor industry is a plus (Hunting, Fishing, Camping, and Marine)
  • Proven negotiation skills through collaboration & strategic thinking
  • Track record of creating exciting volume driving initiatives, improving profitability, and finding cost-saving efficiencies
  • Experience with an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system
  • Proficient in MS Office applications such as Outlook, Excel, Word & PowerPoint
  • Proven project management skills
  • Strong analytical, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills with high attention to detail
  • Possess the interpersonal, written, and verbal communication skills needed to interact with people at all levels of the organization
  • Ability to confidently present to large groups
  • Proven knowledge of the end-to-end retail Merchandising, Advertising, Marketing, and Supply-Chain business processes
  • Positive Attitude & Team player
  • Ability to �sell� your vision to member buyers, their owners, and our suppliers
  • Self-directed associate who can drive results as well as take balanced risks and make decisions
  • Able to multi-task and define long and short-term objectives and establish priorities
  • Understands the complexities of different cost structures and continuously looks for opportunities to improve processes
  • Ability to offer opinions and support senior management and business leaders
  • Demonstrated integrity and ethical standards
  • Global Sourcing and product development
  • Strong organizational, communication (Oral / Written / Public Speaking) and practical collaboration skills
  • Flexibility and agility to change and adapt to the ever-evolving customer, channel, and business needs

Generally, the job requires 80% sitting, 10% walking, and 10% standing. This job is performed in a generally clean environment.  The usual and customary methods of performing the job's functions require the following physical demands: some lifting, carrying, pushing, and pulling, some stooping, and significant fine finger dexterity.

Some travel involved   

Please note this job description is not designed to cover or contain a comprehensive listing of activities, duties, or responsibilities required of the employee for this position. Duties, obligations, and activities may change at any time with or without notice. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

A few words from our COO:

Mid-States is truly the best company I have ever worked for.  We strive to provide a unique, exciting, fulfilling work environment for our staff.  We are cautious when we hire because we want to protect that environment.  Drama, laziness, and entitlement have no place at Mid-States.  Our company is very financially sound and growing like crazy.  If you are an enthusiastic, high-energy person with a positive attitude and the skills described above, you may have just found the last job you will ever apply for, I look forward to meeting you. � Jeff