The first steps led to the first big success: Umarex developed a line of guns with powerful appeal to 10 million recreational shooters. These blank firing guns and airguns could be freely purchased over the counter. That was a key advantage, because Germany’s new weapons act, passed in 1972, required a permit for the purchase of lethal weapons.
Meeting this demand was no easy task. In fact, it seemed almost impossible, because Umarex, at that time still called Mayer & Riem, manufactured only one gun. It was the Perfecta Model G1,
a blank firing pistol.
Wulf-Heinz Pflaumer, who joined Umarex in 1972, pressed forward with the expansion of the product range. Together with Franz Wonisch and Karl Mayer Senior he applied what he had learned at the mailorder company Neckermann: give the customers what they want.
Success came swiftly. Umarex became the largest importer of airguns from China. In 1974/75 it made a big impact with internationally renowned brands like Daisy, Marksman, Milbro and Norica.
It secured exclusive rights for Marksman and became the general importer for Daisy rifles.
In 1972, the sales path for guns was from wholesalers to retailers. There was no direct path from manufacturers to retailers – until Wulf-Heinz Pflaumer came along and tried it. The industry was amazed. Umarex was ahead of its time.
Direct sales were necessary because the wholesalers were ignoring Umarex. So Umarex ignored the wholesalers.By 1976, Umarex had six field representatives. Their job was to visit gun dealers in Germany, some 1,000 in all, and present the company’s products. Both sides agreed: We’re a good match. In this way Umarex achieved growth rates between 30% and 50%.
The ingenious Sherlock Holmes finally met his equal: Umarex created a package in the shape of a book, containing a magnifying glass and a revolver with blank cartridges and flares. The set, which displayed the figure of Sherlock Holmes on the outside, sold at a rate of 80,000 per year. A license fee of 25 cents per set went to the family of Arthur Conan Doyle, which held the rights to the character.
Umarex began its expansion in the 1970s by exporting to Egypt, France, Italy, Austria and Switzerland. In 1985, the company strengthened its international presence with the founding of Umarex Austria. Based in Niederndorf and headed by Bernd Reppmann, Umarex Austria remains a highly regarded member of the Umarex Group.
Umarex Austria offers gun dealers in southeastern Europe a product range that is specially geared to the needs of recreational shooters and hunters. Its experienced and well-trained employees
provide expert advice and are known for their excellent service.