The Download: Ed Byman, Founder and CEO, Global Value Commerce

Ed Byman is the founder and CEO of Raleigh’s Global Value Commerce. He has been in the golf industry since 1974. After a successful collegiate career at the University of Connecticut, he played professional golf on several international tours and carded a victory at the 1974 Mexican Open. He later played on the PGA TOUR from 1978-’80.

Following the completion of his playing days, Ed began his second career as the owner of an independent sales agency for many of golf’s leading brands. While in golf product sales for over 20 years, he was recognized multiple times as a national sales leader for brands like Nike Golf, Cobra, Etonic and Orlimar. During this period, Ed also started and successfully exited two business ventures outside of the golf industry.

In 2001, he founded Global Value Commerce and has led the company through many years of significant growth to be one of the leading players in the golf industry, as recognized in 2017 when the company was named to the National Golf Foundation inaugural list of Top 100 Businesses in Golf.

1. What is in your pockets?
I always keep my billfold, cell phone and car keys in my pockets, and a face mask in my back pocket for when I tour around the warehouse.

2. What exciting thing has happened recently for you or your organization?
Global Golf is our flagship website where we sell all the new and greatest golf equipment; 3balls.com,  which sells the largest selection of pre-owned equipment in the country; and Fairway Styles, which is a boutique fashion apparel site. Then we have the PGA Value Guide, like the Kelly Blue book for the golf industry, where a consumer can find the value of any golf equipment from the last 15 to 20 years. We also leverage a new introduction called U-try, which is an ability for the golf consumer to be able to try any new golf club that they want to try for a two-week period.

We were founded on the principle of bringing structure and stability to the pre-owned golf marketplace. We devised the first price book and then we worked with retailers to start taking trades and allowed them to sell more new equipment because they were able to create this new currency, if you will, in pre-owned equipment; the consumer could trade in their existing equipment and buy the new latest-and-greatest. Then we’re able to work with the manufacturers to support their consumer-trial programs. We are the back-end to liquidate that product once it was finished. We’ve been able to build an exciting business. We’re in the “re-commerce” part of the industry.

The year was off to a great start until about March 15 when the whole Covid thing hit. We retrenched as an organization and very quickly got our arms around best practices on how to keep everybody healthy. What’s exciting is that after a soft March and April, we had a record May, which has continued every month since then. We are also seeing dynamic growth in Canada at GlobalGolf.ca.

3. What is your favorite coffee spot?
I usually go to the Alexander Place Starbucks in Brier Creek.

4. What keeps you up at night?
The health of our employees during this time. We’ve dealt with that in a really proactive way. We do masks, use gloves, sanitize, and we break down between shifts and sanitize all the areas of the company. Beyond that, I think one of the things about ecommerce is that it’s ever evolving. The consumer has certain expectations of what they expect to see when they shop ecommerce and you have to make sure that you meet or exceed those expectations. That’s very dynamic.

We’re pretty proud of the way people can navigate our sites, how they can find exactly what they’re looking for, and how fast our pages load so that the experience is very natural. They’re not waiting for eons for pages to load. Easy checkout, very convenient. We spent a lot of time just making sure that we interact with our consumers who buy our products, but also with our OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) and retailer environments so that we make it very easy for them to interface with us and enjoy the benefits that we bring to them.

5. What is your favorite restaurant or happy hour?
Margaux’s has been our favorite for a long, long time. Steve, the owner, has done a great job of serving North Raleigh. They always have great menus that change every week and I really enjoy that a lot.

6. What is next for you or your organization?
There’s still a lot of growth out in front of us in the golf industry, whether it be geographic expansion or just in getting our messaging out. We did a survey several years ago that found that about 50 percent of the people that play golf still don’t even know they can trade yet. We have an educational process that we have to conduct. We think that we’re just the tip of the iceberg about what we can continue to grow here on the pre-owned side.

We have been able to expand the U-try program from golf clubs into GPS units and range finders and believe it can be a tremendous advantage for us moving forward, in a number of different product categories and across a number of verticals. We’ve just launched a website called Gear Hunter, which is an outdoor camping site where we’re going to have trade-in on archery bows.

What we found when we did research is that the archery industry is very similar to what golf was about 20 years ago, where there isn’t an active trade-in component for the bow owner. We believe that we can really help stimulate that industry as we have done with golf, by expanding into the secondary market.

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About Brooks Malone 46 Articles
Brooks Malone is a NC CPA and Partner with Hughes Pittman & Gupton, LLP, and leads the Technology practice group. Brooks is also listed contributor to the National Fast Trac Tech Curriculum that was funded by the Kauffman Foundation. Brooks was named one of the 40 Under 40 in May 2005 by the TBJ, received the Outstanding service to Entrepreneurs Award in 2008 by CED, and named to the Leadership Raleigh Hall of Fame in October 2011. Brooks is a graduate of North Carolina State University and is active at American Underground and Raleigh Founded.