Country Ski and Sport, Inc. has two goals: to be the best in both customer service and prices. But in their four decades in business, they’ve watched the marketplace change—and they know it takes hard work to keep up with evolving customer expectations.

The history of Country Ski and Sport
The family-owned business opened its first shop in 1970 in Hanson, Massachusetts. Ray Stenson now owns and runs the company and its three locations, but it was his father who founded that original shop 47 years ago. The younger Stenson took over day-to-day operations in Hanson in 1977, allowing his father to open up a new Quincy location, and it’s remained a family affair ever since—Ray’s son now runs a location in Westwood.

“It’s very much a family-oriented business,” Ray says, “and we’re very proud of that.”

Of course, in the days since they opened in 1970, things are much different. Now, he says, people shop online as they browse the store, comparing prices and trying to find a better deal. That’s why, he says, their mission has two parts.

“We need to be the best in both customer service and prices—it has to be both,” he says. “In today’s world of global shopping, you need all of the above to succeed.”

How Cayan Genius helps them focus on their customer service
When the chip card changeover date approached in 2015, Ray knew he wanted to upgrade. Chip cards would be more secure for both him and his customers, but he couldn’t sacrifice speed, or he’d be taking a step back in his customer service efforts. That’s where Cayan came in.

Stenson uses Microsoft through Retail Realm as his POS, and as he looked for a new processor, he heard about Cayan from an associate and decided to explore the solutions. He decided to look into the Cayan Genius platform. When he saw Genius's 4-second chip card transactions, he knew he'd found what he was looking for, and signed up quickly.

“I was very, very impressed by what I saw in the chip reader,” Ray says.

When Cayan rose to the occasion
Not long after signing up, Ray put Cayan to the test. On Veterans Day Weekend, Country Ski and Sport was operating a large pop-up shop at the annual Boston Ski and Travel Show.

The Boston Ski and Travel Show is the largest consumer ski and travel show in the country, taking place in the Seaport area of Downtown Boston. Almost 70,000 people pass through in 4 days. Country Ski and Sport had been planning their appearance for a long time. With Genius set to be deployed at machines throughout the show, Ray demanded a lot from the solution—and it passed with flying colors.

“After spending so much time thinking of all the ‘what ifs,’ it was great to see that it worked perfectly at the show,” Ray says.

Why they love PIN Steering, the Portal, and more
Genius is up and running in all his stores, and he’s enjoying more than just the lightning-fast chip card transactions. PIN Steering, for instance, is a feature that he’s especially fond of—if a customer uses a card that can be processed as either credit or debit, Genius will automatically read it as a debit and prompt them for their PIN. That way, it ensures the merchant has the lowest possible fees on the transaction.

The Merchant Portal, too, is another of Stenson’s favorite features.

“I love the Portal,” he says. “I love being able to go there during the day and see real time alerts for every store. 90% of our sales are credit cards, so I get a great picture of how we’re doing that day. And the history and reporting are great too—it prints out the entire customer receipt right there within your Portal.”

Ski season has wrapped up now, so things are a bit slow for Stenson. But he’s already looking ahead to next year’s massive Ski and Travel Show. And he knows Cayan and Genius will be able to handle it.

​​Spotlight: How Cayan supported Country Ski and Sport’s pop-up shop

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