Xenith LLC was lined up for a record revenue hike in 2020 before the coronavirus pandemic blitzed its business. Now it's trimming and pivoting its business to cross the goal line.
The Detroit-based football equipment maker was forced to lay off between 30 percent and 40 percent of its staff in recent weeks and draw up another new business model in its hunt for profitability.
"There's 16 states that aren't playing high school football this fall, our home state of Michigan being one of them," CEO Ryan Sullivan told Crain's Detroit Business. "Not only has participation been heavily impacted by COVID, but also budgets. Football equipment as a budget line item is not the same priority that it has been in years past.
Sullivan said revenue at the company, owned by real estate investor Dan Gilbert, is expected to be down 10-30 percent this year. Prior to the pandemic, the company was projecting sales to be up 35 percent year-over-year. The company does not disclose revenue. Crowdsourcing data site Owler estimated it to be $5 million in 2019.
"Think about what a swing that has been for us," Sullivan said.
Xenith made its name by designing helmets with shock-absorbing technology meant to minimize concussions. Its helmets have been worn by a few dozen players at the NFL and NCAA levels. Its Shadow XR helmet debuted in January as its most successful product launch to date. It also makes shoulder pads and other equipment.