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Thread: New gun store in a rural area: things are going well

  1. #1
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    New gun store in a rural area: things are going well

    I wanted to post this here as encouragement to others in my situation, and as a public thanks to God for the blessings he has given us. Last year my wife and I bought a small, recently closed gun store in a rural area near our home. We bought the gunsmithing equipment and the remaining non-firearms inventory essentially turn-key last year and finally opened up after receiving all permits/licenses a few months ago.

    This was the last gun store in our town and had just closed before we bought it. I don't think anyone we knew thought the endeavor could make any money but everyone hoped we could make it work and wished us well. I am happy to say that things are going great. I modernized/repriced the inventory to reflect people's tendency to compare prices online and turned it into an internet-friendly business. I welcome transfers equally vs purchases and make a point to let customers know I am happy if they get a lower price online and have me do the transfer. I like business any way it comes to me and this is the current market trend so I am going with it.

    I don't have room for many guns in-stock so I focused my shop primarily on ammo and reloading components. It takes a lot of effort to shop around on every item but this focus has enabled me to keep my ammo prices below or equal to walmart and dick's. In the odd event I am higher priced I can nearly always price-match at a slight profit if a customer requests that. For anyone who orders ahead I keep my profit margins very slim as a loyalty thank-you.

    I have had a lot of talking to do in the past few months to make people realize that a small shop can compete with the big guys but people are realizing it now due to my prices and business is increasing as a result. I am happy to say that I made enough in the first month to pay the (high) insurance for the year, and the second month has been better than the first so things are on a good trajectory.

    I wanted to encourage anyone else who is on the fence to give this a try. If you are internet-savvy and have business knowledge you can make this work if your community actively supports you, even if you are in a very small town.

    Andy

  2. #2
    Boolit Master wills's Avatar
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    Congratulations, and Best Wishes!
    Have mercy.
    A haw, haw, haw, haw, a haw.
    A haw, haw, haw

  3. #3
    Boolit Master

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    Congratulations and wishing you continued success and respect for having the guts to do it when many must have told you it would not work.

  4. #4
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    Andy,

    This afternoon I was having much the same conversation with a proprietor who works out of an 8'x20' portable building. He turns a lot of used guns, utilises Gunbroker a lot when it trends in his favor, (right now shotguns are moving well for some reason) and, as you say, tries to give his customers a reason to keep trading with him.

    Good for you!
    More "This is what happened when I,,,,," and less "What would happen if I,,,,"

    "Control the things you can control, maggot. Let everything else take a flying (leap) at you, and if you must go down, go down with your guns blazing."- The Dark Tower, Steven King


  5. #5
    Boolit Master

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    Always remember that to a lot knowledge and help keep us coming back to a shop. Being able to help the newer shooters with information or possibly a demonstration goes along ways. Ive helped one local shop give a reloading class a couple times over the years. A lot of those people are still coming back and are loyal customers. These were just a very basic class for beginners. Being able to show how to clean, field strip, and use the firearm goes along ways. Best of Luck and remember You determine the outcome.

  6. #6
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    Congratulations on your success , it sounds as if you're off to a good start. It also sounds like you've got the right attitude, and that is key. I know, as a customer, I'll be happy to do business with a local shop that wants me as a customer, even if the price is a bit more than online.
    Too often I've been places that have the attitude " it's MY place....take it or leave it" Almost always, I leave it.
    NRA life member

    LB

  7. #7
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    bullet maker 57's Avatar
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    Congratulations. There are only one or two LGS in this area. They don't even try to compete with the big box stores. There is not much support for a LGS here in NYistan.
    New England Custom Bullets Inc.
    13 Maywood Rd
    Newburgh, NY 12550
    845-391-7679

    Email: pete@newenglandcustombullets.com

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  8. #8
    Boolit Buddy Spoonerism's Avatar
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    Congratulations! I always like to hear of a small business doing well, especially a gun shop.

  9. #9
    Boolit Bub
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    I to am a small business owner for many years now. Its kinda nice to be able to see these more personal enterprises spring up ( I hate big box stores they treat you like your a gun dog ) point and say over there no time to kibitz about anything. best wishes for your venture and remember keep it fun and you will never work a day!!!

  10. #10
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    an old fellow here had the philosophy that it is better to made a dollar on 10 items and have return customers than make ten dollars on one item and never see that person again. Sounds like you are following his idea. By the way he died with 400,000.00 in the bank and a shop full of stock.

  11. #11
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    Praying for continued and greater success
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  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    Congratulations on you new venture and success.
    It sounds like you have a good business plan going so far.
    My wife and I have a small home based business going and it is tough, but rewarding.
    I too, like others would rather go into a small shop and shoot the breeze for a few with a friendly, knowledgeable shop owner than a $10/hr employee who doesn't care about customer service but rather just a pay check.
    Keep up the good work and may God pour His blessings upon you and yours.

  13. #13
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    Thanks for the nice comments and encouragement guys, good to hear of other success stories and I hope that people who are on the fence about opening a gun store read this and decide to take the plunge.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master

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    my local little and I do mean little gun shop the owner is not very internet experienced and his prices were way out in left field. I tried to buy local but when he was charging 3 times what I could get it for at the lgs it did not work. he discovered that there was a market for selling guns on consignment and does quite well doing that, no upfront cost to him and he gets a cut from the sale and the money for the background.

  15. #15
    Boolit Master
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    Great glad for you and your wife.

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    LGS near me uses the same philosophy. Those who buy a lot get deals, those who come in once a year not so much. He has matched internet ammo pricing for me more than once because I buy 1k rounds at a time.

  17. #17
    Boolit Master


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    An old farmer I used to work with quoted a butcher he used to work for. In a German accent, he said: "You don't have to make a dime on every sale, just a nickle......but make lots of nickles!"
    Micah 6:8
    He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?

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  18. #18
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    I live in a town of 1100 and, of course, no gun shop. I work in a town 14 miles away with a population of around 30k that swells to over 50k when the college is in session. Not a single gun shop. Not even a single FFL. There are, of course, five marijuana shops in that town... The only FFL in the county is a sheriff's deputy in another little town who does business out of his basement.

    I kicked around the idea of getting my FFL and opening a little shop, but talking to the only FFL, he said he does maybe five to ten transfers a week. And this is in a rural farming area on the Idaho border. I was shocked at the lack of demand.

  19. #19
    Boolit Master

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    A new shop opened up in Cheriton Va. Recently that moved over from the town of Capecharles for a larger space so I suppose business is doing well . The owner is a friendly helpful fellow that will try to get you what you are looking for at a good price . Andy I wish you a fruitful and pleasant business .

  20. #20
    Boolit Master


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    Quote Originally Posted by Preacher Jim View Post
    an old fellow here had the philosophy that it is better to made a dollar on 10 items and have return customers than make ten dollars on one item and never see that person again. Sounds like you are following his idea. By the way he died with 400,000.00 in the bank and a shop full of stock.
    My late g-father, self employed his entire life (save when he was a doughboy - wounded in France in 1918), said it this way -

    "A sheep can be sheared 10 times, but skinned only once."
    "Varium et mutabile semper femina." - Virgil
    Man, ain't it the truth....

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