Hi all! I am finalizing the sale of my company and am thinking of using the funds to open a gun store which is a dream of mine. I would sell primarily home defense weapons and some hunting rifles.
I wanted to get some opinions from some of you experienced gun shop owners if you don't mind. I have a retail location picked out that is pretty safe. It is across the street from the local PD. The competition here is few and far between 3 actual stores in a huge city and none within 45 minute drive of where mine will be.
I am applying for my FFL currently, which I understand is a long process.
Some questions I have are:
How much money do I need to invest? I am figuring on $400,000 for the initial inventory including safes and display cases, cash register, credit card machine, etc.
Is it hard to become a reseller of gun companies like Beretta, HK, and so forth?
Will I need to hire a gunsmith or can I send off the weapons for repair?
Any other tips you can give will be much appreciated. Thank you in advance for your time.
What town you gonna be in? I may want to apply for a job.
Here's My Long Reply Novel. LOL!
I don't own a store, but I work in one, so I will try to answer some of the questions, anyway.
It's not too hard to become a dealer for various companies, the only issue you may have is with companies with large military and/or police contracts, companies like HK and Sig. Working with companies with those contracts can become somewhat frustrating, and that will be for the life of your shop (even if you do go through distributors, remember you have to ship guns back for warranty or anything customers may want done to their guns by said companies). Their main attention is being spent on those contracts and sometimes they forget the retailer. And sometimes they are downright rude (you'll turn good and red the first time someone cusses you out). If you stand your ground, you get what you want (I've made people cry at several of the gun companies, but it got my customers more than what they wanted in the end). If they don't help your customers, drop them (and trust me, your customers will blame you if the gun manufacturer shafts them).
You don't need to hire a gunsmith, but remember your customers will assume you have one. Where I work, we do not have a gunsmith, never did, and people are shocked to find out we don't. Other people think that gun shops only hire gunsmiths to work behind the counters, and the customers get mad when the sales staff can't fix their weapons for them. If you don't hire one, talk to a local guy and hand out his card to customers looking for a gunsmith. This helps the gunsmith, but helps you, too. If a lot of his business starts saying, "Hey, I got your card from this shop" he'll start telling customers who didn't get his card from you about your shop.
Someone suggested Ellet Brothers as a distributor. Also check our RSR, Henry's, AccuSport, Numrich (for parts). And don't forget Brownell's and MidwayUSA.
While most of your shopping for guns will be done through distributors, make sure you develop a relationship with gun companies, too. Smith & Wesson and Springfield Armory do a lot of promotions that you'll want to offer your customers. All the companies have warranties and you want them to take you and your customers seriously. Also... most companies will offer you and your staff stuff. Example, once a year Bushmaster gives out lobsters to your staff, I believe it is two per Bushmaster firearm they sell in one month (and yes, you'll get a box of live lobsters in the mail). Some companies will have deals where if your staff sells X number of their firearms, they'll offer that staff member a chance to buy their latest product for dirt cheap (I mean, a product retailing for $700 they'll be able to pick up for $200). S&W will occassionally offer your staff a commission, too. Sell a pistol, get $10, that sort of thing. Benelli had a contest a few years ago where the staff member in your store who sold the most Benellis in a month got a free Super Nova of their choice (and one way or another, someone in your shop would get one). And most companies will offer a "employee discount" which allows your staff to order one gun a year from them at a deep discount (these are companies like Kahr, Glock, Springfield, Benelli, etc). You can also get your reps to stop by and teach your staff about things they may not have known, or give a show for your customers. So make yourself known to them whether you go through distributors or not, because you don't want to be passed up for all of this.
Oh, one more thing. Any gun company that offers an armorer course to staff at gun shops, take the course and have one or two staff members take them, too. Glock allows store staff to take the Glock armorer course, do it. It is worth the money you spend on it. Some other companies may allow it, too. Do it.
The store will be in Mint Hill, NC, which is a suburb of Charlotte,NC.
Sucklead, thanks so much for the info. I appreciate your time to post it was very informative.
Too long of a commute.
right now the weather is not to warm. It's about 1 1/5 hour drive for me. Can't you move it closer to the north of Charlotte?
Todd where are you at?
Fuquay, outside of Raleigh.
Originally Posted by will
Ive kinda wanted to open my own gunshop, if I won the lotto. Always wanted a gunshop in jewelry store's clothing kinda place. Real Upscale. Good customer service oriented employees (no cherry pickers) and a clean, clutter-free shop, I think makes for a good gunstore. Wooden displays if you can afford.
I think that shop from the FX show 30 days would be the kind of shop I would like to own. Peabody Sports IIRC. His store was very professional looking and very clutter-free. Shoot Straight in Tampa, FL is pretty nice, but they tend to have some clutter during sales and use metal cases.
Here, all the shops are kinda cluttered, either with guns or accessories, either way I feel like I am walking thru a dirty Kmart.
I agree with you Nater. I plan on having a very well merchandised store that is neat and clutter free as well as welcoming. I plan on having hard wood floors but I am not sure about the cases. Wood tends to be a little antique looking on display cases. I want a little more of a modern look. I plan on getting light up signs instead of just banners for the in store store displays for different manufacturers. I want a place where you walk in and think "Wow, this is a nice place.".
Remember wood floors are tougher to sweep and mop, and you can count on "redneck skidmarks" pretty much everyday. They could get real scruffy looking real fast.
I may do laminate wood flooring instead. It is supposed to be scratch proof.
That would work! Just make sure to get someone who knows what they are doing so you don't end up picking little pieces of stuff out from between the openings.
That is a dream I have had for ever and still have nightly
Originally Posted by FallGuy
If you open the store let me know! I will drop in by there as I find my way down to that area a few times a year.
Since this was revived, how are the plans for the shop coming?
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