Range and Gun Store Startup

Range and Gun Store Startup

This is a discussion on Range and Gun Store Startup within the General Firearm Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; A group of businessmen are opening a range and gun store in 2008. I am responsible for ordering the inventory, products, merchandise and such. Based ...

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Thread: Range and Gun Store Startup

  1. #1
    Senior Member Array INTJ's Avatar
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    Range and Gun Store Startup

    A group of businessmen are opening a range and gun store in 2008. I am responsible for ordering the inventory, products, merchandise and such. Based on your current knowledge and experience, pretend all your firearms and related gear needs to be replaced. What are the top items you would immediately buy? Input and responses from current store/range owners are appreciated.
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  2. #2
    Distinguished Member Array BIG E's Avatar
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    I don't know about top items, but if I am starting up gun shop I want things that are gonna sell.

    I would start with the usual suspects. Popular items like XD's, M&P's. Round out your plastics and then move to the 1911's. Kimber, Springfield and so on. Don't forget the popular snubbies.

    One thing I would love to see in my local shops are good quality holsters. All the shops carry around here is the Galco stuff. Maybe you could get with some of our makers and get your hands on some really fine holsters. The nice custom rigs often cost about the same or even less than the Galco garbage. God forbid you offer nice stuff at a nice price.

    A really nice sharkskin holster is hard to pass up when it's on the counter in front of you. Even if the price is a little higher.

    Bottom line is think about your clients and what they are going to want. Are you catering to CCW folks (if not why) or are you trying to attract the big spenders with custom or limited items. I think you should have a mix of both. Make it easy to find a $400 gun and a $1600 one as well.

    Look at your demographics and also at other shops. What are they selling? What is stocking their shelves?

    In the end though it depends how much you have to spend.
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    Senior Member Array dunndw's Avatar
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    Find and retain the services of a good gunsmith.
    Make the place bright and inviting.
    Be CCW friendly :-)
    Glocks and snubbies are going to sell. 1911s always draw attention it seems, but the Glocks, XDs and the more moderate priced items are what seems to go out the door.
    Nothing bothers me more than going into a gun shop and NOT getting at least greeted, perhaps not helped right away, but greeted.
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    The money is not in the guns... its in the holsters magazines ammo and all the stuff that goes with guns. Have a good selection of the "stuff" and you will make money. Worry about the gun selection last, and carry decent brands. If you carry garbage, thats a direct reflection on you and your business.
    "Just blame Sixto"

  5. #5
    Ex Member Array azchevy's Avatar
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    Carry some bulk target ammo. The cheap stuff ( if you can call it that anymore) that people are turning online or to gunshows to get. ( like the miwall stuff) That way you don't have the standard box ammo that EVERYONE else has and you are unique and therefore get more business.

    Local shops here all have box ammo, except one who carries the surplus stuff ( bought from J&G - actually he buys it from J&G applies a small markup and sells it locally) and the bulk reload stuff in ammo cans ( miwall is one manufacturer)... his shop is ALWAYS full of people.

    Why? People need ammo and the cheaper bulk target ammo = gets people into your shop.

    Just a suggestion

  6. #6
    Member Array Whyveear's Avatar
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    Inventory off the top of my head:

    A good selection of cleaning products: solvent, lube, cleaning rods, jags, brass bore brushes, patches.

    Hogue grips for a variety of handguns

    Snap-caps (A-Zoom)

    High end holsters are generally not found in typical gun shops but you could become a Comp-tac dealer if you are willing to carry stock.

    Sure-fire flashlights

    Shoot 'n See targets

    Quality ear protection (at least 30 NRR)

    Eye protection

    Any Glock merchandise will sell easily. (Golf shirts, hats, keychains, etc.)

    Speed loaders. Uplula seems to be the latest craze.

    Assortment of roll pin punches, brass punches, and other basic gunsmithing tools

    This isn't inventory related but courteous and knowledgeable staff will be key. It will cost you, but it will bring customers back.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Array Geezer's Avatar
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    There should be some type of quality holster for each handgun stocked. Also, later on there should be consignment sales available.

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    VIP Member Array Cupcake's Avatar
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    I was a bit annoyed to go to a local gunshop for a couple of lockboxes for the cars and they didn't even carry them. Also carry at least those little gunvaults, if not big vaults/lockers.

    I highly reccomend offering training. When I took my ccw class, people were buying all sorts of stuff during the breaks. Including a couple guns, which led to ammo, cleaning kits, holsters, nightsights.

    +1 on carrying some "good holsters." everyone carries normal crap, but if you could stock some smartcarries and crossbreeds I think you'd have something special.
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    Glad your in Tenn..

    I'm looking to do the same thing, this range is already built.. I'll tell
    you one thing that I've been told by many people that work at
    another range have told me.. If they can buy a gun for $10 less at Gun-heaven, give them FREE range time and a class on how to
    clean, shoot, and maintian the weapon.. These guys tell me that
    for a few range hours they could sell like 100 more guns a MONTH !!
    I mean that is some major GREEN !!!! So it's not always what you
    got, but how you market it.. The range is there.. Letting some guy
    have 2 free hours of range time costs you what ??? like "0"..
    OK I hope all that made sence... If not E-me.. I know one thing that
    does not sell.. Holsters !!!

  10. #10
    Distinguished Member Array Colin's Avatar
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    Like any business, have your "bread and butter items" that move fast and keep the cash flowing. Also a good computer stocking/sale system is vital to ensure you can track patterns and know what is and isn't selling fast enough. Go to the local gun ranges and find out what type of shooting people do the most. Good luck

  11. #11
    Member Array flmitchell's Avatar
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    I ran a gun store in CA in a past life... ok... ok 20 years ago...

    Shop around the area you are in. Go to the local(and close by NOT local) gun ranges.
    See what people are shooting. It will give you an idea of what is popular.
    Start off with a decent variety of weapons. No more than 2 of each.

    Ammunition is tough... Everyone likes something different. Once again, get a variety, and see what sells in your area. Check out the local shops. Look for the empty and low stocked spaces.(Usually your best sellers). Find a local reloader(if insurance is available). Good reloads sell very well, and is usually a good resale margin.

    Getting a good rep with a distributor is a must... Best pricing AND fast delivery will benefit you beyond belief.

    Always be open to customers needs. Going all out for one person is always worth it. They WILL bring in others.

    Read Whyveear's list twice...

    Sixto is right... The money is in the accessories. Not the guns.

    Holsters are expensive. Even wholesale... Get a selection to fit the most popular models. Special orders are ALWAYS welcome... And only take a few days to get in. "Gotta love Brown"

    Lock boxes and safes are a must... Don't go wild with them, but a small selection to get people looking.

  12. #12
    Ex Member Array Pete's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by INTJ View Post
    A group of businessmen are opening a range and gun store in 2008. I am responsible for ordering the inventory, products, merchandise and such. Based on your current knowledge and experience, pretend all your firearms and related gear needs to be replaced. What are the top items you would immediately buy? Input and responses from current store/range owners are appreciated.
    Is it in Davidson County/Nashville?

    If so then just copy the business model that Guns and Leather in Greenbrier has, they are about 30 miles each way for me but I still go at least once a week to shoot, chat and buy guns.

    Good luck, keep us posted on this endeavor.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pete View Post
    If so then just copy the business model that Guns and Leather in Greenbrier has, they are about 30 miles each way for me but I still go at least once a week to shoot, chat and buy guns.

    Good luck, keep us posted on this endeavor.
    Hard to argue with that advice.

    Most of what I would suggest has already been covered.

    Good luck, and keep us informed!!

  14. #14
    Distinguished Member Array SixBravo's Avatar
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    But yeah, make sure you stock holsters! GOOD ones. I'm sick of walking into gunshops and finding a bunch of crap. I went to J&G to get my Bianchi because nobody else would stock it.

    Oh, and the idea of having free range time to go with a gun is good. A shop locally does that. Unlimited free range time for 30 days. All you do is pay for the ammo and targets.

    And for the love of... Hire friendly people. I can understand the neccesity of having people around who aren't afraid to tell people to 'get out of the store' but some of the guys I've run into locally... Man I don't have much choice but to shop there so I'm in there regularly.. and they still treat me like crap. I find myself going in there less and less and telling everyone on my campus to avoid the shop more and more.
    Last edited by Captain Crunch; July 20th, 2007 at 01:40 AM. Reason: Remove reference to a deleted post
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  15. #15
    Member Array sarlady's Avatar
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    Quality belts to go with those holsters. A good belt goes a long way for a more comfortable, secure carry.

    I would also suggest some ladies holsters and belts. Few stores carry quality ladies gear. It is a part of the market that's often overlooked.

    I know of a local range that has ladies day. It has helped get more people interested in shooting and increased sales.

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