THR members: your favorite gun shops, again...


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Monkeyleg
March 31, 2005, 12:13 AM
As much as I always promise to be brief, it just never turns out that way. Please skim as fast as you can, and give advice when you can.

Without going into too much boring detail, I started calling shops on my site several weeks ago to re-up their free trial subscriptions. Honestly, I was more than surprised at the number of store owners who paid to renew without hesitation. I was hoping for a 10% renewal rate. It's much higher than that. More like 40% or higher, depending upon how the "call me back next week" calls go.

But there are store owners who don't see any benefit, and they've briefly laid out their reasons: they don't think that they're going to get any new business from gun owners on the internet (wrong); their little nephew Timmy has created a website for their stores (try to find it); or they just don't want to spend any money on advertising.

After over nine months of finessing the site for the search engines, I'm right where I've always known--by prior experience--I would be: on the first page. Search for Texas gun shops, Nebraska gun shops, Kimber pistols, Sako rifles...my site is first-page for just about any search term I've worked on.

Anywho, I've also had a few shop owners cancel on me. Not a big deal, but I don't want to leave holes. My goal for the next year is an average of 20 shops per state.

So, I'm looking to replace those cancelled shops with ones that are equivalent in service, inventory, etc--or better.

Thanks to the input of THR members over the last few months, I've been able to get really great shops on my site. Thank you for indulging my questions.

If any of you have recommendations for shops in the following states, I'd much appreciate it:

Nebraska (Omaha would be good, as would North Platte, or other western parts of the state).

Oregon, especially the areas around Portland and Salem.

Indiana, especially the Indy area. I dropped Don's from my site after he offended gun owners nationwide by endorsing a renewal of the AW ban. He can rot in, well, you get the idea.

Iowa, especially Bettendorf/Davenport area. Surprisingly, there've been few recommendations for the Des Moine area.

Kansas. Surely there are more than two good shops in that state.

Minnesota. I have a half dozen or so shops, but I'm not sure that they're all top-shelf. And I need more.

Mississippi. Need more.

Montana. Low-populace state, but there must be more stores with good inventory and service.

New Hampshire. For cryin' out loud, there's more gun shops in Idaho, from what I can tell!

Ohio. The state with the sixth-largest number of gun owners. What I have now doesn't reflect that proud tradition.

Oklahoma. Four stores that see the value in wide internet exposure. The owner of the Firing Pin, thank God, realized that he needed my service when I couldn't even find his store's site by name in the top 800 search results.

Pennsylvania. One of the top gunowner states. I need to get back to that state and make more calls.

South Dakota. I'm going to lose probably two shops there. No reason, just the owners don't think they need to advertise, or think that $10 a month ($8.33 per month annually) is more advertising than they need.

Tennessee. I've picked up a couple of extremely good shops, and have another to add this week, but may lose Top Brass outside of Memphis.

Texas. I have a fair number of shops on the site, but I have more in California, and that just isn't right.

Virginia. I don't know that I'll lose any, but the state deserves better representation than what I have now.

What I've learned over the past year is that the shops who understand the service/selection/promotion combination of factors don't argue with me. And, frankly, I've run out of patience with those who don't understand.

As my friend here in Milwaukee so bluntly puts it: "Dick, you should send an email to every store owner on your site, with a drawing of a dead, decaying dinosaur. Then ask, 'Is this you?'"

I'm looking for top-quality shops whose owners "get it."

Any suggestions are much appreciated.

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Control Group
March 31, 2005, 10:05 AM
Monkeyleg, wish I could help, but you've got my area covered pretty well, for obvious reasons. ;)

Anyway, I don't know if testimonials would help, but if you want, I'd be more than happy to tell anyone that I found both the Shooter's Shop and Fletcher Arms via your web site, and both have gotten business from me as a direct result, and will continue to do so.

Gunshopfinder.com is a great resource, and I hope it continues to grow for you.

Werewolf
March 31, 2005, 12:03 PM
Oklahoma City:

I use a kitchen table FFL for most of my purchases or just order from Midway USA or Brownells.

If I've just gotta have something right now then I go to Outdoor America Store (http://www.outdooramericastore.com) ph 405-789-0051 . They've got a huge selection and maybe the best prices in OK (I've talked to customers from all over the state in there).

EghtySx
March 31, 2005, 12:24 PM
Texas. I have a fair number of shops on the site, but I have more in California, and that just isn't right.


Oh my. Gotta see if I can help ya there.

And, FWIW, I think your site is great. Nice set-up. Looks great. Easy to use.

JackShandy
March 31, 2005, 12:50 PM
Two more for North Carolina...

Handgunners (http://www.handgunners.com/) (Burlington, NC)

4325 South NC 49
Burlington, NC 27215
Phone: (336) 570-1015

A bit on the small side, but they have a nice little indoor range.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Mace Sports (macesports.com) (Mebane, NC)
Used to be 'The Gun Room'.

6921 Industrial Dr.
Mebane, NC 27302
919-563-4070

Not much to the website, but the store is GREAT!

txgho1911
March 31, 2005, 01:31 PM
If it's not there.
Bluffton Gun Shop
Barney WWWWW
260-824-5xxx
NW Indiana

Found an ugly black rifle there just yesterday I just had to have. I got delayed. His prices might go up if you add him to a National DB with AWB in some markets.
They had 3 or 4 bushys next to the HBAR I wanted. I plugged THR with the owner so he may visit here sometime.

Few more mentions in this thread.
http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=132394

grampster
March 31, 2005, 03:06 PM
The back of a nondescript van down by the river. heh heh. :D

sturmruger
March 31, 2005, 04:48 PM
Here are two that might be helpful to add up here in NW WI.


H&H guns
Prescott, WI
715-262-5024


St Croix Outpost
Hudson, WI
715-386-9868

Monkeyleg
March 31, 2005, 06:40 PM
Grampster, I'm having a hard time picturing you in baggy pants and baseball cap worn sideways buying a Lorcin. ;)

jsalcedo
March 31, 2005, 07:48 PM
In San Antonio

Powderhorn Clean friendly and knowledgable

Don's guns great gunsmith ok prices small shop

saddlebum
March 31, 2005, 08:06 PM
mustang pawn& gun, mustang okla. 405 376 3833

White Horseradish
March 31, 2005, 08:11 PM
I know of three shops nearby that you don't have listed

Frontiersman Sports
6925 W Hwy 12 I-394
Minneapolis, MN
(952) 544-3775

Bill's Gun Shop and Range
www.billsgs.com

Armored Fire Gun Shop & Range
3621 88th Ave NE
Circle Pines,
(763) 792-4867

However, Armored Fire's service ain't the greatest.

There is also FAC, but I will not ever recommend that place to anyone. They have atrocious service, rude staff and a sign by the front door that says "No personal firearms allowed".

JoeHatley
March 31, 2005, 09:22 PM
Nebraska (Omaha would be good, as would North Platte, or other western parts of the state).

The Bullethole in Omaha www.thebh.com

Joe

41mag
March 31, 2005, 09:24 PM
I'm still suprised that On Target(K-zoo),Bobs(Hastings),& Silver Bullet(Wyoming) have'nt hopped on your wagon.

Otisimo
March 31, 2005, 09:38 PM
Miami Area
Lou's Police Supply
Hialeah

Great service, great people, great prices.

I always feel like I'm walking into a friends house even though I'm not a huge regular.

Zackmeister
March 31, 2005, 11:08 PM
Central Texas.

McBride's Guns. I think they may be the biggest in Texas. Great selection and service isn't bad.

http://www.mcbridesguns.com/

2915 San Gabriel
(30th at North Lamar)
Austin, TX 78705

PATH
April 1, 2005, 01:23 AM
Orange County New York

Master Class Shooters Supply, Inc.
Indoor Range*Store
890 Route 17M
Monroe, NY 10950
845-774-GUNS
(4867)

Dennis Serpi- Proprietor

Great place. Knowledgeable staff and they are very friendly and helpful.
Well worth a trip.

vmi93
April 1, 2005, 07:07 AM
Here are a few from the Roanoke, VA area.

Bryansteen's Guns
Peters Creek Road
Roanoke

Roanoke Firearms
Cove Road
Roanoke

Trader Jerry's II
Salem

Good luck.

jamz
April 1, 2005, 10:44 AM
You've got my favorite on there, Four Season's guns, but these guys are not:

http://www.collectorsguns.com/CCG_Links.html

not sure if you've contacted them or not. I might be going in there today, I'll give you a plug if I can.


-James

trbon8r
April 1, 2005, 10:56 AM
None of them here in CA.

Best would have been B&B Sales in North Hollywood circa late '80s before all the gun ban nonsense.

Ben

Chut1st
April 1, 2005, 12:47 PM
I notice Guns and Ammo in Memphis, TN listed. I can second that motion. They have a great selection and pretty friendly help.

In Henderson, TN, Robertson's has been in business as long as I can remember, Good selection of used guns.

Robertson's Jewelry & Firearms
117 Front St,
Henderson, TN 38340
(731) 989-7641

Saving the best for last. Mike's Class III in Jackson, TN. As you would guess, a class 3 dealer, nice folks to deal with and a big supporter of Friends of NRA:

Mike's Class III
15 D Street
Jackson, TN 38301
(731) 422-3830

spacemanspiff
April 1, 2005, 01:27 PM
actually monkeyleg, i can see gramps doing that. he'd look kinda like the guy that runs a mattress ranch (http://www.mattressranch.com/Alaska/MattressMan.htm) up here.

one of his commercial spots had him wearing a sideways cap, flashing homemade gang signs, and doing other insane hip-hop moves. it was really disturbing.

txgho1911
April 1, 2005, 06:24 PM
Tomlinson's Shooting Supplies
Churubusco, IN
260-693-2830

Plainfield Shooting Supplies
Plainfield, IN
317-839-6095

Gowe's Gun Shop
Columbus, IN
812-342-6079

Popguns Firearms Trading Post (Family Indoor Shooting Range)
Indianapolis, IN
317-897-8660

Wanamaker Guns
Indianapolis, IN
317-862-4867

H&H Firearms Inc. (indoor range)
Fort Wayne
260-483-9135

500 Guns
Indianapolis, IN
317-631-6500

Bradis Inc.
Camby, IN
317-856-8880

Thats it. Thats all I got and I know there is one on the HWY in Warsaw In with a big stock of longarms.

Monkeyleg
April 1, 2005, 06:45 PM
Thanks for the replies, everyone. Please keep them coming.

A couple of the shops mentioned are ones that I contacted a long time ago, and either got a "no" for an answer or "call me back."

Chut1st, the manager at Guns and Ammo really liked the idea, and presented it to the owners. When I called back, he was a bit apologetic, and explained that the owners don't like computers, or anything invented after 1955. His words, not mine.

It's been a weird week for calling. I've had two shops I thought would never, ever pay to renew (a little one-man place in AZ, and another in NE) pay for a full year.

Then I had the owner of what I suspect is one of the larger TX shops tell me that he allocates all of his advertising dollars in December, and doesn't budget another dime after that, but he'd keep an eye on response from the site. In essence, he expects me to keep him on the site for free (he's already been on there for free for something like eight months) until December, at which time he'll decide if $10 a month will break his bank account.

Ah, well. It was my idea to start this site, and I knew I'd encounter some jerks along the way.

txgho1911
April 1, 2005, 07:10 PM
Maybe a few selling points would be apropriate to sell the site.

When I travel on buissnes I may keep my eye out for what other shops have in stock. I may not ever know of some shops as they may be difficult to find through some traditional search methods. I just got a Colt HBAR from a shop more than 2 hours from my house. I visited 4 different shops in 3 days over 2,000 miles of driving in one week.

Zeke Menuar
April 1, 2005, 07:21 PM
There is a shop in the"People's Republick of Eugene" Oregon called "The Baron's Den" Part gunstore, indoor range, and Museum. The owner rents Thompson's grandfathered-in before 1968. He has lots of rifle, pistols and other stuff all over the walls that aren't for sale. Display cases with Lugers, Walthers, BHP's. All kinds of neat stuff. Nice place, nice people. You can go there, sit in a comfy chair, drink pop and read gunrags if you choose to.

The shops in Salem do business on the auction sites but they don't care about having their own site.

I took my Enfield Sporter to "Rich's Gun Shop" in Donald OR. Nice guy. Very nice shop. His lathe, mill and gunsmithing operation are in full view of the retail part of the shop. Not much there for me to buy(I'm a C&R guy, he isn't), but a nice shop nonetheless. Lots of Kimberugerfields and the like. He did a cut and crown on the lathe for me and got the gun back in five days. This guy uses Auction Arms but doesn't have a site that I know of. I found the shop by accident while trying to get out of phone range of my wife.

Don't set foot in the liberal utopia of Portland unless I absolutely have to.


ZM

Zeke Menuar
April 1, 2005, 07:22 PM
OOPS. Double post. Have to quit guzzing coffee while surfing.

ZM

Fly320s
April 1, 2005, 08:19 PM
Monkeyleg,

You're charging only $10 per month and people won't pay it? :what:

Do you have these stores in east TN?

Frontier Firearms

Benton Shooter's Supply - Benton, TN

Legacy Sports - Athens, TN

ReadyontheRight
April 1, 2005, 10:24 PM
Twin Cities Minnesota:

-You already have the Gun Stop. Best in town.
-Frontiersman in St. Louis Park. More urban and a little more spendy, but also more organized and they have just about anything you'd want and a great staff.
-Joe's Sporting Goods in St. Paul. Great staff that leans more toward hunting.
-Koscielski's Guns and Ammo - You already have. No better commercial defender of RKBA in Minnesota.

Northern Minnesota:
-Alamo Gun and Pawn in Cloquet. Pretty good prices but not a huge inventory.
-Superior Shooters Supply in Superior, Wisconsin. Rivals Gun Stop. http://www.superiorshooterssupply.com/

GaryP
April 1, 2005, 11:12 PM
R.A.L. Sporting Supply
601 E Northern Lights Blvd STE D
Anchorage, Alaska 99503
907-276-8105.

I am living in North Carolina these days but have yet to find another Gun Shop that even comes close to R.A.L. Sporting Supply. :)


:evil:

Monkeyleg
April 2, 2005, 12:12 AM
"Monkeyleg, You're charging only $10 per month and people won't pay it?"

Welcome to the wonderful world of retail gun sales. Some shop owners "get it," as I've said before, and some just don't.

For example, the TX shop I mentioned before as probably being one of the larger stores in the state has had 55 visitors view his page since 12:01 am this morning. If this pattern holds, that means he'll get exposure to roughly 1500 visitors this month. His cost, if he only went with the $10 a month (versus $100 per year fee) per visitor would be six-tenths of one cent per visitor.

Contrast that with the cost of a Yellow Pages ad. Here in Wisconsin, a business-card size Yellow Pages ad costs anywhere from $300 to $600 a month. The Yellow Pages folks can't tell him how many people looked at his ad. I can. And the people viewing his page on my site aren't looking for flowers or apples or zebras: they're looking for guns and gun shops. Unlike the Yellow Pages, gun sites like mine are very focused on one particular type of customer.

I've had many more than one shop owner tell me that my offer is a "no-brainer." A million or more visitors this year, all looking for guns and gun shops, and the shops get that exposure for $10 a month--or less ($8.33 if they go for the full year payment).

And here's where it gets even better: I write their pages for them! I give them a username and password so they can go in and make whatever changes they like, whenever they like, but I spend about 1/2 hour writing their pages! Yeah, many of the pages sound like they're written by the same person. But, that's because the owners don't want to take the time--or hire a person who can write--to do their pages.

On top of that, I get emails every day from people looking for a gun they just can't find anywhere, or gunsmithing services they can't find in their area.

Tonight I got an email from a person looking for an Olympic Arms K3B-FAR. I queried my database of shops to find those who list Olympic Arms as one of the brands they carry. I then looked at the shops to see who brags about the number of guns they stock. I found one, got their price, emailed the visitor with that info as well as the URL for the shop's page on my site, and asked only that he mention that he saw them on Gunshopfinder.com.

Seems like a lot of service for $10 a month.

As for Baron's in OR, Gayle (probably the wife in the operation) told me, "we don't need your service." (I keep detailed notes about conversations).

Maybe, maybe not. As God is my witness, I'm going to keep pushing this site until those shop owners who "get it" realize that they have to be on my site, or lose out to the box stores. I find it hard to believe that gun store owners can dismiss offhand a million or possibly even close to two million potential new customers from an advertising outlet that costs them $10 a month.

Younger THR members like Control Group have already said that they disregard shops who don't take the internet seriously.

And I already have a list of shops who've received new customers from the site.

As my rich gunshop-owning friend Kevin keeps telling me, any shop owner who doesn't see the value of this service for $10 a month is a decaying, dying dinosaur.

And, believe me, he doesn't want any other stores in the area on my site. He wants them to go under. If enough shop owners don't "get it," he'll get his wish.

But it's the gun buyers who will lose out.

Anyway, sorry for the long harangue, but I need to vent after a long day on the phones.

Please keep your recommendations coming.

Stevie-Ray
April 2, 2005, 12:32 AM
Welp, I don't know if you've dealt with these folks, but, my 2 favorite places are:

http://www.topgunshootingsports.com/

http://www.firinglineguns.com/


Top notch, both.

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