Please tell me what you think...business idea


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sdperiod
July 20, 2005, 03:01 PM
Hi Guys/Gals:

I'm a new member. My husband is a Senior Member. I've been in the world of guns for several years but, not as intense as my husband has been. I'm a homemaker, 3 kids, 2 still in school. I've thought of a business idea I'd like to start up and I'm trying to get some feedback from different sources.

What do you think about a Shooters Supply Consignment Shop? Sample list of items would be: holsters, hi-tech ears, carrying cases/range bags, optics, precision shooting items (e.g. apparel, gear, etc.), knives, shooting apparel, range equipment (e.g. bench rests, bipods, etc.), stocks/handgun grips, etc. You get the idea.

My idea is not to sell guns (at least not at first). Just equipment. My thought is that people buy something new, try it for a while, and decide to upgrade, or that they don't like it. And that's where I would come in!

Now, tell me what you think, please.

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Eightball
July 20, 2005, 03:06 PM
If you sell good barely-used quality products for cheaper-than-new prices, I'd say go for it. But, if everything works out, remember to send all your friends at THR some "sample" merchandise :D ! Would Magazines be in your stock, as well?

Stickjockey
July 20, 2005, 03:07 PM
Are you thinking about an e-business or a brick-and-mortar shop? The reason I ask is that what you're describing is a niche market, and as such your customer base will be pretty limited. For that reason, I think it would work better as a web-based thing.

Henry Bowman
July 20, 2005, 03:10 PM
So you are talked used consignments, not new. Right?

Are you talking about a virtual shop or a single brick and mortar location?

Either way, I question whether it would be worth the transactional expense. I know that it works for some other things out there. A lot of shooters are pack rats and hold on to everything forever. I see a lot of gun assessory stuff on eBay and GunBroker.com. Often, by the time you pay shipping, you aren't saving much over new. Also, if you don't also have guns, it may be harder to attract enough traffic of shoppers.

Moonclip
July 20, 2005, 03:10 PM
Would this be an actual storefront or internet? Any business venture is a risk but this one seems a little riskier. There has been a couple of stores in my area that tried to sell just accessories and ammo and w/o the draw of gun sales they ended up folding.

In any case if you do decide to do this I wish you the best of luck and of course keep the members of this board informed on it.

whitebear
July 20, 2005, 03:41 PM
sdperiod is my lovely spouse, so I'll chime in here with a couple of answers.

We are considering some new, majority "lightly used" shooting sports merchandise. This is still in the very early investigation stages, so we haven't made some of the crucial decisions, such as whether or not to get a commercial FFL.

We keep hearing and reading about holster boxes full of items that were close but not quite right, scopes sitting in safes, etc., and sdperiod is a big fan of consignment and resale shops, so she thought we would investigate the idea.

I'll post more later, but any thoughts and ideas are most welcome.

HankB
July 20, 2005, 03:57 PM
I believe running such a business profitably would be a challenge.

1. As already mentioned, you'll be competing with Ebay, Gunbroker, etc., not to mention the "For Sale" section of THR, TFL, arfcom, Glocktalk, etc.

2. You'll be competing with all manner of discount retailers, with both catalog and Internet sales.

3. You'll be competing with gun shows.

4. You'll be competing with classified ads and GreenSheet-type publications.

5. For cheap things like used holsters and range bags, you'll have to charge a hefty percentage consignment fee to cover your own expenses. So . . . what incentive is there for someone with something cheap to sell to go to you?

6. Lots of holsters and accessories are languishing in shooter's "junk" boxes because they were, quite simply, junk in the first place. I'd need some real convincing to patronize a business stocking mostly other shooter's cast-offs. (I go to gun shows, and see plenty of that kind of stuff all the time.) And if there's something that looks decent, my inclination is to buy new unless the used item is SUBSTANTIALLY cheaper than new.

I wish you well, but I strongly suggest you have a solid business plan in place before you start up your proposed business, and figure in all your expenses from advertising through utilities.

Topgun
July 20, 2005, 04:32 PM
eBay is already the venue for that.
:(

Also be sure to check into INSURANCE for ANY firearm related business. Even supplies. The liability on a faulty piece of equipment could wipe you out.

Jim K
July 20, 2005, 05:04 PM
It might work better to expand to a general sports venue. Fishing, football, and other equipment turns over all the time, and there are plenty of sports teams (HS, small college) who would like to buy "previously owned" equipment.

Not to mention the potential market for used golf clubs, some of them only slightly bent from being wrapped around a tree.

Jim

sdperiod
July 20, 2005, 05:38 PM
I truly appreciate everyone's feedback, and hope for more. All of you have made excellent points. My husband mentioned at one point about the all- sports idea. That will be something to consider. This is the very beginning of my research. So I haven't spent any money and will proceed with caution. Keep those thoughts a'comin. The nation-wide experiences from this forum are invaluable! :) Stacy in Tulsa

Monkeyleg
July 20, 2005, 06:03 PM
I don't want to sound like a nay-sayer, since I've asked for similar opinions here on THR, and got them. Some positive, some negative, but all were appreciated.

If you're thinking about all sorts of sporting goods, then remember that you'll be up against Play It Again Sports. Don't know if they sell online, but their brick and mortar stores do very well.

As others have mentioned, the Big Three (Gunbroker, Gunsamerica and Auction Arms) pretty much have a lock on online sales of used guns and gun accessories. I had a classifieds section on my site for awhile, and didn't get anybody posting anything, even though it was free.

Perhaps you should explore some other areas not related to guns, such as motorcycling or astronomy or such, to see if there are any sites along the lines of what you're evisioning. You may be able to gauge the effectiveness of your idea by examining their activity.

Whatever direction you take, good luck with it.

Standing Wolf
July 20, 2005, 06:13 PM
Sounds like a data base problem—and opportunity—to me.

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