So you'd like to run a gunstore...


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Mr. Bruce
June 23, 2006, 06:46 PM
Stevenson Gun Country in Burbank (CA) has been without its FFL for 8 months and counting. :eek: The store can sell ammo, airguns and accessories, but their firearms are in storage.

It's not a big store and it may be being run as a post-retirement endeavor, not as a primary source of income, and it's still open on a daily basis, so they're probably not hurting for cash flow.

BUT if this were Joe Sixgun's primary business, what's his Plan B (and Plan C, since B might go toe-up as well)?

Should he offer airsoft and / or paintball? Reloading supplies and manuals? Become a one-stop shop for all things hunting or High Power rifle?

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RNB65
June 23, 2006, 06:48 PM
How'd they lose their license?

Mr. Bruce
June 23, 2006, 06:53 PM
Mopery. :D

The point is, if you're opening a gun store and your FFL is delayed, what do you do? And what do you do if that doesn't work?

DoubleTapDrew
June 23, 2006, 08:03 PM
They bought their firearm inventory without a FFL? Sounds spendy!

Sir Aardvark
June 23, 2006, 08:06 PM
I would like to know why they don't have a license.

And... why would you open a gunstore if you don't have an FFL?

The way I ran my "Dealer in Firearms" business was to first get all 7 required licenses, permits, letters, and certificates from the State of California and then engage in business.

All that aside, I think it would be real tough to run a gunstore without having any guns to sell; perhaps the owner should sit down and come up with a different business plan if no FFL is in his future.

RNB65
June 23, 2006, 09:16 PM
His Plan B is to admit that he's an incompetent businessman and sell the business or declare bankcruptcy. If you're going to run any type of business that requires a special license (FFL, legal license, medical license, liquor license, etc.), you'd better make damn sure you've got everything in order before you start ordering inventory and open your doors.

In the meantime, he should sell THR teeshirts and a wide variety of moderately priced residential security containers, since they seem to be in great demand around here. :)

Car Knocker
June 23, 2006, 09:23 PM
mopery (MO-puh-ree) noun

1. Violation of a trivial or imaginary law, for example, loitering, used to arrest someone when no other crime can be charged.

bogie
June 24, 2006, 03:04 AM
Lemme guess - did the fellow decide to open an "outdoor sports" store in a locale where he had to screw around with special use permits, zoning, and all that other fun stuff? "But there's a school within 5,000 yards!"

Mr. Bruce
June 24, 2006, 05:47 PM
And a great big fat "thanks for nothing" :fire: to all the thread pirates.

As per the original post--Joe or Jane Sixgun has opened a gun store, but (for whatever reason), the FFL is delayed. What are ways for the store to stay in business, to build a customer base that buys guns elsewhere, but wants to buys guns from JS Guns and will, once the FFL comes through?

Car Knocker
June 24, 2006, 05:55 PM
That is is considerably different than what your original post stated.

GarandOwner
June 24, 2006, 06:04 PM
I say have some kind of promotion for frequent customers to give them a percentage off their first firearms purchase once they do get their FFL. Say for every $100 spent on things like ammo and targets, they get 5-10% off their first firearms purchase, with a cap of 15-20% of course, cant give them away for free :D but Id say that would be best. It will be very hard to get a customer base when you cant sell guns yet. Its like opening a car dealership but with no cars on the lot. Most people arent going to wait for yours to arive, they will go elsewhere: unless your cars are a GREAT deal. Another idea would be if he or a close friend is a gunsmith, try opening a shop through their store, that would be a great way to get a customer base.

TexAg
June 24, 2006, 06:05 PM
Sounds like opening a liquor store before you get your liquor license. Not a good business plan. And yes, if you messed up like that, the obvious answer is to diversify into all things related to that business.

Monkeyleg
June 24, 2006, 06:08 PM
OK, I'll be serious.

The markup on new guns is not very much. I've had shop owners tell me their markup is as little as 5%, and some as much as 25%. I think the 10%-15% range is probably average (shop owners feel free to correct me if I'm wrong).

Used guns offer the most markup, but the store owner in question can't sell those either.

Accessories also have a good markup, although some take longer to turn over than others. Clothing is not good, because you have to keep all different sizes and styles in stock. Holsters are a problem, too, because you need to have a lot of models to suit a variety of guns.

There's a shop here that doesn't sell guns, but has just about everything for reloading you could ask for. He doesn't do a $1 million business, but he does a good business.

If the owner in question is able to buy ammunition in sufficient quantities, he could undercut the other stores' ammo prices.

Even though the owner in question can't sell guns, that doesn't mean that he can't have them on display. A "gun store" without guns is a bit weird. Plus, by having them on display, he could show customers slings, cases, lasers, scopes, etc and how they would fit and function on various models.

Husker1911
June 24, 2006, 07:18 PM
Is an FFL required to sell ammunition?

quazi
June 24, 2006, 07:41 PM
Is a FFL required to sell black powder firearms? That way you could get at least a few guns on the racks.

50 Shooter
June 24, 2006, 07:51 PM
Since the Reloading Center closed in the Valley most people have went online for their stuff. Angeles Range opened a reloading store but for most I'm sure it's out of the way to drive to. I'm sure there's a market for a place selling reloading supplies that's close to L.A./SFV/I.E. area. Burbank is a good loctions for most people to drive to and pick stuff up.

cmb3366
June 24, 2006, 10:38 PM
Get some land and get into the paintball racket. You can mark your goods up 50% (versus 20% for guns), and make a killing off of the mommies and daddies that wont let junior shoot a rifle but have no problem with war games.
We have a store locally that did just this and it has been a huge success, and according to the staff, PB sales are carrying the store.

greg700
June 24, 2006, 10:50 PM
Monkeyleg, when one of the gun stores I used to frequent (in TN) got into trouble and lost their FFL, they not only had to remove all firearms from the premesis, but customers had to leave their personal weapons in their cars. I don't think they managed to stay in business very long afterwards.

Monkeyleg
June 24, 2006, 10:59 PM
Can a retailer sell ammo without an FFL?

I don't know, but I know retailers who do.

Can a retailer have firearms on display, but not for sale, and do so without an FFL?

Don't know, but my cursory reading of federal statutes says, "yes."

All I was trying to do was toss out some suggestions.

Maybe now it's time that the Legal Beagles chime in.

[joshb]
June 24, 2006, 11:13 PM
This is my first post. I got tired of different guys asking the same questions over and over on TFL so I decided to expand my forum list.

Check out this link on TFL. I got some good info from some guys there.

http://www.thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=201481

Ala Dan
June 24, 2006, 11:35 PM
Well, I don't actually run a gun store so too speak; but just working in one
can surely be a headache sometimes. Don't get me wrong, I love what I am
doing. But, customers come in all shapes, sizes, and with varied interest.
Most are very nice, courteous types who will listen too sound advice. But,
those few John Wayne types will try the best sales persons patience.

And, something I have noticed. When a male and female are out to make
a handgun purchase for the female, and she has her mind already made
up that she wants an autoloader; NOTHING and I mean absolutley nothing
can sway them/her (?) too rethink their/her (?) decision. One question I
usually ask is, "Mam, how much handgun experience do you have"; and
followed up by, "Mam, if this semi-auto you are a'bout to purchase were
to jam, would you know how too clear the malfunction"? 98% of the time
the answer is "NO, or of course not". Then, they male counterpart steps
in and says, "she has her mind made up to get that Kel-Tec P3AT".

That is where many mistakes are made. As we all know, for the very
much untrained female most members that frequent here would
recommend a revolver as the first choice of a
defensive handgun for a female; including myself. But, that male
accomplice again steps up and says, " she thinks revolvers are butt
ugly". As an example, put yourself in our shoes for a minute; what do
you do? Give in, and sell her the Kel-Tec; or talk more and try to use
your best instincts and direct her towards a revolver?

Yes, runn'in (or working in) a gun store/sporting goods store has its
advantages, BUT it can also be a pain in the rear end~!:uhoh: :eek:

Firethorn
June 25, 2006, 12:25 AM
But, that male accomplice again steps up and says, " she thinks revolvers are butt ugly". As an example, put yourself in our shoes for a minute; what do you do? Give in, and sell her the Kel-Tec; or talk more and try to use your best instincts and direct her towards a revolver?

Besides the idea of selling her a Kel-Tec,:rolleyes: I'll say that everybody is different, and fitting the individual customer ends up being more important than any general rules of thumb. If she likes the feel/idea of an auto, let her get the auto.

Revolvers are still more reliable, but autoloaders have become far more reliable and good ones can function for quite a long time without proper care.

I'm reminded of my recent fitting for a new bowling ball. All sorts of measurements and custom drilling. A gun that she, or he for that matter, likes the feel and look of is far more likely to be used/kept around than one she doesn't like.

hotpig
June 26, 2006, 12:55 AM
Monkeyleg

The mark up on new guns in a brick and mortar shop can run in the 15-20%. I have a online shop so there can not be much of a mark up to be competitive. On new guns I make about 5.00 and as high as 20.00 or so if it is a cash deal instead of credit card(I do not charge a cc fee).

Used guns are the money makers for most of us dealers. You still have to be careful on what is purchased for stock. I got a bunch of used G17 a while back. Shortly afterwards the market flooded with used trade in LE Glocks. After sitting on them for almost a year I ended up dumping them on gunbroker for 40.00 less than I paid for them(plus the auction fees and cc fees).I used the money to buy Ranger and Federal Tactical ammo. I know they will sale and give me a return on my investment.

Husker1911

A FFL is not needed to sell ammo. Having a FFL will not get you cheap ammo either. Most of the Whole sellers charge dealers more for ammo than Wal Mart prices. The last time that I looked at 9mm UMC fmj ammo it was discounted to FFL's 7.95 per 50 rounds plus shipping.I do not stock target ammo because there is no way that I can compete with Wal Mart or other on line dealers.

I do this because I love doing it. If I make some money that great. I can not imagine what it would be like trying to make a living doing this. My hats off for any brick and mortar shop that makes enough money that the owners can live a decent life style.

ChickenHawk
June 26, 2006, 10:08 AM
That is where many mistakes are made. As we all know, for the very
much untrained female most members that frequent here would
recommend a revolver as the first choice of a
defensive handgun for a female; including myself. Howdy Dan,

It's a rare day that I would take issue with you on anything gun related! But, I find it interesting that your argument singles out women in particular. I agree on your point about revolvers for beginners, but wonder why you don't apply the same logic to men.

Are you saying you sell the novice man a semi-auto without reservation but you recommend revolvers to women? I don't really understand that. Clearing a misbehaving P3AT has little to do with hand strength or gender, right?

Honestly, I'm not campaigning for the ERA or any such thing, I just found your argument interesting and wonder if you really meant it that way or if I'm reading too much into what you said.

Regards,
ChickenHawk

AJ Dual
June 26, 2006, 11:46 AM
I would go with the accessory route too. Reloading, black powder, flashlights, knifes, holsters, cleaning gear, lockboxes, gunsafes, airguns/airsoft, reactive targets, optics, tools, etc. (i.e. have enough Airsoft, airguns, and BP firearms to give the "look" of a gunshop to the casual observer…)

Although, if there's a Cabelas, Gander Mountain, or a Sportsman's Warehouse within 20 miles of you, it'd still be a very tough row to hoe, IMO...

My thought would be that once a customer does "X" amount of business, they get a membership card with your store, and that card entitles you to "buyers club" discounts on your stock, and firearms pricing/locating services. Maybe even a small "Internet café" with a couple of PC's dedicated to browsing gunbroker, gunsamerica, Century International Arms, AIM, SOG, SARCO, Inter-Ord etc. Current issues of Gun List and Shotgun News would be availible, instead of being treated as a dirty secret.

The second phase of my idle imaginings of the "gunless gun-store" are that I would try to set up as a "satellite sales office" perhaps with a network of kitchen table FFL's or online dealers and see if I could work out a comission structure. You put buyers, wholesalers, and FFL's together for a comission for each successful sale you send their way. Sort of like a brick-n-mortar version of Dick's gunshopfinder service, except that it also helps it's users find competitive pricing on the actual firearm.

Ultimately the idea would be to somehow find a way to embrace the whole Internet/Shotgun News/Gun List/Wholesale/Wal-Mart phenomena, and profit from it, instead of trying to compete with it. Sort of like an "eBay store" but for the shooting community, but in reverse. Instead of helping you sell (you could do that too) you're geared twoard helping the consumer buy...

Easier said than done, I admit.

I had the idea when I saw that Shooter's Shop near my home in Suburbam Milwaukee, had reduced their floorspace, and is leasing the other half of the store to one of those "We sell 4 U on eBay" consignment stores, that's also a FedEx drop.

Now this dosen't directly address Mr. Bruce's question on what to do while waiting for the FFL to arrive. If my business model succeeded, you've just spent several months sending business away from your own FFL, which probably isn't smart, but it's my best thought on the subject.

I do think that a store that somehow tried to run part of it's business like the Internet/Kitchen Table FFL, could stand to pick up some business it would otherwise miss. The trick would be to keep your high-margin brick-n-mortar walk in customers separate, so you're not missing out on the business from the less savvy buyers who don't care if they pay top dollar.

XDKingslayer
June 26, 2006, 12:37 PM
What are ways for the store to stay in business, to build a customer base that buys guns elsewhere, but wants to buys guns from JS Guns and will, once the FFL comes through?

Venture into fishing tackle? Start an online ammo store? There are plenty of ways to keep in business.

One of the local baitshops is considering selling ammo and hunting accessories to boost his income, but staying well away from anything requiring an FFL simply because he doesn't want the headache. It will work as he will be cheaper and have a better selection than Wal-Mart.

Double Maduro
June 26, 2006, 12:47 PM
Mr. Bruce,

I think your friends need to go to work for someone else.

They obviously have no idea about how to run a business, much less a gun store.

Maybe they could open a Starbucks in the section where the guns are supposed to be.

DM

Double Maduro
June 26, 2006, 01:17 PM
Ala Dan said;

That is where many mistakes are made. As we all know, for the very
much untrained female most members that frequent here would
recommend a revolver as the first choice of a
defensive handgun for a female; including myself. But, that male
accomplice again steps up and says, " she thinks revolvers are butt
ugly". As an example, put yourself in our shoes for a minute; what do
you do? Give in, and sell her the Kel-Tec; or talk more and try to use
your best instincts and direct her towards a revolver?


A friend of mine, female small of stature, and I went to a highly recomended gun shop in the area. We walked up to the counter and the clerk, I won't call him a salesman-salesmen usually listen to their customers, anyway the clerk looks at us and asks me how he can help.

I tell him that my friend is going to buy her first handgun. He looks at me and asks "what kind of revolver does she want?". I said "why don't you ask her?"

He looks at her and says "what you need is a revolver".

Her, "no, I want to look at semi-auto's in .45acp, specifically Ed Brown Cobra Carry".

Him, "you don't want a semi for your first gun, you're a woman and probably don't have the hand strength to cycle the slide. Besides, revolvers are easier to shoot and much easier to clean."

Her, "I want to look at semi-auto .45's."

Him, "well, if you're sure you want a semi-auto, we have some .32's and .380"s that I'm sure will suit you just fine."

Her, "no I want to look at .45's."

Him, "you should take a look at these 9mm's"

her, "see ya."

Two weeks later she bought a loaded Springfield Target, from another dealer, and is going to her first match next weekend.

Before we met the idiot at the gun shop, she had fired probably 30 different handguns in probably 8 different calibers, most of them several times. When she would return from the range, I would ask her what she shot and she would show me the targets. I could always tell which was the .45, the holes were much closer together.

Then there were the people who said she should get a revolver. "women like revolvers better, they are easier to operate and less complicated", being some of the comments. These people are like the folks who think everyone should learn to drive a stickshift before going on to an automatic transmission.

Well she could cycle the slide on every auto she tried, the hardest was on a Para Ordnance .45. But she didn't have the hand strength to use a DA revolver, my grand daughter is the same way as are several other people I know.

She kept trying other calibers, and platforms and when I asked why, she said that people were telling her that she should get a 9mm because the .45 would be too much gun for her. I asked her which caliber she shot the best, she said .45. I asked her what platform she shot it the best from, she said 1911. I asked what gun she should get, she said, everyone tells me I should get a 9mm.

I asked her what gun SHE thought she should buy and she said, "1911 in .45".


Dang this is getting long, so I'll stop now, with this.

There is no right handgun for everyone, telling someone new to the sport what they should have is the easiest way too turn them off. Before you make a recomendation as to what handgun a person should buy, you should at least ask them what experience they have, just because it's their first handgun doesn't mean they haven't shot a lot of handguns.

Some people prefer revo's, some semi's, I personally like them all, but prefer semi's for sd and SA's for fun.

To each his own.

DM

Punkermonkey
June 26, 2006, 01:33 PM
How about training?

Hunter Safety
Basic Pistol
Basic Rifle
CCW

Mr. Bruce
June 26, 2006, 04:26 PM
To wit:

Now this dosen't directly address Mr. Bruce's question on what to do while waiting for the FFL to arrive. If my business model succeeded, you've just spent several months sending business away from your own FFL, which probably isn't smart, but it's my best thought on the subject.

I think it's a good thought. The store w/o the FFL has to work harder to add value to the experience of the customer who comes into the store (and if you think about the "lousy gun store service" threads on this board, you realize it's not as hard as it seems).

If JS Guns ("the store w/o a license!") establishes a network of other stores it will refer its own customers to (that's your "sending away" model) and follows up with that customer within a week ("hey, how'd it go? did they help you get that gun you were looking for? y'know, we've got the ammo you were asking about..."), I think they're building an awareness in the customer that JS Guns is a good place to go back to.

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