Harry sold the shop


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Mannlicher
October 9, 2006, 06:33 PM
For those familier with North Florida, Harry Beckwith has sold his gun shop. After more than 40 years, "Harry Beckwith, Gun Dealer" will be gone. Harry sold the shop to another local dealer, Picketts, and the change takes place the first of November. The good thing about all this is that the Pickett family is a great bunch of folks as well. I could not be happier about who will own Beckwith's now.
The end of an era though, thats for sure. I first bought a gun from Harry in 1967. Dealing with Harry has been a great pleasure for me, for many years. Harry is a crusty old guy now, pushing 80. He has always been feisty, as the link here shows
http://www.afn.org/~guns/ayoob.html

Mas Ayoob often stops in, along with many other notables. The round table at Harry's has been a great place to fellowship.

Harry buddy, I am gonna miss ya.

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mattf7184
October 9, 2006, 07:33 PM
The gun shop is almost historic to Micanopy and it will be sad to see Harry retiring as a gun seller.

GunnyBob
October 9, 2006, 08:05 PM
It's sad that Harry is hanging it up, but Picketts taking over means lower prices. I'm sort of in between Harry's and Picketts off Newberry and still use the indoor range behind Beckwiths as often as I can get there. Good folks.

Zen21Tao
October 9, 2006, 09:59 PM
I have known for a couple months now that this sale was in the works. Anyone that knows Harry knows this isn't a big surpise. He has been in poor health for a while now. I can certainly understand his decision. Knowing Harry, he'll still be sitting around that table when Picketts takes over. To Harry, his shop was more about the social envirnment than about the $$$ he earned.

I have become a regular at Harry's round table and can say that I am really going to miss it. There is no way that Picketts can run the shop the way Harry did. Pickett runs their Newberry store like a corporate business whereas Harry's was run as a locals gunstore where socializing is always welcome. If Pickett trys to change things they will lose ALOT of Harry's loyal customers (including me).

Picketts taking over means lower prices.

I have to respectfully disagree. Harry did price his new stuff near retail but he often (and I mean very often) place his used firearms way below their market value. I have seen many deals, some of which I have benefited from, at Harry's thanks to this.

Wes Janson
October 9, 2006, 11:36 PM
I would have liked to have visited it before the change :(

Mannlicher
October 13, 2006, 02:24 PM
Zen21, I visit Harry's about every Friday afternoon. Look for me. I am the old guy with the bald head and white beard. Hmmmmmm whoops, that describes about half of Harry's regular customers. :rolleyes:
My name is Sam

Zen21Tao
October 13, 2006, 03:36 PM
I think I may have met you. I am Tom Morris' friend, also named Tom. He calls me his evil twin. Most of the time I stop by is when I see Tom's yellow bug or Krispy Kreme truck there. I haven't been by for a while because my classes (UF MBA student) have kept me real busy this semester. I do want to get out there are do some shooting at the range soon though.

*edited to fix grammar

Third_Rail
October 13, 2006, 03:57 PM
Just read that link. GEEZE! What a guy!

Mannlicher
October 13, 2006, 04:49 PM
I was at Harry's shooting the bull with Krispy Kreme Tom yesterday. I am sure we know each other.

0007
October 16, 2006, 01:09 PM
Wasn't he the guy that defended his shop and himself from a late-night/early morning smash-and-grab attempt a few years back? I seem to recall his defense included a pistol, an AR and a Thompson...

Zen21Tao
October 16, 2006, 09:34 PM
Yes, I remember reading about that (as well as seeing the gun holes in the shop). He responded to a crash and alarm with a 44 mag on his side, a Rermington 1100 which was left outside as fall back gun but not actually used, an AR15 which was used to shoot up the buglars vehicles (and a burglar that sped off at him) and a fully auto Smith and Wesson 76 machinegun which he sprayed over the buglars head until the cops arrived.

10-Ring
October 16, 2006, 10:00 PM
In my neck of the woods, good guns shops are hard...no..impossible to find. When my favorite shop closed a few years ago, I didn't know what to do :what: Thankfully, the main guys re-opened their own shop and the universe is at peace again.
It's tough losing a favorite shop...good luck during your transition ;)

swampgator
October 16, 2006, 10:11 PM
Sam,
I teared up when I read your PM. And you know I don't do that very often.

Harry has at times been like a second daddy to me as he was to a lot of people in the area. Sometimes giving me valuable life, sometimes berating my ignorance. All well deserved and received.

Many days I spent at that shop. In fact I spent part of my 4th birthday in his old shop. Dad was on his way down to Clyde Mathers and stopped in to see Harry.

Sadly I think we have seen the passing of an era. Of course I think we all saw it coming especially after Rob sold the range. I hope Carl and Frank do a good job, sadly I just don't see it being the same.

Mannlicher
October 20, 2006, 06:44 PM
Zen21, its always a hoot to meet folks from THR in person. I am glad we ran into each other today.

See, I am no where near as mean spirited in person, right? RIGHT??? :)

Zen21Tao
October 20, 2006, 06:53 PM
No you are a class act. :D

swampgator
October 20, 2006, 07:26 PM
See, I am no where near as mean spirited in person, right? RIGHT???

You didn't seem too happy when I told you that you had to move your tree stand!

AirForceShooter
October 20, 2006, 07:29 PM
My Son-In-Law is from there. When I told him, he was like "NO"
Damn'd swamp critter

AFS

Gatordad699
October 20, 2006, 09:25 PM
Wow that takes me back. I was born in Gainesville in 1960 and grew up there. My dad took me out there when I was just a little kid for the first time. That was back when the shop was way out of town, 8th Ave going down the hill was still a dirt road. I wish I could visit before the sale. To quote Alan Jackson "another piece of my childhood, it will never be forgotten."

Prichard
January 8, 2007, 10:51 AM
I suppose everyone has a "Harry" story. Mine isn't all that exciting, but I thought I'd share it anyway.

In 1982, I was a freshman at the University of Florida. Of all of the people that I met there, I hadn't met anyone who was interested in firearms and shooting sports like I was. Being from Orlando, I often found it easier to travel back and forth to school using 441 in those days. I always saw the sign to Harry's gun store, and decided to stop by and brouse a little one day.

The first thing that hit me, probably hit everyone that ever walked into that store, was the awsome Luger collection. The second thing that you I couldn't help noticing was the revolver that Harry carried on him with the fancy grips. It's been about 20 years, but I seem to recall that it was an engraved revolver with pearl grips - could be wrong on that. The unfortunate thing is that I was just learning about firearms back then, and I really didn't know enough of what Harry had in his store to commit it to memoray. He also had an assortment of antiques, if I recall. Harry was trying to interest me in one of his cheaper import pistols - I think he was showing me a Llama 45, thinking that it would be a decent entry level semi-auto for a neophyte like myself. Harry didn't have a whole lot of patience with me, probably knew that I was just a tire-kicker back then, but he would tolerate me coming into his shop and just brousing around. But, I'd come in about once a month, and he'd share some stories with me every now and then. Still, couldn't help but think he was a little suspicious of me. Maybe that was just Harry's nature; or maybe that was just me being a little self concious, knowing that I didn't know enough to even ask a good question back then.

I enjoyed going to Harry's gun shop back in the '80's, and wished that I could have gone one last time while Harry was still there. What ever happened to the Lugger collection? Did the new owners keep it with the shop?

Mannlicher
January 8, 2007, 01:34 PM
The Lugar collection was sold earlier. The wonderful set of Parker shotguns was also sold. The Randall Knife collection went to the same lucky (and I guess pretty rich) guy.
Losing Harry was more like losing a family member than just a friend. My wife adored him, as did my children.
The .38 that he was packing most days had Tiffany Silver grips, not pearl or ivory.,
He was truely one of a kind.

swampgator
January 9, 2007, 06:34 PM
Yep, Harry was one of a kind. Still upset that I couldn't make it to the funeral.

Prichard
January 10, 2007, 09:28 AM
The .38 that he was packing most days had Tiffany Silver grips, not pearl or ivory.,

YES! You are absolutely right - I was trying so hard to jog my memory of that pistol, and just couldn't remember what it was about the revolver that was so "flashy" - it was the silver grips!!! When you mentioned that, the vision just flooded back into my head.

SlamFire1
June 10, 2009, 05:07 PM
Picture of Harry, Dec 2005, holding a WWII Japanese NCO sword in his shop.

I have no idea why he was wearing a Harvard sweat shirt, you would figure that being 20 miles south of the University of Florida, he would be wearing a local label.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v479/SlamFire/ReducedHarryBeckworthwithsamuraiswo.jpgic


Thought I would post a close up. I purchased this NCO sword from Harry the day I took the picture. I made him a fair offer, and he took it. I asked him if I could get a picture of him with the sword and he agreed. When I snapped the picture I caught just the start of a big evil grin just as he withdrew the sword from its scabbard. If you remember his voice, he had a deep gravely voice. Just as he withdrew the sword he grunted a “ah ha!”, almost a war cry, that resounded in the shop. You can see the glee in his eyes. He always had edged weapons around the shop, I guess he liked them too.



http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v479/SlamFire/DSCN1238closeupofHarryBeckworthwith.jpg



I bought my first real centerfire rifle from Harry in 1979. It was a M1917 and cost $156.00. Harry gave me a card which he wrote "NRA excellent". I did not know what that was, but years later I do. And it was. At the time he had lots of Lee Enfields in similiar condition for $90.00.

Bought my first 40-X shooting coat from him. I gained so much weight, I gave it away to a new shooter.

Wish I could go back in time and buy the stuff I could not afford then. At one time or another, he had an example of everything on the wall.

swampgator
June 10, 2009, 08:54 PM
I have no idea why he was wearing a Harvard sweat shirt
Because he could! Actually he wore that shirt a lot. However in my mind he's always wearing that plain white t-shirt.

Funny thing in that photo: If you look in the upper left there's a plaque. (Harry was always getting plaques from all sorts of groups he supported) Underneath the plaque is a photo. You can't make it out but its a long range rifle competitor next to his target. In the center of the target is a bullet hole. An actual bullet hole through the photo. It was a souvenior from the last shootout in the store. How odd that a stray round would hit a picture of a target?

Miss you, Harry. And you too Virgil!

joshk-k
June 10, 2009, 09:40 PM
Man, this has been a beautiful thread. I've never been there, never met this man, but am totally touched by every single story told here. And then to get to the bottom and see a picture of the guy! He looks like a million bucks! I can see how it would be a real pleasure to spend time in his store and company, and am really glad that as many of you who have had the opportunity to do so.

Josh

searcher451
June 10, 2009, 10:13 PM
That's a great story and a great read. Thanks for sharing. I'd like to meet ol' Harry sometime.

Big Mike
June 10, 2009, 10:56 PM
I had visited Picketts a couple time when living in Gainesville. I'll say that I had never before seen S&W pistols showcased as if they were museum pieces...

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