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I want to support my local shop but......

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by Mooseman, Jun 27, 2009.

  1. Mooseman

    Mooseman Active Member

    Aug 15, 2005
    Just outside of Philadelphia
    I like to mix things up by buying things from the internet, gun shows, and my local gun shop. I've had times where I could have gotten something a bit cheaper online but I paid a bit extra to help support my local business.

    I find I'm faced with a dilemma. All the local shops, including my favorite, an old time basement shop, have priced themselves out of my market. For example I can order a Saiga 12 for around $500-550 online. My local shop has it for $759! This seems to be across the board for guns, ammo, and accessories.

    I know that prices in general have risen dramatically but the hike at the local level seems particularly bad. I left my shop empty handed and I'm not sure when of if I'll return. I'd hate to see these places go the way of the dinosaur but I don't see how they'll continue operating if they drive out all there regulars.

    I guess this post is more of a rant/vent but I feel the hobby as a whole has taken a serious downturn and I fear it might be permanent.
  2. oneounceload

    oneounceload member

    Apr 24, 2008
    Hot and Humid FL
    Maybe try printing off a copy of those prices, especially if from more than one supplier, and see if he'll match, or get close (when you factor shipping/transfer). If not, let him know you'll be buying this one online. Next time, do the same thing......if he doesn't know how to compete, or can't, then that becomes his problem, not yours
  3. PhilA

    PhilA New Member

    Jan 25, 2008
    Always ask if he can compromise

    I've always found my local guy to be pretty accommodating when I ask him like this:

    "I'd really rather buy this gun from you. I know its hard competing with Internet pricing, but I found the exact same model online for $200 less than you're asking. Now, I want you to make money on the deal, but are you able to get any closer to that price?"

    In all cases, he's come down. Not to the internet price--and I wouldn't want him to. Otherwise he's probably not going to be open long--but I get a better price than I would have.
  4. mljdeckard

    mljdeckard Elder

    Jun 5, 2006
    In a part of Utah that resembles Tattooine.
    I'm a capitalist. I believe that supply and demand should dictate fair price. Maybe he needs to be shown that A: there are better options than his; and B: well-informed consumers like yourself are willing to shop elsewhere if he can't be competitive.

    DRYHUMOR Participating Member

    Jul 6, 2008
    I've found there is better selection online. Not just current models, but older as well. I see a few from time to time I have a bit of interest in at local shops, but I haven't bought a new gun in one in maybe 3 or 4 years.
  6. numaone

    numaone New Member

    May 25, 2009
    North Carolina
    He is making pure profit on the transfer from online. That's support enough for me if he can't match the price out the door for the online gun. Also, he is probably competing against sale's tax. You can save alot on an expensive gun purchasing online with just this.
  7. atomd

    atomd Participating Member

    Jul 7, 2006
    There's a place near me where they were selling an M&P 9mm for $699.99. I asked the owner if that was the lowest he would go on it and he said "If you can't afford it, we accept credit cards". :uhoh: I'm serious. I didn't even know what to say. It would be nice to have a good shop nearby. Too bad.

    Oh, and their transfer fee is $60. Really.
  8. Phydeaux642

    Phydeaux642 Participating Member

    Jul 16, 2007
    The local shop I frequent has decent prices on new equipment. Generally, they are the lowest price around. Problem is, I look for good deals on used wheelguns. Haven't found one in a loooong time. The prices on their used equipment has risen dramatically.
  9. t165

    t165 Member

    Mar 11, 2009
    I tend to be like PhilA. I like the owner of my local gun shop. He's a retired firefighter and nice guy. I stop there 3-4 times a week and hang out. Many of us local gun nuts do. He goes out of his way to help you in everyway he can. I make a habit of traveling to Gander Mountain or other large retail outlets to actually handle some of the firearms/scopes that I am interested in to see if I like them hands on. If it is not a limited /hard to get item I will usually go back home and give him a shot at getting close in price. Perhaps this is a bit unfair to the larger stores but they get plenty of my money also. A difference of $20.00 to $40.00 bucks is not that big a deal to me. I am a local businessman and I try to shop local if I can. Plus, he keeps a gunsmith on hand which really helps me with my older firearms. At least he smiles at me when he takes my money...perhaps a bit too much! :) And even when I do not buy anything I have noticed he thanks me for stopping in to see and talk to him.
  10. Sunray

    Sunray Elder

    May 17, 2003
    London, Ont.
    "...local shops..." Anything they have in stock must be paid for, either COD or with credit terms from a distributor. Plus they don't get a volume sales discount. They can't afford to buy, in bulk, for anything.
    In any case, on-line dealers rarely have anything in stock or in a warehouse. They order whatever, when they get an order and the item is shipped directly from a distributor. Very few manufacturers sell directly to a retailer. On-line or otherwise. And on-line prices do not include shipping or any transfer fees involved.
    Buying ammo or components on-line is nuts. Shipping and hazmat fees will negate any cost savings.
    Assorted government interference makes a difference too.
  11. Bookworm

    Bookworm New Member

    Jun 7, 2008
    Allentown PA
    The gunshop can also buy online from that same source. As long as they weren't too greedy, they could make money.

    It makes sense to buy online. You wouldn't have to pay shipping, or sales tax, and find a low transfer fee for a FFL. Much better to do that than say, pay Cabela's an additional $100-$150 plus tax for a handgun than for what you could purchase online.

    If they can't compete, that's because they were deliberately pricing themselves out of competition.
  12. 1-UP

    1-UP New Member

    Feb 7, 2009
    I don't mind chipping in a couple of extra bucks for the local guys, but it's not my goal to put his kids through college either. Good service and a smile counts for something, but how many hours of work are you willing to put in for a "nice guy"?

    So far I've purchased all my guns locally. but they really could have gone either way. If there were a better FFL transfer facilitator around I probably would have gone online. Most accessories I do just order off the net.
  13. eight433

    eight433 Member

    May 26, 2009
    Birch Run, MI
    I try to buy local whenever I can. Unfortunately, I have not found anybody particularly interested in helping me find anything but brand new gear for top dollar prices, or else 50 dollars per gun transfer fee. tell me WHY would i spend 50 PER GUN when i could spend 30 on a C&R license and buy as many as i want for the next 3 years? Soon as they figure out that they are NOT the only game in town anymore, I would love to do business with them.
  14. dullh

    dullh New Member

    May 23, 2009
    I-26 Exit 44
    Go where the bargains are. I'm not married to any local shop so if I find it cheaper online it gets bought online. Do I feel guilty paying them $20 to transfer me something I had shipped to them off the internet when they have the exact same thing on their shelf for way more money? Hell no.

    As far as accessories go the internet ALWAYS has a better selection than can be found locally.
  15. SCKimberFan

    SCKimberFan Participating Member

    Mar 23, 2008
    South of the Mason-Dixon Line
    You know this how? Are you forgetting phone lines, electricity, etc.

    Why should he? Online dealers many times don't have the same costs associated with a retail store.

    No argument here.

    Just remember, if he has a range attached to the shop and he closes down, so does the range. You can buy just about anything online, but there is such a thing as service, which you probably won't get a lot of online.
  16. chuckusaret

    chuckusaret member

    Dec 6, 2008
    West Palm Beach Florida
    Tried the above and the comeback by the shop owner was, "If you can't afford to buy from me, you can't afford guns as a hobby" This guy charged $10 transfers for years and has just raised it to $40 to $50, depending on how he feels. I believe we will see most of our local shops fail because of their poor business practices and outrageous prices.

    I can beat all local gun shop prices, including shipping and the FFL, on-line every day of the week.
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2009
  17. Mike J

    Mike J Senior Member

    Jul 3, 2007
    I don't buy anything from the shop closest to me I can find anywhere else. The last time I was in there he wanted over 400 dollars for a Kel Tec P-11. I went in once & looked around-when I turned to leave one of the countermen asked me if I was interested in anything. I told him from what I could tell that day he was 50 dollars higher than the other local shops in the area (about 10 miles away) on everything. The mans reply was that if I talked to the owner he would probably come down 50 on anything. Why should I have to haggle just to get the going rate? If I'm going to hassle with haggling I want it to be for a deal not just to get treated decent. This is why I try to avoid that shop.
  18. HexHead

    HexHead Senior Member

    Dec 15, 2008
    Because the next 10 customers he sells to may not haggle. That's an extra $500 the shop makes that week which could be the difference on whether he stays in business or not.

    Besides, it's not like they're selling much ammo these days to help subsidize the gun prices.
  19. earlthegoat2

    earlthegoat2 Senior Member

    Aug 28, 2008
    SE GA
    No matter how much or how little you support your local business if they cant compete they will fail. But there is a caveat. There is a market for a local business of some kind for some reason even if their sole job is to do FFL transfers from all the online buyers. The market will work itself out. If all the local businesses go down the hole then there will be no one to do FFL transfers. Then there will be a spot in the market again for a local business. See how that works. Fun isnt it.

    Its going to be the same thing for GM and Chrysler. Its bad now but the market will fill the void. I am a victim of the market right now. I have had my degree and looking for a full time job for over 3 years now. Im just limping by from low paying job to low paying job until the market improves and I get one.
  20. Derek Zeanah

    Derek Zeanah System Administrator Staff Member

    Dec 20, 2002
    Statesboro, GA
    The more I deal with local businesses, the more I feel for those in retail. Retail is hard, especially in the era of the Internet. I know with camera shops it's not at all uncommon to have a potential customer come in and consume 30 minutes of a salesperson's time to figure out what camera/printer they want to buy, then go online and buy there because it costs $30 less. I don't doubt that gun shop customers do the same sort of thing.

    Think about all the money invested in inventory, the interest that needs to be paid on the loans used to buy that inventory (10% is more common than you would expect, and lots of small businesses pay more than that), insurance, rent, employee payroll, and all the rest that needs to come out of the markup on your merchandise. If you can get people to pay that markup then you're covering your costs, but not making a profit.

    That's the business model, and they're competing against companies whose business model is "I'll buy guns in bulk and sell them for 10% above my cost, and I'll sell thousands of guns every month and make a ton of money on this." Local gun shops simply aren't competitive, except for the expertise and advice they can offer. And that's not really a competitive advantage in today's world -- would you rather take the advice of a minimum wage employee on which 1911 to buy, or come here and ask the community? Lots of gunshop employees are experts, but most seem to be something less than knowledgeable. Mix that with the likelihood that on many guns the gunshop's cost is pretty close to what customers can get some place like Gunbroker, and it's that much harder.

    I feel for local gunshops. Like many small businesses, I wonder if they're making less money than they could in some other business (or as en employee of someone else) in exchange for all kinds of risk, headaches, and stress. It's even worse when you think of all the people who come in and expect you to sell a gun at or near cost (because you can't get the deals that internet-based retailers get, but this is what the customer sees as "fair") and call you names when you can't.

    You couldn't talk me into opening a gun shop in a town of 50-100,000. There are too many better opportunities out there. And don't take this as a jab against people who pursue something they love as a business opportunity -- I've spent over a decade pursuing a love of mine commercially -- it's just that as someone who's been there and is now gaining a better perspective on business I see the disadvantages.

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