How long can a LGS survive?

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by Zendude, Mar 25, 2021.

  1. Zendude

    Zendude Member

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    I’ve seen ammo shortages before, but I don’t remember when everything (guns, ammo, reloading components, accessories etc) were all in short supply simultaneously. With not much to sell, how long can a LGS survive under these circumstances? Or even internet gun and ammo companies? I don’t want the only stores left to be Academy and Walmart when the current situation is finally over.
     
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  2. PapaG

    PapaG Member

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    We made it from 1990 to ? New owner is struggling, gouging prices, no decent guns. We parted ways when I offered to fill his cases with quality guns but wanted better than the old 18%. He said it is now 20. Skrewem. Greed fails.
     
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  3. WiTom

    WiTom Member

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    Tough to sell when you have no product. Positive side, how would you have liked to be a theater owner for the last year. Talk about no product. Hope some of these LGS 's around me, can hang on.
     
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  4. snowman357

    snowman357 Member

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    My brother used to have a store. His health condition caused him to shutdown. He still has his FFL and built a man cave shop next to his house. He has gotten less than 3000 rounds of ammo (any caliber) since this shortage has started. Calling distributors asked for certain guns usually ends with well what do you have. When ammo or guns come in they are all gone in 2 days. He does still do a lot of transfers, and selling used guns. If he still had employees and depending on store income he wouldn't make it.
     
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  5. Pistolay

    Pistolay Member

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    I was talking to the owner of my range/LGS a week and a half ago. He told me he had just gotten in 150 cases of ammo. There's stuff out there, it's just about who's getting it, I guess.
     
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  6. herrwalther

    herrwalther Member

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    One of my LGS just closed down last week. Pre pandemic they had great selection of firearms and ammo. And the only indoor range for about 20 miles. Rumors floating about why but the common consensus is Covid shorted the inventory and brought them down.
     
  7. Cypress

    Cypress Member

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    I almost started a thread similar to this but my concern was a bit different. We have been blessed with a few small bullet manufacturers that are turning out great products. RMR comes to mind but there are others. What happens to these guys IF the primer shortage stays long enough for bullet demand to drop significantly. I’m not a panic type person but would really hate to see this hurt these companies. Personally I will just keep buying the bullets and hope the primers come back in due time but I know several reloaders who are waiting to buy powder/bullets until they can source primers.
     
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  8. FROGO207

    FROGO207 Member

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    As far as bullet manufacturers go, until they stop having to tell you your order is backordered untill they run that size I would think they are in no danger of closing. Worry when big discounts start happening due to oversupply.
     
  9. bassjam

    bassjam Member

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    There's a local shop that tried to open up back in the summer. They're already closed, though I don't know if it's permanent or temporary.

    My normal gun shop is tied to a hardware store so I'm sure they'll be able to ride out the storm. And they still manage to always have at least some guns on the shelf and a little ammo (without price gouging) and I've yet to be in there we're there's not at least 2 others at the gun counter. The other place I visit is Aim Surplus, and if anything they're more busy than ever.
     
  10. .38 Special

    .38 Special Member

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    I suspect that most of our local shops are hurting. The one with the attached range is doing better than ever, though, and is pretty much a madhouse all day long.
     
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  11. Captcurt

    Captcurt Member

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    Luckily my buddy who owns our LGS has been raking it in hand over fist. He opened his shop here 46 years ago so he has sales reps who take care of him. He makes 10% on guns and doesn't gouge on accessories or ammo. I've had trouble finding a place to park in his lot for the last year because of the panic buyers. He can't get primers, bullets and powder are trickling in slowly and are gone that day. He just became a dealer for H&K and has actually obtained 3 H&K SP5's. I listed them online and sold all 3 inside of a week. The first one was gone in 6 hours. He scratches my back and I scratch his. When I wanted a 1911 and my dealer's didn't have it he sold me one for cost. That, my friend, is the way it should be and that is why he is still in business.
     
  12. raindog

    raindog Member

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    This might not be a popular opinion here but...there are a lot of LGSes that suck.

    I have a couple that I patronize but also a long list of those where I've had bad experiences.

    There's also a certain streak of arrogance that runs through many LGSes. When I worked in retail, we bent over backwards to provide excellent service. Too many LGSes don't answer the phone, don't respond to emails, etc. And yes, they were that way pre-covid as well. When I'm the customer, I expect friendly service, not an attitude where I'm expected to approach the throne. And that's without getting into the dubious advice these places sometimes dispense. Sometimes they have banker's hours. What kind of retail store closes at 6pm? Many LGSes do.

    Over the last couple years, I've crossed many LGSes off my list because of bad experiences with transfers, such as
    • taking forever for the LGS to send their FFL, even after I've talked with them. It's no-brainer money - I found the LGS and setup the entire transaction, all they have to do is receive the package, fill out paperwork, and collect my money. Yet with a lot of them, it's pulling teeth to get them to take 30 seconds to reply to an email from another FFL asking for a copy of their license.
    • having to get a tracking number from the online seller so I know it's arrived at the LGS because the LGS never called me.
    • one LGS let their FFL expire so the online seller wouldn't ship to them. Easy enough - I selected a different FFL, but I wonder how they stay in business.
    • one LGS actually misplaced an AR-15 lower I sold online. Went back and forth over the course of a month trying to convince them I'd given it to them for shipment...eventually they found it in the back room when I was on the verge of going to the police to report a lost firearm.
    • some LGSes act like handling Internet transfers is twisting a knife in their side. I've encountered some pretty negative comments - "oh, you bought this online, wish you supported local businesses instead" or "so you rolled the dice and bought online, hope this is a good gun because you don't know when you shop online", etc. Look, if you don't want to do transfers from online purchases, don't do them! I'd happily buy locally but I'm generally looking for something very specific. For internet transfers, I've had much better experience with FFLs who work out of home annexes or pawn shops than LGSes.
    Many LGS owners are not great businesspeople. There's one here that specializes in tacticool stuff and suppressors. Great, there's a market for that...but they miss out entirely on people who want other kinds of guns. You can buy 5.56 ammo there (well, you could before covid!) but not .38 special. If want both, I'm not going to stop there. Etc.

    Most LGSes do not have their inventory online, which is a major disadvantage. It's 2021 and these systems are not hard to setup. I've called LGSes and asked if they had something in stock and some say "you'll have to come in to look" which is horrible customer service. If I ran a gun store, I'd have an online storefront where people could buy and pay for firearms, accessories, etc. and then come pick them up...and sure enough, the most successful local store here does that.

    I want to support LGSes and I try to whenever possible. But many seem to be stuck in the past or are run by people who could use some business advice. They make it inconvenient to shop there, the experience is not often pleasant, and the staff is more often a hinderance than a help.

    Being a small businessperson is tough and I get that. One classic strategy for competing against the Wal-marts of the world is to offer superior service and friendly local service...something that a lot of shops have forgotten. I do patronize a couple (literally two) LGSes that I think are well-run but the landscape is littered with stores that, well, suck.
     
  13. theotherwaldo

    theotherwaldo Member

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    My favorite LGS has been in business since the 1940s and is likely to last a good bit more.

    One of their secrets is that less than a third of their floor space is dedicated to firearms.
    The rest is used to sell clothing, shoes, knives, outdoor cooking gear, archery supplies (in season), hardware, fishing gear and other goods in season.

    Another is that they keep a knowledgeable and motivated staff that actually listens to their customers' wishes rather than telling the customer what they really should want... .
     
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  14. earlthegoat2

    earlthegoat2 Member

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    My LGS invested heavily in pre-owned guns and consignments and he is as busy and profitable as ever. I long disappeared from any gun store that didn’t have a decent pre-owned selection and sadly there are many around here who don’t. Hope they can make it dealing in hard to get black plastic during these times.
     
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  15. doubleh

    doubleh Member

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    There was a new shop opened close to me the middle of last year. They seem to be doing pretty well and have a fairly decent supply of guns. The prices seem to be MSRP as are most of the shops in this area. There are a coupe that do better. Their ammo supply is like everyone else's in this area, a little here and and a little there.
     
  16. mmb617

    mmb617 Member

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    I have a good relationship with my favorite LGS and I'm certain he's hurting right now. He has trouble getting product and what he does get people don't like the prices. He says he has to pay more so he has to charge more and I believe him. He has always been happy to do transfers for guns bought online, it's quick and easy money. I doubt if he makes more by selling his own stock, so why would he not want to do those transfers? The only way not wanting the online transfers makes sense is if his own prices are so high he makes an obscene profit on them.

    I'm also concerned about the future of the only local indoor range. It's a great facility but when I go there, usually twice a week, I'm almost always the only one on the range. He does sell some guns and ammo, but the place is mainly advertised as a range, and as the only indoor one for maybe 50 miles it should be busy all the time. I think the ammo shortage has a lot to do with the lack of shooters. He does sell ammo but it's at the typical for today price of about a buck a round for the popular calibers.
     
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  17. Navy87Guy

    Navy87Guy Member

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    Sadly, my local store owner died a couple of months ago. But he was in the process of turning over the business to a new couple. Unfortunately, he died very suddenly so they were left in a bit of a mess. They’re FFL wasn’t processed yet and they had no access to any of his records or dealers. I feel really badly for them x they’re struggling to find ammo and merchandise.

    On the flip side, the “big” gun store in our area is doing fine. They seem to have plenty of stock and it keeps arriving. The problem is that the owner is an arrogant a$$, so I really don’t like doing business with him. But beggars can’t be choosers!

    I‘lol try to give the little guy as much business when I can...when they have something!!
     
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  18. George P

    George P member

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    Well Walmarts here have stopped selling all guns and all ammo; and Academy has nothing as well. Once they stop internet sales THEN what do we do?
     
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  19. dogtown tom

    dogtown tom Member

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    It's nothing new. Ammunition and firearm scarcity and high demand has happened numerous times in the last twelve years, oh, lets count:
    2008 Obamas election
    2009 Ft Hood shooting
    2012 Aurora movie theater shooting, Obamas reelection, Sandy Hook
    2016 Orlando nightclub shooting
    2017 Las Vegas concert shooting
    All of those impacted the availability and price of ammunition/firearms/etc The market recovered each time. But it happened again. And it will recover and happen again and still people will be blissfully ignorant of what happens to the firearms market during an election cycle.
     
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  20. rbernie
    • Contributing Member

    rbernie Contributing Member

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    One of the ways that smart gun shops survive these periodic peaks in demand is by offering to sell consignment items. The shop gets inventory and a 15% cut of the sale price, and folk get to drag out things that they don't mind selling and let the dealer do the selling / merchandising for them.
     
  21. raindog

    raindog Member

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    I wonder if long-term Gunbroker hasn't been a serious impact on this, or just the internet in general.

    I've sold a variety of guns over the last 20 years, and 100% of them have been either through classifieds on my local regional forum (shout out to NWFA) or via GunBroker, and often in that order (try the local market first because the transaction is easier and there's no brokerage fee, then putting on GB anything that doesn't sell). I've never considered putting a gun on consignment because 15% or so is a lot to give up. If I sell locally, I give up nothing but there's a smaller market. If I sell on GB, it's a third of that consignment fee (as the buyer will pay for shipping).

    Admittedly it's more work, especially when you have to find a box for something like an 1891/30 Mosin-Nagant :rofl:
     
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  22. Pistolay

    Pistolay Member

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    Or the good advice that they don't dispense.

    I was just in a gun store today that I had never been in before (bought a G42), and I was waiting while the sales guy was working with a woman who was clearly buying her first gun. He was showing her various 9mm pistols, and she was getting frustrated because she couldn't rack the slides on any of them, using the thumb and forefinger grip and trying to pull the slide back. I kept waiting for him to show her the overhand grip and push with your strong hand technique, but he never did. He just kept showing her different guns, I guess hoping that she'd be able to rack one of them.

    I wanted to say something, but in this day and age, he probably would have gotten pissed off thinking that I was trying to show him up, and she probably would have gotten pissed off thinking I was mansplaining, so I just bit my tongue.
     
  23. Phaedrus/69

    Phaedrus/69 Member

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    This is a gun forum so obviously we're talking about gun stores but that's the tip of the iceberg. As another poster mentioned theaters are taking a beating, too. My local theater has been closed for a year save the ten day window in the middle that somehow they were able to open briefly. The NRA (National Restaurant Association) stats claim that just over 1,000,000 restaurants have permanently closed due to the pandemic. Local stores of all kinds face challenges due to online competition and did well before the recent issues but the smart ones pivot to the net. As has been mentioned it doesn't take a lot of money or tech to list inventory online...but I guess it does take a bit of expertise or at least fluency with basic computer skills (something some don't have).

    And I too have run into rudeness and insolence in stores local and online. One seller on GB couldn't be bothered to reply to my very basic questions civilly despite my having just dropped a mint on an overpriced lower that I just really wanted. And a local pawn that does transfers is pretty unwilling to engage in any customer service beyond the odd grunt here and there.

    In times of difficult business challenges I can't imagine that the worst of the brick-and-mortar places will survive. That's probably for the best. Hopefully the better gun stores, theaters, restaurants and other shops we frequent will fare better.
     
  24. Old Dog

    Old Dog Member

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    My local gun shops (at least the good ones) still have folks lining up to go in (if only to see if any new handguns or ammo has come in). They're for sure selling all the handguns (even the .22s) and ammo they get in stock.
    Agreed. We'll be well rid of a few gun shops (and maybe some restaurants), but ultimately, the demise of any gun retailer doesn't help the RKBA cause.

    Wishin' the theaters would reopen quicker... we've waited too long for the Top Gun sequel, for sure...
     
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  25. Jimbo80

    Jimbo80 Member

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    Many LGSs are selling their used stock on GB. They're also selling hard to find new stuff on GB. Sucks but it's hard to blame them when stuff they sell at retail ends up on GB anyway.
     
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