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

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by Mr. Bruce, Jun 23, 2006.

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  1. Mr. Bruce

    Mr. Bruce Member

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    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?
     
  2. RNB65

    RNB65 Member

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    How'd they lose their license?
     
  3. Mr. Bruce

    Mr. Bruce Member

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    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?
     
  4. DoubleTapDrew

    DoubleTapDrew Member

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    They bought their firearm inventory without a FFL? Sounds spendy!
     
  5. Sir Aardvark

    Sir Aardvark Member

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    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.
     
  6. RNB65

    RNB65 Member

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    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. :)
     
  7. Car Knocker

    Car Knocker Member

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    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.
     
  8. bogie

    bogie Member

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    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!"
     
  9. Mr. Bruce

    Mr. Bruce Member

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    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?
     
  10. Car Knocker

    Car Knocker Member

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    That is is considerably different than what your original post stated.
     
  11. GarandOwner

    GarandOwner Member

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    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.
     
  12. TexAg

    TexAg Member

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    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.
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2006
  13. Monkeyleg

    Monkeyleg Member

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    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.
     
  14. Husker1911

    Husker1911 Member

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    Is an FFL required to sell ammunition?
     
  15. quazi

    quazi Member

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    Is a FFL required to sell black powder firearms? That way you could get at least a few guns on the racks.
     
  16. 50 Shooter

    50 Shooter member

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    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.
     
  17. cmb3366

    cmb3366 Member

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    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.
     
  18. greg700

    greg700 Member

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    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.
     
  19. Monkeyleg

    Monkeyleg Member

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    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.
     
  20. [joshb]

    [joshb] Member

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  21. Ala Dan

    Ala Dan Member in memoriam

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    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:
     
  22. Firethorn

    Firethorn Member

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    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.
     
  23. hotpig

    hotpig Member

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    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.
     
  24. ChickenHawk

    ChickenHawk Member

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    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
     
  25. AJ Dual

    AJ Dual member

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    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.
     
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