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What You Want In A Gun Store

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by MS .45, Mar 24, 2012.

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  1. MS .45

    MS .45 Member

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    Hey guys, I have some buddies opening up a gun shop soon. If a new gun shop was opening up near you, what would be important for you to find there in order to make it a frequent stop for you. I.E. hard to find brands, knowledgeable staff, on-sight gunsmith/customization etc... I appreciate any input.

    Thanks
    MS .45
     
  2. Ragnar Danneskjold

    Ragnar Danneskjold Member

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    Salesman and Range Officers (if there's a range) who aren't rude and condescending to people.
     
  3. Ryanxia

    Ryanxia Member

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    I have a great local gun shop. I would say though that for me, important things would be;

    Friendly location - I want to be welcome and be able to hang out and meet other gun enthusiasts.
    Owner/employees who will take the time to impart knowledge (not bias, 'you should buy this', etc. )
    Good prices of course, and just friendly easy going people.

    As far as gunsmithing goes, if people like your shop there are generally customers who hang out that are knowledgeable gunsmiths. :)

    Also, buying/selling used guns is key. I wouldn't buy half the guns I buy on a regular basis if I didn't see good deals on trade ins/ used guns.

    Good luck with your endeavors.
     
  4. Tomcat47

    Tomcat47 Member

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    Maybe all of the things you mentioned!

    Knowledgeable staff is important.

    One thing that comes to my mind that is missing these days is loyalty to frequent patrons!

    If someone is being a loyal patron to the store, treat them as a loyal patron!

    I once looked at a Firearm years ago at a LGS. I had been in several times thinking that prices were a bit steep (not greedy,mind you) and when I asked if there was any wiggle room....I got a No, not really! I done a test... I said I will take it!

    I had never purchased a firearm from them, however, I had become friends of sort with the sales guy over time just discussing firearms.

    After the paperwork, I said this is my first from your store at not so great of a price. I will be back, and hope deals will get better.

    I get what I see as Platinum Service from this store now! I have purchased over 30 guns from them...brought other customers to them, and even ordered better deals off net and had them shipped to them for FFL!

    Patronage should work for Store and Buyer.....Always!
     
  5. Apple a Day

    Apple a Day Member

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    Keep it clean and organized. If I can't find it I'm not going to buy it, especially with ammo.
     
  6. 351 WINCHESTER

    351 WINCHESTER Member

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    Fair prices, decent inventory, ability to order guns and accessories, good gunsmith or know of a good one to recommend, knowledgeable staff, good coffee, friendly atmosphere, abililty to return defective new firearms to mfg.
     
  7. blarby

    blarby Member

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    Multiple brands of reloading equipment.

    Not everyone is thrilled with the "sea of green" offered at most shops.

    I know that RCBS has a more favorable marketing agreement/terms than some, but not everyone wants the price tag that comes with perks for the shop.

    Someone knowledgeable in reloading ( IE, one that follows todays' trends, not just the last 15 years) that does the orders for your shop would be a plus for new sales.

    Just my two lincolns.
     
  8. MedWheeler

    MedWheeler Member

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    Instead of making us southpaws (an increasing percentage of firearms consumers) root through piles and rows of RH'ed holsters to find the few offered to us, set aside a few hooks on your holster wall for a small section labeled as left-handed stuff and put them all there.
    Don't pretend to know everything. No one does. Instead off offering uninformed answers, offer to find out an answer and get back to the customer.
    When a guy comes in looking for a gun for his girl/lady without her, chat him up first instead of reaching right away for the pink gun, or the NAA mini-revolver. (I actually watched a guy do this today with a mini-revolver, telling the customer that his lady "doesn't even have to worry about accidentally firing it, because you have to cock it first for each shot.") Better yet, suggest he look at some options, then return with her.
     
  9. gutterman

    gutterman Member

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    Knowledgable staff-willing to deal-glad to see you when you walk in-you know--the stuff you just don't get anymore.
     
  10. BUCKrub91

    BUCKrub91 Member

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    NY :(
    I dont want to be talked to like im an idiot if I call asking about pricing on ammo/ other items I called a local gunshop the other day that I haven't visited asking for pricing on .223 ammo and what was in stock and the guy I talked to's attitude kind of ticked me off.. and they will never see a dollar from me

    A selection of firearms that other local dealers dont have for me that would be FN HK Sig
    A selection of reloading supplies..
    Maybe a small range set up to try out different guns
    Competitive pricing
    Discounts for frequent customers
     
  11. The Lone Haranguer

    The Lone Haranguer Member

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    To actually have guns. This is not being facetious. I have seen shops with just a few guns occupying a large, otherwise empty display case. This is probably because they are just starting out and may be working on a shoestring budget, but if they consistently don't have anything people want to see, customers will vote with their feet.

    Clean and well lit.

    Good attitudes on the part of the staff. I don't want to see old grouches sitting around and acknowledging you - when they feel like it - with "Whuddya want?" or "Yuh just wanna look?" :rolleyes: This is especially important with a large percentage of customers being women.

    A selection of accessories, especially holsters. Having Milt Sparks and other custom holsters on hand is obviously impractical, but there are always Galco and Don Hume.
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2012
  12. the_hustleman

    the_hustleman Member

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    1. Great prices (most important, look at buds)

    2. Great selection

    3. Helpful staff.

    4. A range, no messed up rules (such as no pistol grip shotguns, no buckshot, none of that "you have to shoot our ammo" crap, no hourly rates etc). Only gripe I have at the range I go to is you can't shoot buckshot. I hate that rule.

    5. Reloading supplies

    6. Price matching other licensed dealers.

    Do these things, you'll have customers for life!
     
  13. paintballdude902

    paintballdude902 Member

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    i have a dream of opening up an old style hardware/general store.


    i want to focus on the gun store but sell a little of everything. find an old building in maybe an older area of town then have the hunting rifles and stuff in the hardware section then have a back part with all the modern black rifles and such.
     
  14. abq87120

    abq87120 Member

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    I have a great gun store. I live in a small town. The LGS has an adequate amount of ammo for the local demand. They stock a few guns. They have to order anything they don't stock and all of their prices are cost plus 10%. Knowledgable owner. Great little place but you need to plan ahead.
     
  15. Ignition Override

    Ignition Override Member

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    A really good selection of military surplus rifles from WW2-1960s: few if any sporterized. A few nice SKS to spice up the other milsurp rifles can be appealing.
    The only similar stores I know of are in Clarkesville, TN and Caddo Mills TX (n.e. of Dallas).

    If your friend ever has such a store not far from I-55, Hwy 49 etc (for a drive from Memphis to Fairhope AL), I would visit and delay my arrival at the destination.
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2012
  16. jk2008

    jk2008 Member

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    Don't just sell new stuff. Take in old guns in trade, sell guns by consignment, have some interesting antiques or mil-surp guns and associated ammo. I love walking in to a gun store and seeing something odd that I've never seen before. If all you have is new stuff that I could easily find on the internet, I might not bother to stop by your shop.

    Also, have a knowledgeable, yet humble staff. As a customer, I don't know everything, but don't treat me like I know nothing. An arrogant, opinionated, know-it-all staff is a huge turn-off. On the other side of that coin, while I don't expect the staff to know everything, I do expect them to be somewhat knowledgeable of and interested in their wares, so don't hire just anyone off the street.
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2012
  17. BlackSky

    BlackSky Member

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    Ample room to move around, well stocked inventory, reasonable prices, adequate amount of educated employees with no attitude
     
  18. A.Rifleman

    A.Rifleman Member

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    There are about ten gun shops near me in NW CT. Among them is a Cabelas. Some have discount handloading components and other used rifles which I want to look at the most.

    The shops that have the rifles where I can reach them myself are favored. Some of those at Cabelas are reachable.

    Here is what a local shop had one day.

    [​IMG][/URL] Uploaded with ImageShack.us[/IMG]
     
  19. CountryUgly

    CountryUgly Member

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    To me the most important is the attitude of the person behind the counter. Near me is a LGS that is kinda super gun store huge inventory and really great prices with monthly sales that will drop your jaw but the 4 times I've been there the employee's condesending attitude when asked a question sucked so I spend my money elsewhere. One thing I'd like to see is a try it free deal. I mean set aside say a Glock 17, Springfield G.I., S&W K or N frame, Charter Arms snubbie, and something like a Ruger LCP/LC9 and give the customer a couple of rounds to shoot out of each to see what they really like. It could be a way of getting a better sale (someone came in wanting a Hi-Point and leaves with a Python) and could keep your customers from coming back with buyers remorse (The LC9 fits in my purse/pocket fine but I can't handle the recoil can I have my money back please). It's just a suggestion.
     
  20. dragon813gt

    dragon813gt Member

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    I'd like people behind the counter that are nice. That when you request to see a particular firearm they don't tell you don't want that one and then push another one because they get a bigger commission. People that aren't hung up on brand names and will gladly show you how every one you pick out works. I really really hate the sales people at every store around me. That's why I don't go to them.

    If they plan on stocking powder/primers and other reloading components. Try to keep the prices close to ones on the internet. Charging $15 more per $1k of primers is excessive. I can live with $5 more. If they can't keep prices close to the ones on the Internet then don't stock those items. But that's IMO and I know most others won't agree.

    And if the long guns are going to be behind the counter. Have tags on them with print LARGE enough to read with the make/model/caliber/price. I hate not being able to read the tags and my eyesight is perfect.

    Brought to you by TapaTalk.
     
  21. jad0110

    jad0110 Member

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    All excellent suggestions so far. I think the most critical are location and staff. Most gun shops in my region always seem to be located in crack town in run down facilities. You feel like you need to be carrying something belt fed just to walk through the parking lot, judging by the surroundings.

    Staff is #1 though. As other posters have mentioned, a bunch of cranky bums sitting rocking chairs that are seemingly annoyed when customers walk in is a real turnoff. A staff that will take the time to determine what a person's requirements, needs and wants are, possible physical limitations (ie, some people with small hands and short fingers are probably not going to be able to operate a Glock well, which seems to be the answer for everything from some gun store commandos), then offer up several different options either in the display case or that can be ordered for cost + X%.

    Communication is another biggie. If you order a gun or accessory for a customer, you will give the customer an estimated arrival date (like most anyone else would do). Note that date on a calendar, computer, smart phone, etc (something) along with the customer's name, phone # and email address if applicable. When that date pops up and John Doe's Ruger Blackhawk didn't show up, be proactive and find out why and provide the customer with a new estimated arrival date, without them even having to ask. Rinse and repeat. Trust me, having to track down the status of a late order is something that cheeses a lot of people off. Stay on top of it.

    Selection is very tricky, particularly when just starting out and buying the inventory on credit. My plan would be to acquire the inventory with cash, even if it means starting a little smaller or delaying the start up. I've seen new shops struggle because they had to build credit up with the distributors and until they did, they were charged a higher markup which tended to make them less competitive against older, more established shops in the area. Talk to those distributors and find out what you can do to make yourself more effective (ie cost competitive) so that you can be successful.

    As for the inventory itself, ideally you could stock everything. But unless you are loaded with cash to start, that probably isn't realistic. So you'll need to stock an inventory that aligns with the demand in your local area. I can't say what sells in your area. In mine, lever guns sell better than any other rifle class, so that is what you predominantly see. And because I live in a region with a distributed population, there isn't a lot of places to shoot .50 cal rifles (unlike the western US) and you only seem them in a store as perhaps a novelty or a marketing tool. Single action Rugers are hugely popular with handgun hunters around here, so you tend to see a lot of them with different scope and mounting options around here. But your area may be different.

    I guess you have to ask yourself, and others, what people like to do with their guns in central Mississippi.
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2012
  22. 3KillerBs

    3KillerBs Member

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    Service is #1.

    Cold fact is that most people who take the time to bargain hunt can get better prices online. What they can't get online is the personal touch -- knowledgeable, courteous staff who take the time to find out what your needs are and present a range of options for meeting those needs.

    If you could get to Ed's Gun Shop in Vass, NC you'd see what I mean. :) It would take AMAZING savings to pry our business away from Ed because of the level of service we've gotten from him and his staff.

    Also, if its at all possible include classroom/meeting room space and work a deal with one or more NRA-certified instructors to hold regular classes for both beginners and experienced shooters.
     
  23. gunnutery

    gunnutery Member

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    STAFF
    Good knowlegdable (and humble if they don't know an answer) staff. Quick to listen to a customer's needs. Slow to repeat unfounded political rumors in an effort to sell more products (not that there's never any truth to them, but people need to be careful where they repeat those things as it can turn non-right leaning people off and potentially lose business or just stereotype us).

    STORE
    Neat, clean, tidy, organized ammo selection, reachable long guns.
     
  24. jad0110

    jad0110 Member

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    Yep, I'd rank Ed's as one of the top gun shops in NC. There was another Ed's Gun Shop down in eastern NC, but it has changed ownership. It's still a good place to go, but not quite the same as it once was under the Ed's name.

    I agree with how to compete with cheaper online prices. You've got to offer something else, namely personalized, friendly service and a willingness to serve.
     
  25. wasr10634unme

    wasr10634unme Member

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    reasonable prices. ssg tactical has a hungarian amd-65 for $600ish. i can understand retail markup and operating costs but when i can get it through buds for $460 in my hands. thats alot of ammo(3/4 of a case). and ordering 3 mags cause they only had one wilson and they didnt want to take my money and they never called me???
     
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