Monday, May 27, 2013

Build Your Ideal Gun Shop...

So, you all know Dennis. He's the handsome dude that runs Dragon Leatherworks. You might remember a while back he got his FFL, right? Well, he's taking it to the next level. He's opening up an honest to goodness brick and mortar gun shop. Sometime over the summer he's going to get final approval from the ATF, and he will be throwing open the doors to Crazy Dennis's World 'O' Guns (or some other name, I think he ought to go for this one, though).

The million dollar question to y'all is:
What would you like to see in your ideal gun shop?
Now, please, don't say ammo. Yes, we all want to see ammo back on gun store shelves. Don't say barrels full of SKSs for $39 or M1 carbines for $60. While it would be great, Dennis's store is in Tennessee, not Disney's Fantasy land. He'll be getting in guns from manufacturers as they become available. Firearms and ammunition are subject to market forces - Dennis isn't going to have rows of KSGs available, or M4-type ARs for $550.

What he's looking for are suggestions on other items he might want to think about carrying. I jokingly suggested "beef jerky" when he originally told me his plan - every gun show I've been to, there's been at least one table selling beef jerky (real beef jerky, not the stuff in a plastic wrapper). He's thinking about it.

Obviously he'll have holsters and gun belts, but what else? Knives? Steel targets? Specific types of cleaning supplies (M-Pro7! Frog Lube!)? Something I haven't seen in any gun shop are firearms specific tools - yeah, most gun shops have a gunsmith or two working for them, but a set of brass punches and a sight pushing tool aren't going to make them starve.

With the internet/Amazon/Brownells as they are, pretty much everything you could ever want is available to you online. Personally, I think Dennis would be well-served to stock "impulse" items - spare magazines, basic cleaning supplies, targets, etc. Stuff that you would need if you wanted to get up and running right that day - as well as the kind of things you're going to want to see in person before purchasing (one of my suggestions was a line of cover garments...)

What are some of the things you'd like to see in your ideal gun store?

That is all.


MSgt B said...

Cigarettes by the carton.

If he's going to have the ATF crawling up his ass every day for the rest of his life, anyway.
Why not go big or go home?

JD said...

I can only tell you what gets me back into Four Seasons here. . . the people are not pushy and they know the product so can answer your questions. taking the time to do that is more important to me than them having everything in stock. I know they will take care of me so I go back. A good web site with your stock is cool to as it save me a trip (since it is over a hour away from me) to the store if I can see what they have. The email news letter is good too letting me know what he has going on at the shop and what is new.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to see nobody behind the counter bidening the customers with gun shop myths. You can't stop 'em bidening each other, though.

Did you know the Judge can throw a guy RIGHT THROUGH A BRICK WALL?

Virgil said...

Speaking as someone who opened a 'city' retail gun store 3 years ago with the similar idea of building my 'ideal' shop - you've already hit on some key things:
- Spare mags sell really well and usually don't take up much space. If you can, have a mix of OEM and 'aftermarket' mags for popular guns as some people shop on price, others will pay for OEM

- Targets are easy add-on sales. BWC shoot-n-c style is by far the most popular in our area. Mix of bullseye, 'sight in', and 'game' style sells well. The large diameter bullseye targets (12-18") always sell more than I think they would. Don't forget ear and eye protection as well - both inexpensive and more expensive types. Being urban, we don't sell much in the way of steel or even duraseal type targets - it's almost all range shooting here. If you're in an area with lots of backyard ranges, then your target mix will be different.

- Holsters are great but take lots of space to have sufficient variety.

- It's easy to go overboard on cleaning (too many brands) - pick a few brands from the low to high end price point wise and stick with it. If there's a certain brand you want to promote - go for it, but realize most people aren't real picky - and nobody buys that much $$ in cleaning supplies in a year to dedicate much effort steering those sales compared to other items (IMO)

- We just started selling Jacks-Link jerky, I think our staff buys more of it than our customers. Depending on your store size/culture, the risk with any food/drink is you can become a 'hang-out' which doesn't necessarily equal more sales and can be a problem if you have small parking, tight space, etc. Some stores aspire to be hang-outs and that's OK - just make sure food fits your overall vision.

- Simple gunsmithing tools are great sellers. Punch kits, AR wrenches, screwdriver kits, scope levels, boresights, bluing kits, stock stains - all do very well.

- Knives don't do very well for us but haven't been a focus. We keep one case stocked and it see's slow turns. Tactical tomahawks, cold steel, and Glock knives sell the best.

- Clothing is tough unless you have lots of space and don't mind keeping a lot on hand. The number of sizes/variations can go up fast. Gun brand t-shirts do well and can always be used as 'throw-ins' to close a good deal.

- Reloading is a huge one for us. We're the only serious reloading store within 150 miles or more. With hazmat fees, people will be very willing to shop local on powder/primers and if they're in for that, they'll buy your bullets, brass, and equipment too if it's priced correctly. You can start small - Hornady has a pretty complete line with broad distribution - and then add as you go. You do need someone on staff who can talk reloading / answer questions / help you order the most popular items. I've seen a lot of small shops with a nearly random mix of reloading stuff - and that won't really work.

Best of luck - it's a real adventure having a gun shop!

Mopar said...

I have a friend that opened a shop here a year ago. I wish Dennis all the luck in the world, but it's a tough time to start. He'll be at the bottom of the list. All the more established shops get "first dibs" on the guns and ammo trickling in. Those bigger and more established shops also get better discounts from their suppliers. In the case of my friend's shop, he's only 30 minutes from one of the 10 largest gun stores (#1 Ruger retailer) in the country. They do so much volume that they can often sell guns at retail for less then the "wholesale" price my friend buys at. Not trying to discourage Dennis, but you need to be aware of your weaknesses before you can find your strengths. In the case of my friend's shop, in one year he has established himself as being one of the most friendly and honest gun shops in the state. People know he didn't jack prices up after December 14th, nor does he lowball you on a trade-in. He doesn't try to sell you something you don't want, and I've seen him spend an hour with a customer trying to figure out what he DID want. He's not the cheapest guy on prices, but it's a fair price. He's been an active supporter of the local gun rights org, always being one of the first to step up and help out when he can, be it items donated for a raffle, or a pickup bed full of soda for a picnic. He's also active on social media, always answering questions about stock or prices, as well posting new shipments.
He has a lounge room, which doubles as a classroom. He let's instructors use it for permit classes, because it get's new shooters into his store.
He doesn't discourage the "lookyloos", if anything he actively encourages it. On weekends it's not unusual for him to offer up free hotdogs and soda to people, and there are always free candy and snacks.

In effect, he's become the opposite of the low price guy 30 minutes away. Yes, you will get the best price from that guy, And he has a bigger selection, but the customer service generally sucks. That shop really doesn't care if you buy that gun or not, because if you dont there are 3 guys behind you who will. He's not going to spend an hour with you deciding on a gun when he can make 5-10 solid sales in that time (or more, on avg they sell 100+ guns a day).

My friend makes up for lack of new stock and his higher prices by offering superior customer service and a friendly, relaxed atmosphere. It must be working, because almost 1yr to the day after opening, he signed a lease on the storefront next to his so he will be able to double in size.

Glenn B said...

My ideal gun shop would sell ONLY firearms and directly firearms and shooting related items. In other words - guns, magazines and clips, ammunition, eye protection, hearing protection, gun parts, gun tools and tool kits, bore lights, gun cleaning supplies, gun manuals for popular firearms, optics, scope mounts, targets, range boxes, range mats, rests, slings, cases, holsters, mil-spec ammo cans, small powerful flashlights, a snarky store logo t-shirt or two and so on. Some other things to offer, but obviously not that you would sell: NRA & SAF membership applications, and voluntary NRA round-up on purchases.

What I would NEVER SELL are things like: Beef Jerky (seeing tables full of beef jerky at guns shows is the second biggest downer for me, and many others I know, at gun shows), jewelry (another downer at gun shows and I do not care if they are gun pendants or made from expended shell casings, Nazi paraphernalia (a total disgrace and the biggest downer at many a gun show), military surplus other than ammo cans - (they have mil-surp stores for that stuff), books (other than firearms manuals), clothing (except for a couple of store logo shirts, as clothing, including shooting and or hunting clothes, takes up too much space that could be used for holsters and other things mentioned above, while display shirts could be hung on the wall and stock kept in the back).

Most importantly though - you want to make absolutely sure you offer only honest, attendant, genuinely courteous, level headed employees to assist your customers. Sure, they will have good days and bad and that is understandable. Yet, the arrogant, know it all, used car salesman, every customer is a moron attitude expressed by employees of gun shops that I have visited, and have heard about, over the past 34 or so years has been absolutely appalling; I often wonder how shops with such employees stay in business. Presenting that attitude is definitely the surest way to discourage me from ever shopping again in the store in which I encountered it.

All the best,
Glenn B

Sean D Sorrentino said...

A woman greeter dressed in business dress. Someone who looks like what a potential female gun owner could immediately feel comfortable. She should be reasonably attractive, and able to shoot IDPA/USPSA, perhaps Three Gun.

When a woman walks in, she should be immediately greeted by this greeter and made to feel like she has come to a place that welcomes her, rather than a trespasser on male territory.

It would be helpful if the greeter had the ability to separate the overbearing male companion, ie. the husband/boyfriend who's dragging her into the store sort of against her will.

Get a couple of ladies like that and you'll be golden.

B said...

Reloading supplies (and someone knowledgeable about them). and presses and dies.

Basic smithing tools.

Eye and ear protection in a range of prices/quality. (this makes for a good add-on sales, especially for new shooters). Cleaning kits, but not WalMart quality...decent valued stuff.

Batteries for most electronic sights and such.

Chasing Freedom said...

Sean, speaking as a female shooter, singling me out and trying to herd me away from my shopping partner (husband) would be annoying and creepy. A woman on staff would be an awesome resource but any sales associate that treats both sexes with respect and dignity would be sufficient. I think he'd be better served by having a highlighted store copy of _The Cornered Cat_ on hand than a dedicated female employee.

Ben C said...

Counter monkeys that aren't either mall ninjas, assholes, or both.

High quality gunsmithing parts, or the well posted ability to get same. Trijicon night sights, and tools to install them.

Rapid-Rods are awesome to have in the field. Only place I can find them is online and that kinda sucks.

Prices that are not higher than MSRP. Glocks for the $500-550 range not $659.99 like Cabela's.

Are you going to be offering gunsmith services? Sell dremels and look at all the stuff you will get to fix.

Quality CCW holsters AND MAG POUCHES for smaller framed guns. Many shops have stuff for 1911s and Glocks. How about something for Kahr, Springfield XDS & EMP, S&W M&P compact & shield and Walther PPS.

acairfearann said...

Is that shop in Ct? If so, which town? Finding a shop that has decent customer service is high on my list...

As I see it, the bricks and mortar shop has two great advantages: real customer service and the ability to handle things you might want to buy. You can't compete on inventory with the internet, but you can compete on service.

Finagling shipping deals might be useful. Ace Hardware used to have a policy that if their store didn't carry it, but it was something that could be added to the store's regular inventory delivery, you could pick it up at the store without paying shipping. That might be an interesting avenue to pursue. How it would work for an independent though, I don't know.

Dragon said...

Hi Folks!

Thanks for the feedback! Let me begin by saying...the store is opening under a different concept than any other gun store I know of. :-)

My bread and butter is the custom and/or handcrafted holsters and gunbelts. Not enough to survive on tho...I need a wider product line to be able to be fully self-employed. (ie: I still have the day job)

I think most folk assumed that the FFL is something I'm just getting now. On the contrary, I've had it now for a year (two more years till renewal!!) and have been making sales on a small scale.

@Mopar: I've made some custom rigs for heads of marketing for two of the best tier of distributor pricing, and when I asked them to grease the skids a little so that their company, which as a rule don't open accounts for *kitchen counter FFLs*, they went to bat for me and helped get the accounts opened. In return, I do all of my purchasing through them because they have the best pricing out there, and when I do my markups and margin computations, I'm still comfortably below Cabella's or Gander Mountain, but not giving it away like Buds Guns.

@MSgt B: Can't do Cigs in TN at a gun store that I am aware of.

@Virgil - Man, please drop me a line at I would greatly appreciate if you could pass along your experiences of what *didn't* work, so that I might avoid the same? Much thanks and appreciation in advance. :-)

@Glenn: That may be a good formula for NY, but down here in TN, its a bit more laid back, and doing a strict store the way you described is very off-putting for the 40% demographic of gunnies here which are...women. I *WANT* them as customers and don't want them to feel uncomfortable or overwhelmed in my store by making a *Dominant Alpha Male* atmosphere.

@Sean: Funnily, I had this exact conversation last night here in my shop, with Susan Rexrode of Shooting for Women Alliance ( While she didn't come right out and suggest a female greeter that I can't afford, she did suggest that I take her training course called *The Softer side of Shooting* and *What Women Want*. They do these for free (they are a non-profit) and ask that if you feel it worthwhile, donate to them. They are also TN State Certified Instructors who teach the Instructors that teach the CCW Classes which are mandatory in TN for your permit. In other words, they instruct the instructors. :-)

@Amanda: Already have a message in to Kathy Jackson, to get a few of her books into the store.

One of the take-aways from the comments here, which I didn't really think of, is smithing tools...brass drift pin punches, specialty screwdrivers, various small files, plastic/brass mallets, and the like. Will start looking into those.

As for location...I've managed to snag one of the smaller SqFt spaces available that is less than 3/4 of a mile from ORSA (Oak Ridge Sportsmans Association) which is the old shooting and sniper training range from the Manhattan Project, when the city of Oak Ridge was still a military base working on the atomic bomb during WW II, which has the only 1000 (One THOUSAND) meter range still in existence in this part of the country where the public can shoot. They also host Cowboy Action Shooting, SASS, IDPA, and USPSA events monthly, and bi-weekly trap and skeet competitions.. (I've made rigs for some of the Cowboy Action shooters, and many of them had suggested I do a store.)

Basically, my vision for the store is mainly to sell my handcrafted leather services, with the *accessories* being the firearms. Every other gun store goes into it with the focus being a *firearms shop* with cheap foreign-made holsters/belts as the *accessories*.

So far, from folk in the industry who I had run the idea past while I was drawing up the business plan, its been well-received as a concept, especially in light of the fact that its with one mile of one of the main competitive shooting ranges in the SouthEast.

Thanks all for the feedback! Much appreciated!!!

Dragon said...

Oh, and to clarify something JayG said...the *Final Approval by the ATF* isn't for the license, which I've had for a year now....its the approval for the Application for Amended Federal Firearms License.

In other words, its not the *person* who is licensed to sell guns, although the person applying cannot be a Prohibited Person (same as the 4473).

Its the BUSINESS LOCATION that gets licensed. The person applying for the license is the person who is *responsible* for the transactions at said licensed location.

While Federal Law mandates the ATF to render an approval/denial on the original application for FFL within 60 days (its in the Federal Statute), the Amended License has no mandated timeframe. But given that I've already been investigated/cleared and have the license (my domicile is the licensed location currently), the general rule is that once you have your location leased, you then submit the application to amend the license for a change in business address 30 days prior to conducting business there, with the requisite supporting documentation from local officials which the ATF requests. The last letter I need is being e-mailed Tuesday, and the paperwork gets mailed same day. 30 days will make it around the end of June, and I've scheduled the official opening of the doors on Friday, July 12th.

AuricTech said...

I assume as a given that Dennis will stock leather care products appropriate for the holsters he makes. That being the case, stocking wood care products appropriate for firearms would be an obvious complement.

WV = HISTORY depubw "The USMC's HISTORY began in a bar, and depubw as the Tun Tavern."

Sean D Sorrentino said...

CF: No one said "herd you away from your husband." I merely suggested that when the inevitable overbearing husband/boyfriend showed up with said woman, that the greeter find a way to separate them.

Rivitman said...

Free coffee. Stools and a place to sit and shoot the shit and consifer your purchase. A bench with lights, magnifiers and borelights so you can get a GOOD look at what you are buying.

A noted absence of surly employeees. And a 'gunshop commandos and snobbery prohibitied' signs.

But seriously, all the shops around here suffer the same flaw. They are far to small. And I mean cramped. Space challenged. Tight and uncomfortable.

Ed said...

Ask your customers what they want stocked. If the request is reasonable, get a small quantity in and see how well it sells. Adjust your sales mix based on the sales of the items.

Items that a shooter would want that day, not next week via UPS after an online purchase, are what will sell best. Avoid the drive to the lowest price. A fair price today is better than the lowest price next week.

When a male and female come in ask both what they are interested in. Do not assume that either one is the decision maker, but understand that both may contribute to the final purchase decision. Listen carefully to their responses. Do not assume that the female is only interested in .380 pistols and .38 Special revolvers. She may be interested in a custom .45 AUTO pistol, and he may want the .380 pistol. If they are indecisive, an inexpensive .22LR pistol for learning and retaining marksmanship skills will suffice while they decide what larger caliber to purchase.

Make "instant gratification" work for you. Holding something in your hand provides more information than a photograph, especially for how a holster will work with a weapon. Have selected samples of your leatherwork that will work with those weapons that you sell to provide a total solution for the customer that day. They can either purchase the sample you have on-hand or pay that day for custom work to be picked up on completion.

Sidney said...

Get some gun's with pink on them and put them in a visible place. That can help to encourage women that they actually belong in your shop. I know not ever woman want's a pink gun, bu some do.

Since you sell good holsters you might consider also starting a bargain bin of all the other holsters. I keep hearing that every gun nut has a drawer full of holsters. Shame there is no place to sell them back to when they buy your awesome holster so the next sucker customer can find out why a custom holster is better.

Consider having a blue gun, with a custom holster and a bunch of off the rack holsters for comparison. Use that to sell why your holster is something they should have.

Laser pointers. Not locked in a case in the nice packaging, on a blue gun, with a holster. Nothing sells a custom holster like nice laser that won't fit a standard holster. Bonus if you have dimly lit room with a pop out target so the customer can grasp why they need to buy your custom holster and laser package.

I don't know if this fit's your business model but folks like to train with their guns. Sell the 22LR conversion kits for the popular brands you carry. Also sell those metal target stop's that you can use to shoot in your basement. Even if shooting outside some folks like the idea of keeping the lead in a contained location rather than peppering the hillside.

Gun safes: Have a couple of good stand up models, have a couple of under the bed models. Also have a referral to a local smith who can do installation, bolt things to the floor and perhaps even do in floor/wall installs.

If you have classroom space that'a big plus.

Consider a consignment sections.

Others have mentioned reloading, that's good. Better is if I can buy the reloading setup, powder, dies, casings, bullets (perhaps casting forms), primers, etc from you as a bundle. Part of that bundle should be a scheduled class for some hands on teaching of how to use it. I can't price shop that on the internet and it's worth a hefty premium. Offer a trade-up program. Sell them the single stage, when they feel the need for speed then sell them an higher end model with a trade up credit. You can probably sell the single stage two or three times that way. Consider also using it in an intro class where the customer has not bought gear, only the training. There a compelling sales case at the end of class if you say "Did you like the rig you worked on for the last couple days? Would you like to buy it?"

Anyway that's all I have at the moment.

Chasing Freedom said...

Sean, point taken. Might work best at a store dedicated to female / new shooters.

Glenn B said...

"Glenn: That may be a good formula for NY, but down here in TN, its a bit more laid back, and doing a strict store the way you described is very off-putting for the 40% demographic of gunnies here which are...women. I *WANT* them as customers and don't want them to feel uncomfortable or overwhelmed in my store by making a *Dominant Alpha Male* atmosphere." I do not know what you misread into what I said but you certainly misinterpreted it. Alpha male - I never even hinmted at anything alpha male, what I stressed was guns and ammo in a gun store and excellent customer service. How anyone could see that as sexist is beyond me because the ladies I have shot with, in NY, CA, AZ, FL and other states preferred the same things in a gun store. Nothing sexist all was meant to be there and in fact nothing of that nature was there. It was just pure gun store for the purest shooters and either sex can and often is such.

All the best,

Mopar said...

Dennis - The big store I was mentioning is usually pretty competative with Buds price wise..... he's that big.

Acairfearann: Yes in CT - Check out Woodbridge Firearms Trading Post... As an added bonus they are practically across the street from New England Brewing Company.

Ben C said...

One other thing. Make sure you have some hours you are open that working people can utilize. 9-5 during the week and no weekend hours will severely limit the number of customers that can visit your store.

Anonymous said...

How about gun magazines - the kind you read? and reloading handbooks, and so forth.

The gun writers can help create demand for all the guns that it is impossible to get, like the H&K whatever, or the mostly plastic 22 mag pistol, or whatever.

Of course, it may backfire - the readers may get frustrated at all the stuff that they can read about but not find that they go to some other store to find it.

Dragon said...

Glenn: Thanks for the clarification. Apologies if I misinterpreted.

Ben C: I'm gearing it for the working Joe, with hours from 2PM to 8PM weekdays, 9 to 9 Saturday, and 1PM to 6PM Sundays (churchgoers here in TN won't come out to a store until after services let out...)

zeeke42 said...

I prefer to shop online, so a gun shop has to give me some value I can't get online. A fair price on firearm transfers is one. Another one is to stock a good assortment of 'oh crap' items. Spare parts for common firearms and reloading equipment would be the big ones. If I'm loading ammo for a match and I break something, it'd be great to be back up and running the next day while I wait on Dillon shipping a warranty part that I can then keep as a spare.

Stocking reloading components can be tough as there's a huge variety and you may run in to fire code issues with how much you can store on site. I'm not sure if it's workable cost wise, but if you could take orders and then get everything shipped freight together for less than UPS/Fedex+Hazmat costs per order while still making a profit, the high volume competition guys will love you.

lee n. field said...

Just some thoughts, having read through the list:

1)Stock what sells. You'll sell ten times as many Rugers as HKs or Sigs, simply on price alone. If you can't move it, you can't make money on it.

2)The flip side of that -- you don't make money, if what you sell eats up your time with customer service issues. (I'm thinking of the online gunboard esteem for of Taurus, for one example.) You should be able to figure which ones these are, pretty quickly.

2)Decent holsters. Most of what I see in shops is pretty generic, and doesn't seem like anything I'd really want to use. Are you going to make holsters for everything you sell?

Ed and Jackie said...

My main suggestion would be "good deals". Which needs some explaination. At any given time I may be looking for targets, maybe some cleaning stuff, a new knife, thinking about a laser, new sights, scope, or something else for one gun or another, a better gun case for that rifle now that it has a scope, something to hold small parts, some metal polish, and who knows what else. The number of times I've bought something "now" because I ran across a good deal by accident is...a large number. It's hard to say what people may or may not want for stuff, but they always want a deal and a good price may make something they weren't looking for into something they buy. So, stock what you can make deals on. This also keeps a fluxuating inventory and if you have a good place to shop (atmosphere) they'll come in just to see what you have this week and who knows what they'll pick up? Around here that's why I keep going back to discount stores, never know what they'll have.

For smithing tools don't forget the small stuff (it's what I use a LOT). FILES. Epoxy, sanding paper (automotive 1/3 sheets are my favorite and would make easy stock / display), some metal and wood small stock (small bar, short lengths), clamps, screws/bolts, craft knives/gouges, some gunsmithing guides...actually, get a guide and stock some of what the projects in there need for tools, sell the guides next to the tools.

Just for Dennis: sell your scrap/cast off/sub-par leather and some leatherworking tools. I've actually seen just leather goods shops do well, so crossover with guns just gives two possible revenue streams. Do an occasional leatherworking class, sell a guide or two. Carry some kydex and the stuff that goes with (grommets, screws, heat gun, hole punch...actually i use a lot of my leather tools for kydex too).

Nothing made me appreciate a well made holster more than making my own, and making my own made sure I knew what I wanted. Mostly.

If you have a lot of hunters, carry some camping supplies, the stuff that gets used up (hand warmers, waterproofer, whatever).

Having my own small business (unrelated to guns) gives me the following tips:

Know the competition. Do well what they suck at. Don't compete where there's excellence (doesn't mean don't do that too, just don't try to be the best). Don't hesitate to refer people to the competition if that's what that person is looking for. Builds good relationships with the "competition" and customers will come to you first knowing if they can't find it you can get them where they need to go next.

Diversify a bit. I don't know if you have assistants / apprentices but if so consider having them do projects that aren't holsters. Wallets, purses, phone pouches, gloves (oh man, I'd love some custom gloves!), knife pouches/sheathes...all that stuff. If nothing else it gives a non-gun tagalong something to browse.

Carry stuff you know and preferably use or have used, and same for employees, so you can personally say "I use this for my stuff, I like it" or "I used to use this, it works, but if you can afford it this is better, and if you don't care much this stuff basically works but is ugly". I guess that goes to whatever you stock, stock it for a reason other than "people might buy this crap".

I like the bargain bin for holsters. I, and from what I hear a lot of others, go through a lot of crappy holsters before I really knew the value of a GOOD holster. Might as well facilitate that process. It also shows some humor and self-confidence "I'll sell their crap, because you'll get sick of it and come back for MY stuff."

Ed and Jackie said...

Offset hours are also good, but I suggest having something to do if it turns out nobody shows up over lunch on tuesdays. Since you do your own crafting, probably not a problem. If you have weekend hours I know I'd love afternoon or early evening hours rather than morning. Saturday 1-4pm or 4-7 pm would be far more useful to me than 9-noon, for example.

Another just for Dennis, I'd love if you could have your work table/craft area/whatever visible. Maybe not actually open, but a big window or open space that looks into the workshop. Just watching craftsmen (I'm thinking ren faires here) can be it's own draw.

Since the guns are the accessories to your leather, I know I'd seriously consider a package deal. Like holster, gun, spare mags, mag holders, belt, all in one bundle. Or discount combo buys ($25 off the gun when you buy a holster, $5 off belt when you buy a holster).

Prominently post guarantees and warranties, that's a good reason to deal with a person or small shop by itself. Just my opinion again.

In general, if you stock it, stock the accessories/supplies for it. Especially the oddball batteries some of this stuff needs (like lasers). Laser trainers are great, but the batteries can be a pain.

Okay, enough. I got that out and I can do something else now.

Earl Finnegan said...

I've been looking at the gun shops in Philadelphia PA. I want to get into shooting, but I'd like to talk to someone who knows about them.

Anonymous said...

Never forget that as a transfer dealer, if you tell the guy on the telephone you're going to charge him an arm and a leg to do a transfer for a gun he bought online, he will never see the inside of your store and you will never make a penny off of him... EVER!

Sure it's a pain and you don't make any money off of it but it's a loss-leader (an ancient concept known well to all retailers except apparently gun shop owners) that gets potential customers in your door. Do you honestly think your local auto repair shop makes money on $20 oil changes?