Gun Shops Are Hurting
Dr. John Woods 04.24.18
Being in business is tough business. Going out of business is tougher. The thing is in business, if there is more money going out than coming in, then you’re out of business, eventually. That is a simple lesson in small business economics.
Two years ago with considerable fanfare, a good friend left the gun show circuit to fulfill a dream. He opened a full time retail gun shop. He had a space in a brand new strip mall on a main drag highway through a well populated suburb town. The shop was well lighted, appointed with new fixtures, and laid out to easily find merchandise.
The gun stock was well balanced between all types of handguns for target shooting, hunting, and personal protection. His rifle stock included tactical ARs and shotguns, plus a good selection of many brands of hunting guns. He had a complete ammo selection, scopes, and a ton of accessories, cleaning supplies, and reloading equipment. He had it all.
Within two years last weekend, he was locking the doors. Not to blame the elections, but Hillary not winning has depressed the gun business nationally. Shooters, gun owners, and hunters no longer feel pressured to buy additional guns and ammo. Sales suffered, and cash flow declined. Bills overtook income.
A monthly rent of $2100 was tough to meet. Without ready cash, he could not afford to buy more guns from wholesaler discount programs, which are also hurting. Incidentally, profits are not in gun sales, but ammo and accessories. That is when internet sales began to strike the final blows.
All types of gun, shooting and hunting accessories could be easily and quickly ordered on line and delivered right to the buyer’s home address. Often with free shipping and no sales taxes to pay, it became increasingly difficult for a small business retail storefront to compete in such a marketplace. Finally, the decision was made to close his shop and return to his former engineering job. The owner stated he was out of the gun business for good.
A business professor would likely just say that such changes in market conditions along with supply and demand opportunities with other types of merchandise buying options opening up, it was cause and effect that some small businesses would suffer. Of course, this is reality, but it says nothing about ruined dreams, egos, and financial difficulties to overcome.
Is the shooting and hunting industry in a funk right now? Many say so? What we really need is a stronger economy and more people going back to work in well-paying jobs.