Carteach0 asks “How do you chose your gun store?” There wasn’t enough space to tell about my favorite gun shop so I’ll do it here.
Great Western Outfitters in Ridgecrest California wasn’t on a main road. In fact it was essentially “in the back” of a few very popular places. Not hidden but not prominently displayed either. The owner of the store, Bob, usually ran the place by himself. Bob had opinions and he wasn’t shy about sharing them. However, the customer was always right and what they wanted they would get even if it had to be ordered.
The inside of the store made it clear this wasn’t a place to come in, make your purchases and get out. The only business I know of with a similar setup, albeit on a larger scale, is Barnes and Noble Bookstores. There were stools at the counter and a couple of chairs and a couch off to one side. Sure you could come in make your purchase and scoot, but it wasn’t expected of you.
This shop had a small community grow around it. Men and women from all walks of life could would come in and exchange ideas, information and techniques. Fresh faces were as welcome as old. Near closing time drinks would be served. As this was a community of shooters, no alcohol was served. Instead cans of Coca-Cola were passed around. All that was asked if you partook is that you occasionally contributed to the Soda cache.
Quite often after the shop had been closed a lot of us would drive to the range. Then we would shoot till dark and sometimes a bit longer. At which time we would head back into town to the local Pizza joint. There we would continue our normal banter for as long as we felt (or until the place closed).
Today I don’t have what I would call a Gun Store. I have shops I go to if I need something right away or if they have a good price (and their service doesn’t suck). Unless I need an FFL though, I usually just purchase what I need online. It’s not that I don’t want to have a Gun Store, it’s just that none have been able to live up to the expectations created by that first one.
My dream is to some day have a shop of my own. I don’t know if I ever will, but if I do my experiences at Great Western Outfitters will be a major contributor to how I set up the place.