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Thread: Opening Gun Shop

  1. #1
    Regular Member 1000ydshooter's Avatar
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    Opening Gun Shop

    After 20 years as a fire fighter im getting out of the game. For the past few years ive been working on a plan to open a gun shop in the area I live.been saving money from the contracts in iraq i did and getting things in order. My wife and i have decided when i get home in May from this contract its time to get things moving. I have looked in the federal firearms regs. My question is are there any state regs on gun shops. I searched the state codes on line and could find none. Any advice on where i may find them or anything else related to opening a shop?
    Last edited by 1000ydshooter; 03-01-2011 at 07:45 PM.

  2. #2
    Founder's Club Member - Moderator ed's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1000ydshooter View Post
    ive been working on a plan to open a gun shop in the aera i live
    What area is that?
    Carry On.

    Ed

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    Regular Member 1000ydshooter's Avatar
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    The Southern end of Isle of Wight county Franklin area.

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    Accomplished Advocate peter nap's Avatar
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    The only one that comes to mind is Zoning. The ATF will only give you an FFL if you're zoned for it.
    That wasn't the case when I had mine so I could run it out of my garage.
    You'll also need a business license and I'd recommend you incorporate.

    Good Luck!

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    Regular Member t33j's Avatar
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    Cool. I'll visit.
    Sic Semper Tyrannis

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    Regular Member TFred's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by peter nap View Post
    The only one that comes to mind is Zoning. The ATF will only give you an FFL if you're zoned for it.
    Just curious, do you mean zoned specifically for a gun shop? Or just commercial retail in general?

    Do all localities even have a specific zoning codes for gun shops?

    TFred

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    How to Make a Million Dollars Selling Guns

    First start with 2 million dollars...
    Unless you can offer something else (range time, ammo, major volume sales) you will most likely go broke. Put together a business plan and a break even sheet. get a great accountant and a lawyer!

    Good luck and thank you for your service to our country.

  8. #8
    Accomplished Advocate peter nap's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TFred View Post
    Just curious, do you mean zoned specifically for a gun shop? Or just commercial retail in general?

    Do all localities even have a specific zoning codes for gun shops?

    TFred
    It has to be in compliance with local zoning laws TFred. The locality may have a specific zoning for gun shops aor they may just require commercial. Some areas like Hanover created a special cottage industry zoning, to allow people to operate an FFL out of their homes.

  9. #9
    Regular Member MSC 45ACP's Avatar
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    I remember a gun shop in Zuni once upon a time. I remember the owner or maybe one of the workers getting shot. This was back in the 70's I think. Is it still around? You may want to check with them to see about local info.
    "If I know that I am headed for a fight, I want something larger with more power, preferably crew-served.
    However, like most of us, as I go through my daily life, I carry something a bit more compact, with a lot less power."
    (unknown 'gun~writer')

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    SERPA retention or concealed...

    "Those who hammer their guns into plows will plow for those who do not." ~Thomas Jefferson
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    Quote Originally Posted by p.publius View Post
    First start with 2 million dollars...
    Unless you can offer something else (range time, ammo, major volume sales) you will most likely go broke. Put together a business plan and a break even sheet. get a great accountant and a lawyer!
    This, especially.

    If you want to be able to get any outside financing (including things like a line of credit from a bank), you are going to need a good business plan that shows realistic evaluations of how you intend to make your business profitable. If you can't provide accurate details (including costs and projected profit margins), you are essentially going to be throwing away your money.

    Who is your market? Who is your competition? How will you differentiate yourself from them? (If you plan to win on price, you're likely to lose unless you have some revolutionary idea.) How much will you need to start? How long can you operate before your money runs out? How do you plan to market yourself? (Marketing is more important than anything else. The greatest business will go under if no one knows it exists.) How much market research have you done? (Hint: do more.)

    My father works as a business consultant in the Spokane area, helping people to take an idea and turn it into a functional (technology) business. The one thing that he stresses over and over again is that you need to have a plan in order to succeed. Too many of his clients come to him with the idea that they have a new product, and the world will beat down their door to get it. In reality, you need the business skills to bring it to market, and you also need to be willing to walk away if it doesn't make good financial sense at this time.

    As one example, he has developed a process for making pen and pencil sets out of wood and 30-06 casings, targeting high end consumers (such as corporate executives) to be marketed through major sporting goods stores (like Dicks, Gander Mountain, Bass Pro, etc). Unfortunately, the manufacturing side developed issues with import/export limitations, and more local manufacturers aren't able to handle the level of volume he would need. Under his business plan, if he can get the manufacturing difficulties fixed at the price point he's worked out, he could be moving over 500000 units within a year at a profit. Unfortunately, his business plan didn't account for the sort of problems he ran into, and so he's had to shelve the project until he can work it out.

    These are all things that come up in the course of creating a business plan, and it's a lot harder than "If you build it, they will come."
    Alma 43:47 - "And again, the Lord has said that: Ye shall defend your families even unto bloodshed...."
    Self defense isn't just a good idea, it's a commandment.

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    Regular Member Old Virginia Joe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MSC 45ACP View Post
    I remember a gun shop in Zuni once upon a time. I remember the owner or maybe one of the workers getting shot. This was back in the 70's I think. Is it still around? You may want to check with them to see about local info.
    Yes, we had a gun dealer there in Isle of Wight Co on Rt. 460 in Zuni til about the early 80s, when he was shot on duty and killed. There is a scooter shop there now. Next town up the road west across the Southampton Co line at Ivor are two gun shops now. Contact the IOW county zoning or attorney office for guidance, 757/357-3191 (switchboard).

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    Regular Member 45acpForMe's Avatar
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    First of all good luck with your endeavor. I try to support local gun shops when reasonable.

    A few thoughts from a gun afficianado:

    1) inventory is costly. Most shops I have visited over the last year have dramatically cut inventory. While this is financially sound it also has the side affect of sending more people on the internet looking for their perfect gun and price.

    2) The internet is the new walmart of guns. With different price engines (gunbroker.com) finding the gun you want with the right price is easy. Assuming you are willing to pay shipping and transfer through an FFL you can save litterally hundreds of dollars over any local inventory. For used guns vaguntrader is great and free. Selling guns there bipasses any consignment cost and usually gets you a decent price.

    3) Gun shows are common. With the current gun show schedule I can hit one almost every weekend if I am willing to drive 1-2 hours. Heck, Hampton has a gun show every two to three months and that is 10 minutes away. A gun show usually offers lots of selection and hands on trials for people trying to decide.

    4) Accessories. Most can be found cheaper online or at national retail stores. Again gun shows have many tables with options.

    So with my limited two cents the only really profitable area is customization. With that you will have to build a reputation and produce a quality product that people are willing to pay more than the cost of doing it themselves. Whether 1911, rifles or shotguns there is alot of good competition out there.

    My best guess for your success is to not quit your (local) day job and open a shop out of your garage or a cheap strip mall. I am expressing my opinion and have never opened a business AND would love for you to succeed and wish you the best.

    Two other areas that are lacking in subject are long distance ranges an commradery areas. For the long distance option I met a woman in Walmart at the ammo counter that said that she and her husband were looking to open a 300/600/1000 yard range in your area. She was excited about getting funding from the state police to build it and they would have dibs for their training schedules (every other weekend or something). I would love to "try" my limited skills at longer ranges and told her as long as fees weren't outrageous I would make the drive a few times a year. The second area I miss is that there is no place for gun owners to get together and talk guns as well as show off their own. I talked to an owner at my local gun store and he said he couldn't allow us to use his training rooms for that purpose once a month because of insurance. I like the range I go to but people don't "hang out" there and there are no extra's like a store (targets, ammo, etc) I wouldn't mind something like a golf country club atmosphere with different seminars, like AR15 maintenence, firearm training etc put on by members.

    Well hope my 2 cents are worth something. :-)

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    Campaign Veteran roscoe13's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 45acpForMe View Post
    Well hope my 2 cents are worth something. :-)
    Less and less every day...

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    Regular Member Thundar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1000ydshooter View Post
    After 20 years as a fire fighter im getting out of the game. For the past few years ive been working on a plan to open a gun shop in the area I live.been saving money from the contracts in iraq i did and getting things in order. My wife and i have decided when i get home in May from this contract its time to get things moving. I have looked in the federal firearms regs. My question is are there any state regs on gun shops. I searched the state codes on line and could find none. Any advice on where i may find them or anything else related to opening a shop?
    FFL 123 is a great site and well worth the few dollars that it costs.
    He wore his gun outside his pants for all the honest world to see. Pancho & Lefty

    The millions of people, armed in the holy cause of liberty, and in such a country as that which we possess, are invincible by any force which our enemy can send against us....There is no retreat but in submission and slavery! ...The war is inevitable–and let it come! I repeat it, Sir, let it come …………. PATRICK HENRY speech 1776

  15. #15
    Regular Member paramedic70002's Avatar
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    Well well Dude! Let me know when you open, I'll be your first browser!

    Anyway, here's my thoughts:

    Find out if Isle of Wight or Franklin is even agreeable to zoning a gun shop. There used to be Kings on southern 258 and one on Main Street so I don't think they'd be against it.

    This is not a heavily populated area so the chances for big money aren't too great unles you are truly unique.

    A range would be a big plus but also bring regulatory issues. See Sussex County thread.

    Accessories and guns may be cheaper on the internet but there's a lot to be said for hands on shopping. I enjoy going to the Carrollton gun shop just because they have a larger holster inventory than most gun shops, so I can test the product.

    Be prepared for a lot of idiotic and/or first time buyers. Patience is a virtue with you and your employees. One of the biggest complaints I hear from customers is that they were treated rudely at a gun store and will never go back. When you get someone who is clueless about what they want, you must be knowledgeable, able to gently educate them without making them feel stupid, and able to refer them to training, etc. Above all don't be afraid to tell a customer you don't know the answer to a question, but you will get the answer for them. People are willing to forego the internet when they can get a friendly straight answer face to face.

    On the other hand, be willing to transfer internet purchases. The customer will appreciate your demeanor and probably come back to you for their further needs. This is also an opportunity to sell ammo, etc.

    Are you going to offer gunsmith services? CHP training? Shooting competition?

    Inventory... I have heard that some manufacturers will float you inventory on credit but they often limit you to what kind of competitors you can retail.

    There was a story in the NRA rag several years ago about a gun store in Los Angeles that took a whole new direction with their store as far as decor, accessories, friendly, range, etc. It was a million dollar store but they were swamped with customers. But then we're not in LA and don't have the same clientele. Out here it's going to be mostly economical self defense pistols and hunting long arms, and accessories.

    Maybe have a few chairs and tables, coffee, whatever to encourage people to be in the store. Happy loiterers turn into buyers and scare off bad guys.

    Don't overlook the female shooter. They are a growing business in gun sales.

    Have an alarm and a safe. Lock your guns up every night. Consider roll down security doors. Harden all other doors and consider that a determined thief will breach a wall.

    Do your research. Find gun owners and ask them what would bring them into a gun shop.

    I'm sure there's lots more good advice out there. Good luck! And keep in touch, I'll be glad to help anyway I can.
    Last edited by paramedic70002; 03-03-2011 at 03:22 PM.
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    Regular Member MSC 45ACP's Avatar
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    Gun shop and range

    If you happen to get this thing going and also have a range, I'll toss my hat in the ring if you need any instructors. 22 years as a military marksmanship instructor and range master. Able to teach basic, combat and match shooting techniques. I've been looking arond for a place to teach for a while. I'm retired but also disabled. I can still teach but can't do a lot of the physical stuff I used to. Keep me in mind and let me know if you want an extra body for your endeavour.
    "If I know that I am headed for a fight, I want something larger with more power, preferably crew-served.
    However, like most of us, as I go through my daily life, I carry something a bit more compact, with a lot less power."
    (unknown 'gun~writer')

    Remington 1911 R1 (Back to Basics)
    SERPA retention or concealed...

    "Those who hammer their guns into plows will plow for those who do not." ~Thomas Jefferson
    (Borrowed from "The Perfect Day" by LTC Dave Grossman)

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    Regular Member 1000ydshooter's Avatar
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    Ok Guys sorry I havent answered before now,ive been off island diving for a few days and just got back.Thanks for all the advice,ill try to answer your questions and tell you what im thinking about.
    When I was home from Iraq working contracts id work at Bass Pro in Hampton for a few months to make some pocket money and for the discount. I know a lot of guys in the area I live, that i have grown up around/with. They all hated driving a hour or more just to get basic stuff for hunting and shooting. There are a few gun shops out here in western tidewater but no where that has a good selection of hunting stuff. What im looking at is starting out with a good basic firearms selection both longgun and handgun. Looking to carry archery and black powder as well as these are my main area of hunting speciality. A good selection of cloths,and good needed hunting gear. Will work on archery equipment as well. Wana make this a place you can come in talk shop,have some free coffee and sit a spell, a nice welcoming place like ones I knew growing up in Isle of wight.
    My wife makes good money to help keep things paid for at home till this picks up but im not looking to live off her, just aint my way. If things go well after a few years expand into some type of range operation and instruction. but out here most folk that shoot alot just go to the family farm like I do. Paramedic and I grew up together and he knows the type of person i am and how seriously I take my shooting and hunting. If he stops by after I open, I will put him to work dont matter if he like it or not he likes it or not (watch out Alan). Thanks for all the help so far, any feedback would be appreciated.
    Last edited by 1000ydshooter; 03-06-2011 at 06:13 PM.

  18. #18
    Accomplished Advocate peter nap's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1000ydshooter View Post
    Ok Guys sorry I havent answered before now,ive been off island diving for a few days and just got back.Thanks for all the advice,ill try to answer your questions and tell you what im thinking about.
    When I was home from Iraq working contracts id work at Bass Pro in Hampton for a few months to make some pocket money and for the discount. I know a lot of guys in the area I live, that i have grown up around/with. They all hated driving a hour or more just to get basic stuff for hunting and shooting. There are a few gun shops out here in western tidewater but no where that has a good selection of hunting stuff. What im looking at is starting out with a good basic firearms selection both longgun and handgun. Looking to carry archery and black powder as well as these are my main area of hunting speciality. A good selection of cloths,and good needed hunting gear. Will work on archery equipment as well. Wana make this a place you can come in talk shop,have some free coffee and sit a spell, a nice welcoming place like ones I knew growing up in Isle of wight.
    My wife makes good money to help keep things paid for at home till this picks up but im not looking to live off her, just aint my way. If things go well after a few years expand into some type of range operation and instruction. but out here most folk that shoot alot just go to the family farm like I do. Paramedic and I grew up together and he knows the type of person i am and how seriously I take my shooting and hunting. If he stops by after I open, I will put him to work dont matter if he like it or not he likes it or not (watch out Alan). Thanks for all the help so far, any feedback would be appreciated.
    Sounds like you've thought it through. Let us know how we can help when you get it moving!

  19. #19
    Regular Member Thundar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by peter nap View Post
    It has to be in compliance with local zoning laws TFred. The locality may have a specific zoning for gun shops aor they may just require commercial. Some areas like Hanover created a special cottage industry zoning, to allow people to operate an FFL out of their homes.
    I recently went through the FFL licensing process. Most localities allow a home internet sales business. You don't have to tell the zoning people it will include firearms.

    You can be an FFL that does business over the internet and at gun shows, but not a gunshow only FFL.

    Consider a manufacturers license. $50 less to start and allows you to assemble firearms from parts.
    He wore his gun outside his pants for all the honest world to see. Pancho & Lefty

    The millions of people, armed in the holy cause of liberty, and in such a country as that which we possess, are invincible by any force which our enemy can send against us....There is no retreat but in submission and slavery! ...The war is inevitable–and let it come! I repeat it, Sir, let it come …………. PATRICK HENRY speech 1776

  20. #20
    Regular Member paramedic70002's Avatar
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    http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=583519

    Similar thread on another forum that you might want to watch.
    "Each worker carried his sword strapped to his side." Nehemiah 4:18

    Guns Save Lives. Paramedics Save Lives. But...
    Paramedics With Guns Scare People!

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