While NSSF® has received an overwhelming commitment to SHOT Show® from the exhibitor side of things—the 2021 SHOT Show is now on target to be the largest on record—we wanted to also take in the view from those who mean as much to the show as the manufacturers: the thousands of buyers of all those products those manufacturers make. The ongoing concerns about the pandemic, are, as you might expect, weighing on every retail and range owner’s mind, as much as on anyone else. And with product running tight through the summer, we wanted to hear what buyers were thinking about heading to their annual show still nearly five months away.
The Barnwood Arms Co., Ripon, California
Resting between Stockton and Modesto in Northern California, Barnwood Arms is a home-defense and hunting retailer. The company also has seven indoor shooting lanes that are currently closed due to state and county summer public health safety mandates. The retail store is open and serving just one consumer at a time inside the building.
“Our store owner has been to more than 30 SHOT Shows, and his son has attended since he was 16, and he just turned 40,” said Craig Doherty, Store Manager.
According to Doherty, making sure they attend the annual trade-only SHOT Show isn’t just about friendships. It’s about deals and finding new products. “We buy everything we can at SHOT. It’s a serious buying show for our store and for retailing in the state of California. We need to find every solid new product that fits our state's compliance regulations. There's no show that meets our needs better than SHOT. We’ll be there.”
Wild West Guns, Anchorage, Alaska
This company has two locations, one in Anchorage, Alaska, and another in Las Vegas, Nevada. The retailer sells a variety of hunting and personal-defense firearms. It’s also known as the manufacturer of the Alaskan CoPilot lever-action bear-defense rifle and provides an extensive list of gunsmithing services.
Wild West’s owner says they’re definitely going to SHOT Show. “We would never think of missing a SHOT show. I's imperative for our custom manufacturing business, and it’s critical for our retail stores. Our industry is close-knit, and friendships are just as crucial as business relationships. They’re both essential factors to doing business.” said Jim West, owner.
“We believe in friendships in our business, and I can’t imagine a time when friendship is more relevant than now. SHOT is about establishing relationships and cementing them, because those friendships will carry us all through a long road of challenges.”
Wild West plans to renew its manufacturing booth space and send buying staff to the show. “We’re comfortable with meeting and talking to people in our store, and we will be even more comfortable at SHOT,” he said.
Tacticool Arms, Greeley, Colorado
Located on the north side of Greeley, this retailer specializes in custom modern sporting rifle (MSR) builds and sales. In its seventh year of operation, Tacticool Arms retail and build operations occupy just 600 square feet, and it stocks an average of 100 firearms.
While co-owner Augustin “Gunny” Salas doesn’t head to Vegas every year, things have changed for this small retailer and manufacturer. “We’ve attended SHOT Show about every two years, but this coming year almost demands we be there,” said Salas.
Salas feels strongly that next year’s show will help solidify relationships and provide buying opportunities that positively impact inventory availability for the coming 2021 sales year.
“I can't imagine that 2021 will be a calm year no matter who wins the election,” he said. “I see retail traffic and high demand moving well into the 2021 retail season, and I think we'll be ahead of the game by attending SHOT Show. Being at the show is especially important to finding new companies and new suppliers. We are small and don’t have the volume bigger independents have. That just means we have to work smarter, and that means going SHOT in 2021,” he said.