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Jan 19–22, 2021
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Why I Wouldn’t Miss SHOT Show: Retailers See Show as Critical to Staying on Top of Inventory Needs in 2021

Rocky Mountain Shooters Supply, Fort Collins, Colorado

Keeping more than 50 safes and 600 firearms in stock, this retailer has seven indoor shooting lanes along with a 1000-yard outdoor range.

Rocky Mountain Shooter​’s​ Supply has emerged from the last six months with a committed staff, and while there have been significant adjustments to how the store and range do business ​due ​to the pandemic, possibly the biggest ​challenge ​has been fear ​management​.

“The first month seemed so scary. It was frightening to go to work, and I feared for my family and my staff,” said Tim Brough, Owner. “But that has passed into a kind of ​‘​new normal,’​ and today​ I feel strongly that everyone needs to be back at work. We are moving ahead and will attend the 2021 SHOT Show in Las Vegas.”

Like most firearms retailers in the U.S., this store ​experienced record​ sales in 2020. “This may be the most important show in decades,” Brough stated with seriousness. “I think there’s little question that, no matter which way the election goes, there will be continued high demand. The best way for our store to be ready to meet that demand is to spend time with our suppliers, firm up our relationships and get the commitments from our factories and distributors. With high consumer demand and limited manufacturing capacity, I need to secure the right products for next year. I see no other way of doing that other than in person, and that means being at SHOT.”

Brough reported that sales for everything in his store are up. “Even our hunting guns are turning remarkably fast for September. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen the commitment to putting meat in the freezer that we’re seeing this fall. Hunting is up!” he said enthusiastically.

When assembling his team for SHOT, ​Brough said he’ll take precautions for his staff and will ​only ​select members in good health ​and at a lower risk of complications should they contract COVID-19. He said that, naturally, all will follow the rules set by NSSF and ​are committed​ to making this one of the best shows in which his company has ever ​participated​.

Bear Mountain Sports, Bakersfield, California

Bear Mountain Sports has spent the last six months adjusting to strict retailing regulations from the State of California and her local county governments. The storefront ​has three employees and maintains ​a ​combination​ of hunting and home-defense products.

Sales have been exceptional, and by limiting walk-in traffic, ​the store has been allowed to stay open. As it is with all California FFLs​,​ firearms meeting ​the state’s ​restrictions are limited, which is one of the biggest reasons this retailer will not miss the 2021 SHOT Show.

“We have such a short list of compliant firearms, and while I have had some luck with my regular distributors, ​available product is​ diminishing quickly as we head into fall,” said Cynthia Thome, Owner. “I have to meet with my vendors at SHOT. If I don’t, I feel like the limited supply to California retailers will be bought by another retailer, and that translates to reduced inventory for my store in 2021.”

Thome mentioned that she believed this would be the year of the new small vendor, a critical insight. Where will she be looking for them at SHOT? “I think the Level 1 exhibitors in the Sands and new booths in Caesars Forum will be the place to be. There should be an extensive supply of small ​manufacturers​ that will fill the voids the large companies can’t handle right now—and there is no other way to find these small companies unless you’re at SHOT,” she said.

Thome points out that SHOT 2021 may be different than past shows. “I’ll wear a mask, follow the social-distancing rules, and I understand that everyone may have to wait in lines. All of that is okay because my attendance will have an impact of how much product I can sell in 2021. It’s really that simple.”

JAN 19–22, 2021 LAS VEGAS