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Shooting Industry November 2012 - Page 26
Arms Arms and the woman Lisa Parsons-Wraith Shooting For Fun: A Winning Business Strategy T here’s no doubt that owning a firearm comes with a certain responsibility. A gun owner needs to train with her firearm so she can safely use it, and she needs to store it securely so those around her are safe. After these basic tenets are met, however, shouldn’t it be time to have a little fun? The shooting sports offer all kinds of gaming opportunities — whether it’s busting clays or achieving pinpoint accuracy on a target — and women are eager to have some fun with their firearms. Luckily for gun store owners, firearms fun can translate into an active and profitable business. Maxon Shooters Supply & Indoor Range in Des Plaines, Ill., has been in business for 28 years. Claudia Levin, who co-owns Maxon with her husband, Barry, said their female clientele is primarily interested in target practice on the range. “We’re all about fun and practice,” she said. Women come to shoot at Maxon’s to have a good time, Levin continued. “They bring their children, mothers and friends because it’s fun,” she said. “It’s a social time.” Maxon Shooters Supply offers a basic handgun course twice a month and about two-thirds of the course’s clientele are women, according to Levin. “We don’t teach self-defense at the basic handgun class,” she said. “It’s about learning to shoot targets.” A testament to the success of their philosophy? The classes always fill up quickly. Maxon Shooters Supply holds Ladies’ Nights with different themes, including its popular Zombie Huntress Ladies Night, where participants who come dressed in a “zombie hunting uniform” receive a discounted entry fee. Host A Themed Ladies’ Night T his low-key, fun approach is about women getting together and enjoying the shooting sports. To that end, Maxon Shooters Supply holds Ladies’ Nights with different themes and activities. Many of the events include a potluck and are centered around certain holidays. One of the most popular events is the Zombie Huntress Ladies Night held around Halloween. The cost of the event is $18.95, plus zombie targets and ammo, and participants who come dressed in a “zombie hunting uniform” get $5 off their fee. If ladies bring food to share, they get an additional $5 discount. Firearm rentals are free. All participants must have taken a basic handgun safety course. Levin said their Ladies’ Nights are always full, and women enjoy the chance to try all kinds of firearms. Maxon’s playful style has translated into more retail sales and a thriving business for its owners. Ladies’ Nights give women a chance to come in and check out new guns and accessories, and, as a result, sales increase, according to Levin. Maxon’s does a brisk business in all types of firearms, but she noted the Charter Arms Pink Lady revolver and Outdoor Connection’s pink and brown pistol cases have been very popular. Keeping the focus on fun has been such a successful strategy for Maxon Shooters Supply that the company has outgrown its current facility. The new location will feature two separate 75foot ranges for long guns and handguns, two classrooms, a large sales floor, and an optics and pro shop. The self-defense side of firearms will always be the bread and NOVEMBER 2012 butter of the gun industry. However, if those sales have gotten a little sluggish, or you’re just looking to attract some fresh faces, take a more entertainment-oriented approach to the shooting sports. Target companies are constantly coming up with new and entertaining shooting games. The potential increase in business from a fun shooting event is well worth the effort it takes to organize. If you have a range, or can partner with a range, there’s very little financial outlay required other than advertising. You’ll be putting yourself in the position of having a very busy night on the range and realizing an increase in sales. Fun Attracts Fresh Faces 26 The Chic Lady — a sister model to the Pink Lady, which sells well at Maxon Shooters Supply — weighs a mere 12 ounces. Subscribe to SI DIGITAL www.shootingindustry.com