Unique Tactics for Retail Success with Glenn Jones of Lawful Defense

About This Episode

In today’s episode of Tactical Business, host Wade Skalsky sits down with Glenn Jones of Lawful Defense, a former deputy sheriff turned entrepreneur in the firearms industry. Glenn shares his transition from being a basic firearm consumer to opening his own gun store while juggling a career in law enforcement. Join us as we explore the strategic maneuvers and entrepreneurial spirit driving the success of gun clubs.

Insights In This Episode

  • Glenn’s journey from basic firearm consumer to successful business owner highlights the potential for entrepreneurial growth in niche markets.
  • Offering FFL transfers as a service not only addressed customer needs but also became a cornerstone of Glenn’s business model.
  • Leveraging regulatory advantages, like the ATF’s “Range Protection Act,” can provide a competitive edge in the firearms industry.
  • Diversifying revenue streams, such as through NFA item sales and on-site usage, strengthens the overall financial health of a firearms business.

About Tactical Business

Tactical Business is the weekly business show for the firearms industry. The podcast features in-depth interviews with the entrepreneurs, professionals and technologists who are enabling the next generation of firearms businesses to innovate and grow.

Episode Transcript

Wade: Welcome to the Tactical Business Show. I’m your host, Virginia Beach based firearms entrepreneur and copywriter Wade Skalsky. Each episode will be exploring what it takes to thrive as a business owner in the firearms industry. We’ll speak with successful firearms industry entrepreneurs about their experiences building their companies, leaders and legislators who are shaping the industry, and tech executives whose innovations will reshape the future of the firearms industry. Let’s get after it.

Wade: Welcome to the Tactical Business Podcast.

Wade: I am your host, Wade Skalsky, and today we are talking with Glenn Jones down in sunny Florida. Although today I think it’s raining a bit. Mr. Jones, how are you doing today?

Glenn: Doing very good. Thank you.

Wade: Good, good. Now where in Florida are you again?

Glenn: Gainesville, Florida. About an hour from Georgia.

Wade: Gainesville, Florida is like Texas where it’s you got to get specific on the geography because it’s much bigger than people actually think in their brain if they have actually never been to Florida. But I’m excited to talk to you today. And where I always like to start is give me a little bit of background about how you got into firearms and a little bit of an origin story about what you’re doing now.

Glenn: Okay, I was a pretty basic firearm consumer. I bought a shotgun on my 18th birthday, a handgun on my 21st birthday, and it actually dug into the statute and figured out that I could end my waiting period on my birthday, so I was able to pick it up on my birthday. Probably just a very regular consumer had some property where I would shoot clay targets, try to hunt a little birds, dove hunt, that kind of thing. But then at that point in time, I was in a retail cell phone business. When I was from 18 to 28, I had a dozen cell phone stores and then sold that company and decided I wanted to figure out what I wanted to do when I grow up, and ended up going to become a deputy sheriff. So it was a deputy for a little over ten years, but opened the gun store. 2 or 3 years in is my intention to be night and weekend hobby business, help my buddies buy guns, that kind of thing. I actually filled out my FFL application in the parking lot of a competitor after getting horrendous service at retail and said, oh my God, somebody’s got to do better.

Glenn: And 8 or 10 weeks later, my FFL showed up and my wife said, what’s this? And I said, we talked about this. I was going to do get an FFL, have a gun store. And she says, oh, you did that. Okay. It’s just a side thing. So nights and weekends lasted for. 8 or 10 weeks. And I had such a response and so much traffic in my area, the appointments were driving me crazy. 12 weeks later, I had full time hours and staff and continued that way for several years, maintaining my deputy position on midnight shift patrol. It worked really good because I got off work at seven in the morning. I could go tend to some things for a few hours at the shop, go home, go to bed around noon and get back up and do it again. So I was on like a 6 to 6 kind of rotation at the sheriff’s office, working the night side, and I could put in a few hours in the morning and then get back at it the next day. So the patrol schedule was phenomenal for private business because you have so many weekdays off.

Wade: And did you guys do a like a five on, four off kind of thing or I know firemen, they get it. I talked to my firemen buddies and they have the most ridiculous schedules in the history of time. This was in California though, so I don’t know how it is in Florida, but yeah, so.

Glenn: My sheriff’s office rotated twelves and so you would have every other weekend off, but it would work like a Monday, Tuesday on Wednesday, Thursday off, Friday, Saturday, Sunday on and then opposite. So the next week you had Monday Tuesday off just Wednesday Thursday on and then Friday, Saturday Sunday off. Well got it. So it was a really easy week for doing other daytime activities and things like that.

Wade: I got a couple questions. Based off of your history, it seems like, number one that you were very entrepreneurial right from the jump. You basically had your own phones, your own line of phone stores, or got into the cell phone business right away. So what was it that made you decide, oh, I think I want to own my own business? Was did you come from a family of people who owned businesses or how did that work out?

Glenn: Yeah. So the cell phone business was a family business. We were the first dealer in the region. And that goes back to what, I guess it opened in 1988 when I would have been ten years old. So the cell phone business was at the time, if you remember, you’re about the same age as me. Looks like we’re all bag phones and installed phones in cars. So my father had automotive service repair centers, and we initially started selling phones back when you needed service bays and install techs because all the phones were getting installed in cars. So when I got out of high school and was going to the community college locally here, it was right about the time where we started doing handhelds. And so my move with the company was to start retail mall stores. It was the heyday of starting to have the cell phone stores in the mall with the 500 different color face plates and all that kind of stuff. So that angle of the business got me just into retailing. I had the 12 stores when I was 19 years old. I had 90 employees.

Wade: So I know the answer to this question, but I’m going to ask it anyways because I want to I think it’s important it says, do you think that experience of running in retail and doing cell phones and all that helped you when you opened up the firearm, you opened up the gun store?

Glenn: Absolutely. I started from a standpoint of being a consumer enthusiast, but knew how to retail and so much carryover in just stocking appropriately and merchandising and marketing and selling your holsters and cleaning kits and lubricants and all that. Lots of carryover from the retail business.

Wade: Yeah, I think people think that guns are a different animal because of the regulation. But at the end of the day, it’s just a widget, right? So in terms of from selling it or promoting it or marketing it, it’s you use the exact same. So if you have a skill marketing or something else you can 100% market guns. Yeah.

Glenn: With the exception of some of the advertising and marketing restrictions like the SEO side of web marketing is way different. We can’t buy Google and buy Facebook ads and that kind of thing. But aside from the marketing restrictions, yes, the inventorying, the retailing, the product presentation is all very similar.

Wade: Yeah. And you have the regulation obviously with the FFL side of things. And so I write for the firearms industry. Right. So I do like newsletters and I go straight for people and whatever. And so but it is the same. Right. Because I also do it for say for alternate alternative health products. You wouldn’t think that those things are the same, but they’re almost exactly the same, except for some of the restrictions that you talk about. And I think it’s important that people realize that not only for people who are thinking about getting into the business, but for people who are already in the business. Because that leads me to my next question is, what do you think it was about your specific business that you suddenly you were just swamped with appointments because obviously you had competitors in the region. You were a part time store. There had to be other gun stores. Why immediately were you so busy?

Glenn: I think that it was the service level. I think that there was a big void. There was an only show in town and it was stagnant. And my experience from a consumer, very basic consumer level, I. Had been probably 5 or 6 years since I bought a firearm, and I had a particular firearm that I wanted. It was when it was the new hotness. It was an American Rifleman magazine. I wanted a Ruger Gunsite Scout. And it wasn’t a crazy purchase. It wasn’t super high money. It just it was new hotness at the time. As someone who knew nothing about allocations, a clerk just laughed me out of the store and told me I basically wasn’t important enough to buy that gun, and they would give it to one of their best customers, and I’d never see it.

Wade: I don’t know what allocations is. I’m not a retail at all. So what does that mean?

Glenn: So when the newest, hottest firearms come out, there’s never enough supply that you will find it on the shelf. So the distributors leverage the hotter product with selling regular product. So when you want this particular model that they can’t keep in stock, they try to get you to make additional purchases. It gets to the point where the hottest firearms are in high demand with the inability to supply them, and they get steered towards your best customers and your best business, or they get sacrificed to just pure revenue side. When something’s very new, you’re two options are get it to a good customer who really wants it or. Sell it in an auction format and get maximum return from it. Or if you put it out at regular price. When it’s in super high demand, you just are leaving money on the table or not serving your customers because it’ll go from your shop to gunbroker later that afternoon, where some customers saw that it was a deal and bought it, and then they’re going to make extra on it.

Wade: It’s almost like scalping tickets, right? So like when you’re like when Taylor Swift comes out with tickets, like all the brokers go to buy the tickets and then they resell them on the secondary market, basically.

Glenn: Exactly.

Wade: Is that why when I’ll see a bundle, maybe. So I’ll see. Oh, there’s this, this newer gun. But it’s they’re gonna they’re only will sell it when it’s bundled with this expensive optic and they trick it out kind of thing. Is that what they’re doing in that situation or are they just trying to.

Glenn: Absolutely. And the distributors try that as well, particularly the smaller distributors. They try to leverage their hottest product and do these bundles. And this quid pro quo where if you buy five X’s you can have a Y. And I strongly resist that. I want my distributors to we were loyal to them. We give them good business. But when they come at me with a blatant quid pro quo, I just several of my reps know that I just hang up on them. I say do not come at me with the buy 12 of our worst things to get one of the good ones, right.

Wade: Well, and I think it’s shortsighted to do that because there is a lifetime value for a customer, especially on a brick and mortar. Right? So if I’m a new customer and I want the newest, hottest thing, and I’ve never been in your store before and I can get it from you and I have a good experience, good customer experience, I have good follow up. I’m treated with respect because when I walk into a store, I’m a regular consumer. I’m like, you were back when you were buying stuff. I only have a few guns. I’m a normal person, but the place that I go, they treat me like I. Then I might as well be like a Special Forces guy. That has been like 50 years of experience and has 600 people following me on gun Twitter or something, right? They really treat me well even though I asked them dumbest questions. I just asked you what’s allocation? Right? So I think a lot of brick and mortar stores, they do a disservice themselves to make it transactional. Like the internet. The internet’s transaction. But brick and mortar has an advantage over the internet, but they don’t utilize it. Is that your experience?

Glenn: Yeah, it’s definitely an advantage. And the only reason the independent standalone firearm store exists is because of the obstacles that regulation puts in to everything. Going internet, like people are scared away by dealing with ATF and dealing with an FFL and that kind of thing. But it’s the only reason a bricks and mortar can still exist, because the internet would just absolutely slay it. If Amazon could sell guns, we’d be in trouble, right? That’s a fact because it’s just it’s just very difficult. So. With the FFL and even with the transfer process. Our store is an endpoint for even the internet buyers. But there is a good amount of internet business going on, but we really fight to claw that back and get that business back from the users. Streamlining and making special orders smooth. Doing our best to price match the internet when we can, but it really all comes down to making a customer relationship, making them comfortable in the store. If you have that, they will make effort to do business with you. You can’t be ridiculously overpriced, right? By the time they deal with shipping and transfer and endpoint delivery with us, we can get close. And that’s good enough if you have a good relationship. Well, and I.

Wade: Think this is what the silver lining of government regulation right, is. So you’ll have these people who are like, I should be able to order an M60 to my house. Okay. Yeah, I understand that stance of the Second Amendment, but that’s not going to happen anytime soon. But one of the benefits, I think, of having that regulation is that if I have to go to an FFL and pick up a weapon right, then I’m actually meeting real people and I’m being exposed to knowledge. I’m being exposed to a safe place to train and being exposed to a safe place like a range. Right. And so in certain instances and so that really in some, in some way, the brick and mortar contact points really make things safer for everyone.

Glenn: Yeah. When I opened the the legacy competitor would not accept transfers. And that’s part of the retail store’s name is Lawful Defense Guns and Transfers. And that was almost all of my marketing for the first several years was willingness to receive transfers, meeting customers and absolutely cementing those customer relationships once they’re in the store, getting their next guns, getting add on guns, getting accessories, and ultimately becoming their local gun store.

Wade: Well, that’s a that’s a retail concept, right? Like a loss leader, right? Like you’re like, okay, this is a pain in the ass that we have to do this transfer and get it. And we whenever we have to hold it and do all the paperwork. But then you actually get a human being in your store. That was a buyer, right? And that is gold in retail, right? That is gold. Yeah.

Glenn: And it’s a huge training point because your counter staff can see the transfers as a pain in the ass and not recognize that you have live body in front of you and that this is the foundation of your relationship with them. So efficiency in handling it, but also taking it as a marketing opportunity, it’s not we’re not in the business of selling the $30 transfer. That’s not what we’re doing. We’re having that customer contact and turning them into a long term customer.

Wade: Well, and also to and I think people that aren’t in business don’t understand this is that it’s a buyer.

Glenn: Right. Absolutely.

Wade: If you give me a list of a thousand people that are interested in guns, there’s only a small percentage of those that are actually going to be buyers. Right? So but a list of buyers that is gold because just and I always say this is a gun is like a tattoo. It’s, it’s I don’t have any tattoos because I know if I got one I would get more. And so same with guns. It’s like you buy a gun, you are going to buy another gun. Because thinking about.

Glenn: The next one.

Wade: Because there’s so much depth to firearms and there’s the different verticals as well. You can go pistol, you can go hunting, you can go target whatever. So I think that’s a genius movement. It’s easy to see why you’re successful. So tell me a little bit more about your store. Like do you guys have is it just guns and transfers or do you have a training element there or do you have what do you guys do from that perspective?

Glenn: Okay, so we opened the retail store in 2012 and we used to do basic firearm safety classes, basically concealed weapon permit, permit seeking classes at some rural property. I had actually at my parents farm, I set up a decent berm and backstop and used to do them there. Did them once a month there for several years, always had a push and a desire for more advanced training. Better scenario. There was not. We have three ranges north and south of town about an hour each direction. Okay, that are both national forest ranges, but they were bad reputation, no supervision reputed as dangerous people go down range and having their stuff stolen from the bench, that kind of thing. It was just not a good scene. And in 2017, I took control of the Gainesville target range, okay. Which it was a private facility and it was a members only facility when I took over and ultimately bought it. The structure was a little weird for a while. I leased it for several years before I bought the facility, but I leased it turnkey members and all, and that let me make the jump that I probably couldn’t have made cash flow wise until I had control of it for a couple of years. But the first thing I did. Day passes. And monthly recurring memberships. Okay. They were all annual previously, and we’re a young professional and college town. Not everybody had the cash flow, and they were. I came in like a little bit of Undercover Boss thing.

Glenn: I came in as a new hire and it already took over the place, but I went to work for the people that were currently managing it. They didn’t know I was hearing several times a month. Yeah, sorry. The annual was the only way on the property and they’re just turning down people left and right at the counter. And and it was some of it was a technology thing. They were very disorganized. The billing system wasn’t good. When I finally took over and changed gears, I put in a new point of sale system. Got tokenized credit card storage. So now we have recurring monthly billing or set it and forget it. Continuous membership renewal. But anyway, so the target Range facility is a 40 acre outdoor facility. Initially we took it over with three well, really four suitable ranges on it did a significant expansion in 2018. Now we have 13 suitable bays. And another huge thing, when I took over the facility, it was very competition focused. Basically, the general manager of the facility was super into competitive shooting and he was an excellent shooter, but his passion was clearly. The competitive matches and that was his sole focus. We had members buying an annual membership and much like the health club business, you’re going to have members that are here every day that you probably lose money on. But you’ve also got members buying an annual membership that may come out 2 or 3 times a year.

Glenn: Okay. That may be the most that they use it 2 or 3 times a year. And these guys were repeatedly closing the whole facility like Friday, Saturday, Sunday for building a match, hosting a match, tearing down a match. The guy that. The guy that comes out three times a year. He doesn’t care if it’s one weekend a month. If it’s the weekend that he wants to come shoot and he shows up at the gate and his membership is worthless, you’re closed. It’s no good. You cannot build and maintain a member base that way. Now, the competitive matches are labor intensive. But they haven’t built memberships. They’re cash and carry. You get what you get from the gate. They haven’t really built anything long term. And so day one, when we took over, we said our long range rifle AR AR. At that time our range was 100 yards and one primary member bay, which is a 25 yard pistol bay. That pistol, rifle or shotgun into the berm 25 yards will never close. Period. And the competitors were furious. Now the facility had five bays. They could now use three of them. I said, sorry, we’re never, ever closing the rifle bay. We’re never, ever closing the pistol bay, ever, and totally changed the focus to membership. The members will always have a place to shoot any day that we’re open and we’re open seven days a week. It’s just not closing. And there was gnashing of teeth and matches fell off and people quit coming and that kind of thing.

Glenn: But we made more money, right? The membership began to grow, doing the monthly recurring membership and doing the absolutely Always Open membership is the priority of the facility made a huge difference. We’re blessed to have fantastic trainer. Bill quirk has been training at our facility, I think, for over 20 years, and we police together, and I was familiar with Bill when I took over the facility. He was hamstrung a lot by the prior management. The match director general manager fancied himself a trainer as well, and so Bill’s training was very limited and he wasn’t allowed to do a lot of what he wanted to do with the facility, with other instructors. Well, Bill is now the range master overall and in charge of our training division. We now have four instructors and a very busy class schedule something going on every weekend. But the 2018 expansion that we did let us go back to having with 13 bays. Now we have room to have the five and six stage competitive matches without closing anything to our general access members, so it’s definitely made a huge difference. The competitions are back, there’s something going on every weekend and we had to get over that hurdle though to do the expansion. We had to build the membership. The membership is still the focus of the facility and they come before, quite frankly, the competitive matches.

Wade: Yeah, there’s a lot on the back there because so and I think it comes back to what we talked about earlier, is how people don’t understand the importance of the entrepreneurial business side, because and this happens a lot, and I see it in terms of people who have a hobby and they have a passion, and then they monetize their passion, but then they don’t realize there’s this whole other world of stuff that they could be doing. Like you were saying, is in terms of keeping it limited to the just the, the competition. But if you think about a long term, well, you want to develop new competition shooters. Well, the only way that you’re going to do that is to have a big influx of people who are members who get to shoot a lot and be like, see that? Oh, I’d like to do that. And then that’s another way to go into training, that’s another way to go in a competition. And so but in a business has to make money to stay open.

Glenn: Yeah. In the I guess the second year at the range, new manager and a new learning experience, I had a young guy who was an experienced retailer, but just a phenomenal competitive shooter, had a passion for doing that. And he should have been maybe 80% pro shop. Okay, there’s a retail gun shop at the range as well as now my legacy Lawful Defense store across town. So he should have been 80% pro shop selling memberships and product and and working and maybe 20% competitive matches. And it was probably the other 80 over 20 where he was so focused on competition that the pro shop was neglected. So we moved away from the rain, facilitated matches. We were 100% club based. Now we were building a match on paid labor, probably 12 to 14 hours, paid labor to build all the stages, match director, employee doing it, building it, then running it day of and then tearing it down for another 6 or 8 hours. Paid labor. And there’s no money in it. We’re talking about getting 5060 shooters at 20, 25 bucks a head. Okay, so there’s just no money in all that paid labor. And the shooters, quite frankly, don’t the competitors. Obviously want somebody else to do it, but the business model doesn’t work. And when we were doing it for them, they definitely let us. There’s no question that they would like that. And it got to the point where I was looking at the finances and said, look, we just can’t do this match.

Glenn: We’re not going to do it anymore. And now we split the range fee with the clubs. The clubs are entities that bank or some of the clubs. We hold a budget for them, of their money for whatever, but they buy their targets, they buy their posters and if they want other stuff, they save up and buy it too. We’ve got clubs that have bought nice steel arrays, we’ve got clubs that do these other things. But the key is it is volunteer run, volunteer match director. We have ones that we’ve developed a level of comfort with, and they rally up club members to build the match, do the building of it, do the running of it and tear it down. We’re operating as a facility that’s hosting them. We provide them stick stands and cardboard and they provide any other targets and posters and that kind of thing. That model works. It has become at least revenue positive. We’re not making a fortune off of hosting matches, but we get approached about, will you do this match or will you do that match? And the answer is, if you can put enough people together to organize and run it and do it safely and meet our quality or meet our safety standards, then we’re happy to host it. And that has made the difference in in whether or not we could even afford to do competition here anymore.

Wade: This episode is brought to you by TacticalPay.com. Every few years, it seems large banks and national credit card processors suddenly decide that they no longer want to process payments for firearms and firearms related businesses, and so they drop these businesses with almost no notice, freezing tens of thousands of dollars in payments for months on end. If you want to ensure your partner with a payments provider that is dedicated to supporting the firearms industry, or you just want to find out if you could be paying less for your ACH, debit and credit card processing, visit TacticalPay.com. Again, that’s TacticalPay.com.

Wade: Do you find that the matches now are of a better quality than the matches were in the previous model, or are they about the same as it? Was there a drop off in quality?

Glenn: At first we had a very good match director. He was building complex and interesting stages and he was known for it. People were coming from far and wide to participate, and the club has taken a little while to develop and to get back to that level, and the club goes in cycles. You’ll have any club or organisation, you have a few pillars that are carrying the workload and they’ll last a couple of years and then they’ll fizzle out and say, look, I need somebody else to do this and maybe it’ll drop off and come back. And we’ve learned that we just have to be open to that. We have to transition through who’s going to put in the effort. And when they do, it thrives. And when they don’t, ultimately, something will rise to replace the event and they’ll say, just don’t want to do it anymore.

Wade: The reason why I ask is because there’s this through line with a lot of these different conversations that I have all aspects of the firearm industry, where is that there is this need for involvement of everyone in the community. So it used to be where the way that things were previously is that you could just be like in a kind of a leave me alone, send a situation, I’m gonna do my thing and that’s going to be fine. But in every area that I’m seeing, from the legislative area to the state level to what you’re talking about now, is I think firearms owners need to understand is that there needs to be a little bit more advocacy out of everybody in involvement, out of everybody, to not only convert new people, but also just to make it a more vibrant community. And I’m not trying to put a responsibility on people, but if people want to continue to use firearms in the way they want to use them, like involvement is almost a necessity.

Glenn: Yeah, we had a match that I really enjoyed and we’re not currently running it anymore. It was called Steel Challenge. It’s a whole organization and really neat matches. They were simple and we had more of a senior crowd for them. And it’s because among all the different competitive shooting avenues, there’s a lot less running and a lot less physical. There’s some movement, but it’s much more limited than, say, the USPSA pistol or the Multigun matches. And we lost our club organizer and there was a real push some a lot of the members were wanting us to go back to running the Steel Challenge match. And I looked at it and I looked at the numbers and the turnout and that kind of thing. And it’s typically an eight stage match, so it takes a lot of real estate, but we do. We have room to host it and I’d say, well. If you can put a group together to run it, that’s great. We can do it for 20 bucks. And if they want staff to run it. I was like, they’re like, we don’t want to do that. We just need to come and shoot. I can’t do it. I’m not doing that anymore. He’s like, would you pay 50? And they’re like, no, that’s ridiculous. We could never pay 50. And I’m okay. Well, those are the options because that takes to run a match. If I’m only getting 20 guys for it, we’re going to need to build it and staff it and do the labor for it. And so ultimately just fallen away. And we’ve gone to other groups. I wish we could have that shooting for them, but. They don’t understand the work that goes into it for 20 bucks. It just simply wasn’t worth it.

Wade: Well, there’s a momentum part of it too, right? So if you have this continuity program that you have with the memberships that funds everything, everything comes off of that. People don’t understand that just like normal people don’t understand firearms, firearms, people don’t understand business.

Glenn: There are a lot of gun enthusiasts in the gun business. That just aren’t business people. Yeah. And there’s a lot of. Yeah. And I think that’s where we’ve excelled is focusing on the business mechanisms of the firearms store, the stores run solely by enthusiasts. You can almost you can look at their inventories and you can see, okay, this is really neat stuff, but not always appropriate for their market, not appropriate for their clientele that’s coming in. You have to stock and carry what sells, and you have to make business decisions that aren’t always what’s the most fun on the range, that kind of thing. They don’t always go together, but when we have the business side succeeding, we can provide better, fun opportunities and do things on the range in a safe way that is still sustainable. We’re not going to be a flash in the pan and be gone next year because of all the cool projects we did out here.

Wade: Well, that’s why conversations like this are so important, because we want people in the firearms community to see, okay, it’s not enough to be passionate. It’s not enough to work really hard. Like you have to get some of the soft business skills, as well as some of the hard business skills to be successful. And the more successful firearms businesses we have, the stronger the community is.

Glenn: That’s all true.

Wade: And I think this is an important concept for people to understand is that you have a successful, strong business, let’s say from the continuity, from the membership side. It allows you to take flyers on things. So I don’t know if you drink beer, I don’t drink beer anymore. But Allagash White, for example, Allagash is a beer company that’s in the northwest, and 90% of their sales is one beer and that’s Allagash White. But what that does is it allows them to do all these other swirly things that don’t sell anything, and they just take flyers on and be creative about. But everyone thinks it’s the reverse. Everyone thinks it’s, oh, you get to do 90% of, I’m going to sell 90% of these really obscure guns and stuff, and then I’m going to sell 10% blocks because I just said whatever. And it’s the reverse. Yeah.

Glenn: It’s true. You’ve got to establish a sustainable routine, regular business model, and then you can do the wild projects from there.

Wade: Yeah, exactly. So you’ve moved into the gun store, got the gun store going. You got the range property. Now, you said that you have a couple different retail stores, something across town. So walk me through all the businesses that you have and where they are.

Glenn: Okay. So the original store, Lawful Defense is, is about 3 or 4 miles from the range right around the corner from the range. It’s on a high traffic US highway. It’s right off a US 441, and it’s a kind of a feeder outskirt of our town, Gainesville, Florida. We’re really in the city of Alachua. The Lawful Defense store is.

Wade: Type.

Glenn: Alachua. Gotcha. Yeah. So the shooting range has a small retail store like 1200 square. We call it Pro shop, a little more tailored to consumables, ammo range, supplies. There are firearms. It’s our leading source for NFA item flagship for NFA. The big selling point there is you can check out and use your silencer suppressor, or machine gun on property while you’re waiting for approval. So huge leg up on other retailers in the NFA business. Less or so now. We’ve lately been getting very quick approvals three four weeks, two weeks. Somebody recently got 1 in 5 days.

Wade: Yeah. People suppressor recruiter I don’t know if they just shut that down, but I know for a little bit the suppressor approval time was ridiculous. People like well that’s because there are people who are waiting since October and other people are getting now, for whatever reason, are processing much faster.

Glenn: Yeah. So less of a competitive edge if that environment holds. But we’ll see. We’ll see how long that environment holds.

Wade: That’s not that’s not going to hold. I would bet you $1 million. That doesn’t hold.

Glenn: But when we were 12, 14, 15, 18 months long, being able to use it on property is a huge competitive advantage. So we have a cabinet full of pending NFA items that they just come in and check it out, leave their driver’s license, use it on property. Atf says it’s not a transfer until it leaves. So we are able to put it in their hands the day they buy it to go use it and and play with it. So that’s been a big advantage for the retail on the NFA stuff.

Wade: Another business look another business principle. Go figure. That’s working. Yeah.

Glenn: We do a lot of short barrel rifles and suppressors, primarily suppressors. Occasional machine gun will trade in some post 86 machine guns. We have a manufacturer license. So we have several modern machine guns available for use here on property. But it’s not a significant part of our business. That’s one of the the wild and crazy things that we talked about. You need the sustainable business for. But there’s some things that are nice to have. We’ll have events out here where we’ll bring out a belt fed gun and different charity events or whatnot. We’ll let them sell strips of belt fed ammo and have a range officer sitting at the gun so that they can come load it up and shoot a belt through the gun for the charity. That kind of nice.

Wade: So you have the the gun store and then the range, and then you have another store. Cross town, you said?

Glenn: No, just the two. So just in the range. Got it. The pro shop co-located at the range. It’s right off the parking lot. And you enter the range through the pro shop. And then the the retail store. Got it.

Wade: And then so what? So you got to have you got that entrepreneurial bet. You’ve got to have a plan for the next five years. Right. Is there any are you just going to be dialing things in for the next five years. You have a plan for another store. Like where is your mind going? For sure. This is going to happen at this to happen. Where are you going? So.

Glenn: So retail firearms in my limited experience were sitting 14 years now or some 1213 years now. We have run counter to the economy. We struggled the most in late 2017 early 2018 industry calls. Calls it Trump slump. We had absolutely no fear of gun control, even though some of the administrative agency actions have been less than favorable during Trump administration. Just it slid down everybody’s priority list. You got ten things you want as a consumer. You’re thinking about that boat. You’re thinking about that side by side. You’re. Taking your recreational money. Do this, that and the other. And I found the guns were sliding down people’s urgency list and priority list just because they could they could do it later. Yeah. There’s 4 or 5 things I want, but I also want to redo the kitchen or I want to do this, I want to do that. So that urgency and the economic good times that we were having then hit this industry different and. On the flip side of that coin, it just seems like when people get tight and when people when the economy is not doing real great, we’ve got high inflation, interest rates are up, that kind of thing. People are making room for these guns in their budget and they still they prioritize it. They want to get this before regulation change. They want to get it while they can, so to speak. But the the what brings me on to this is that the recurring revenue, the membership model has become my focus. And we were really struggling with just retail when we bought the range operation. And the range operation is my focus now, and I don’t think I will do bricks and mortar retail without a range. So when it comes to expansion, I look at places that would accommodate a retail with outdoor range or a large indoor facility with range.

Wade: Yeah, I have a my range is indoor and it’s huge. So they have an archery range there. They have the they have two, two separate ranges and then they have the retail and then all the gear and everything whatever. And and yeah, if I can see the benefit of having all at one place and so are you looking to, to, to expand within Florida or are you going to go somewhere else or what are you?

Glenn: So when I bought my range, I spent some good money and probably among the best money I ever did. I spent some money with some consultants. Uh, National Shooting Sports Foundation has some consultants available, and we did a real deep dive demographic study on my area. And I had a commercial property and plans for a 12,000 square building with basically retail and an indoor range. And the consultants came back and they said. Don’t do it in your area. They said. If you want to be in the range business, go buy that one. And ultimately I did. They didn’t think we had the demographics. To support the second facility. They said, oh, I want to say at that time they said you wanted, uh, three quarter million people within 45 minute drive of the facility who needed the facility. Okay. Well, Gainesville is about 200, 230, 250,000, 60,000 of those are student population that disappear in the summer. And they, um, the metro city area in city limits is even smaller than that. Okay. And the great majority of the people in a 45 minute drive can go out their back door and shoot on their rural property. So you subtract them from the equation. Now, at some point, we get to the. As the density grows, even people who can shoot at their property and do it safely eventually they become less likely to. They they just start hearing from neighbors and they want to be quieter and this, that and the other. So ultimately we need city limits folks with no place to shoot or on the far extreme scale enthusiasts who are engaging in our activities like the competitions and whatnot, that would do business and shoot at the range even though they have a range at home. Um, so the demographics didn’t support another one here at the last time, I did a deep dive in it. Uh, and I keep thinking that we have a. Higher intensity dense retail area on the other side of town. And I have this notion to go over there and look at a big indoor facility. But. So far it hasn’t shown to be a wise investment.

Wade: Yeah. There are two things that you talked about there that I and I think this episode is going to be so valuable. There’s a guy or gal out there right now that they’re thinking about doing what you’re talking about, right? Because guns is their passion or whatever. And I guarantee you so out of anyone I’ve ever talked to, you’re the only person that’s ever paid for consultants, okay? And I probably will never talk to anybody that’s paid for consultants again in terms of in the firearms business because of the way that people come to it. So I think it’s really important for people to understand to that there is some business planning involved that can save you a ton of money and heartache, and the can be the difference between winning and losing. And I think the other thing it’s important that you did was you acquired a business because people don’t understand that 90% of businesses fail within the first five years of new businesses. But if a business has been profitable for five years, you could show profit over five years. When you buy it, you have you flip the numbers. You have a 90% chance of succeeding because the business art. So you took a business that was already profitable or at least broke even, and then you made it much better. And that is like this build versus buy strategy. And I go straight for business. I know this because I go straight for a business acquisition newsletter. But yeah, but I think it’s critical. It’s critical for people to understand what your what you take it for granted because your entrepreneurial mindset. But a lot of people, nobody in the firearms business does what you did well.

Glenn: Opening up as a competitor to the facility I now own, it would have been that much harder, though. We saw their shortcomings like closing for members and that type of thing that we already talked about earlier, and we had plans for what we were going to change, but. There’s nothing to say that if we opened up as a competitor to them, that they couldn’t have got agile or better management and made that competition harder. So buying it and fixing it took a huge it created a huge barrier to anybody else doing it, because they had an operating, functional facility that would have been a huge competitive disadvantage. Quite frankly, I don’t even know if we could get it done in this county again. The people who originally planned. So I bought this business from the second owner. Okay. The founder opened it in 1999, the shooting range. And he did it in a really ingenious way. But he developed an industrial park and the rain. So at the time that it went to zoning and planning and everything, he was all of his own neighbors. He owned every parcel in the industrial park and, and did all the sound studies, did all the work, got all the approvals, completely designed the facility well, and then he sold off everything in the industrial park. We hold a noise easement to every property around us that basically we have to be compliant with the decibel levels of for sound at the perimeters of our property. But civilly. None of the neighbors can take any action against us.

Glenn: We have permission to be as loud as we want on their property. So we’re far enough away from any neighbor that our sound levels levels are totally appropriate and within the regulations. And Florida has a really interesting statute called Range Protection Act. And we are locked on the ordinances and approvals of 1999 forever, as long as we are compliant with the NRA range Maintenance manual. Okay, so we do our lead reclamation, we monitor our FPS in the berms. We do all the environmental stuff to stay compliant that we need to do anyway, but they can’t change a noise ordinance and say you have to be quiet by a certain time. For us, it’s 10 p.m. forever. Okay, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. forever. Now, as a courtesy to our neighbors, we’re open eight to sunset. Okay, but we could be 10 p.m.. And we had a nighttime Halloween match one time, and it went long, and we were finishing up at 130 or 2. And I ended up talking back and forth with the city attorney, and I said, look, we need to finish this match. We’re not going to do it again. But I can’t shut down in the middle of a match with 100 shooters. If there’s any way I can avoid it, I don’t want to do it. And I said, tell your complaintant. That we can go till 10 p.m. every night. And if they would make us this courtesy, this time we’ll keep it at 6 p.m.. Otherwise we’re changing to ten. And that worked.

Wade: Well and have fun for the rest of.

Glenn: The night.

Wade: Yeah, that’s about leverage. You and then we. Right. Well I had leverage here so and but when it’s and I think it’s funny I don’t think you’d actually really do that. But it helps to have that leverage and you make a really good you make a really good point where and again this is a business angle. And we’ll finish up here in a minute. But I think people that’s another example is regulation zoning these things. You have to know those things to to run a business and firearms especially because it’s so regulated. And I think people just there’s so many firearms businesses fail because they just think, well, my knowledge and expertise is enough and a firearms and it’s just not.

Glenn: That’s certainly true. So yeah. About let’s see 20. 18. About the same time as I not when I took over the range, but about the time that I bought it. I had transferred to the Detective Bureau, and I was a detective for the last six years of my law enforcement career. And but it’s Monday through Friday, 8 to 5 kind of work. Are you occasionally rotate into evening shift and on call stuff, but. Ultimately, I left the sheriff’s office after ten years in. I had a store manager at the retail store who was high earning, and he was good, and I was looking to replace him, and I looked all around and realized I was paying him about twice what I was making as a detective. And so I took his job and hired me. Nice.

Wade: Well, and I just think that’s such a great story of. It’s not everyone thinks everything’s an overnight success, right? So they look, maybe they’ll look at you now and they’ll be like. And this is why I’m so thankful to talk to you, is I think it’s important for people to say, is that, like, success is a process. And so you have all these experiences that come together. And then now you basically have your dream job where you’re get to play with guns all day long and then still be an entrepreneur and then still think big. And but it was a process to get there. And I think that’s for people to understand.

Glenn: Well, and honestly, not only a long process, but it’s all about the team. And we’ve got the best team now that we’ve ever had. But in the in our number two and our number three positions, we’re heavily invested. You met old Bennett here. My general manager, IT guy, operations manager, advertising professional, Jack of all trades and. The day to day is now run so that I can look at big picture and forecasting major purchases and tweaking cash flow things and working on new vendor relationships. And I have no idea who’s on the sales floor at both stores right now. I’ve been able to be removed from the day to day, and it has helped me do better if it. Comes down to. I probably have a realistic 3 or 4 hours a day in the office getting stuff done, and it’s the most productive 3 or 4 hours I’ve ever had since I’ve been able to work on the business and not for the business, and not be stuck on the counter, I. I love working the counter and I’m still good at it. I like to go do it every once in a while, you know? And there’s definitely customers that ask for me just from history and long relationships. But. I don’t want to go have a 45 minute debate on the merits of nine versus 45. There’s a lot of those. Gun counter conversations that I. Quickly remove myself from and go do something more productive now, and the retail staff has to do it as part of the job. But being able to back away and work on systems and overview has been the the best part of the last several years.

Wade: Well, it helps people. It helps to keep you in your zone of genius. Right? So you you delegate everything else and then you figure out your zone of genius is and you stay in that zone of genius. So. Well, listen, I’ve had such a I personally have enjoyed this conversation greatly. And I love to have you on the show again. How can people find you? Go ahead and give all the contact information for your the shop and the range and any contact information. If people want to get contact you or anyone at the store and and your socials please.

Glenn: Absolutely. So the the range facility is shoot GTR. Com okay. We have members all over North Florida two three hour commute. We’re absolutely the best facility doing what we do in several hundred mile range. Um, there’s not a lot of places like us. We’ve got 13 different outdoor shooting bays, private bays for members available on a rental basis or subscription basis, and 200 yard primary range is what we have now happy to have your clubs and organizations host matches. Shoot GTR. Com. Our flagship retail store is Lawful Defense guns and transfers Lawfuldefense.com. Both Lawful Defense and Shoot GTR are on Facebook. We post a lot of cool stuff. We film our used gun case occasionally about once a week, so people can get that virtual walk through the store to see what’s going on. Uh, LawfulDefense.com does retail firearms. It does show real time inventory as well as distributors inventory. So there will be a designation on product whether it is in store or online. And that means they can physically come touch it, see it. It’s really there in store. It’s real time. And the online stuff is immediately available on a ship to store or ship to their FFL basis. Um, so we are web retailing a bit, as well as using it as a resource to see our inventory and what’s really in the store.

Wade: So amazing.

Glenn: Anything else?

Wade: Well, Twitter or Facebook, you got to get on Twitter, man. I’m like firearms. Twitter is really good, by the way.

Glenn: All right. I’ll take it under advisement. I think Ben’s doing jumping jacks in the background saying we are there, but I’m not. Well, we’ll.

Wade: Figure it out. We’ll put it in the show notes if you guys are, in fact on Twitter. So on gun Twitter, I’ll point all my gun Twitter people over there. Awesome.

Glenn: All right, man, thanks for the talk. Have a good day.

Wade: You too. Talk soon. You’ve been listening to the Tactical Business Show by TacticalPay.com. Join us again next episode as we explore what it takes to be a business success in the firearms industry.