Elite Customer Service As A Business Strategy With Richard Warrington from Mr. Gunz Firearms

About This Episode

In today’s episode of Tactical Business, host Wade Skalsky sits down with Richard Warrington from Mr. Gunz Firearms. Richard shares his insights on running a successful firearms store. He discusses his hands-on approach, how he navigates the challenges of a fluctuating market, and his dedication to building long-term relationships with customers. Don’t miss this deep dive into the world of firearm retail!

Insights In This Episode

  • Richard often educates customers about firearms, helping to dispel fears and misconceptions. This educational approach not only builds trust but also promotes responsible gun ownership.
  • Being deeply invested and involved in customer service and problem resolution helps build a strong reputation and encourages word-of-mouth referrals.
  • How to understand each customer’s unique needs and circumstances. This approach ensures tailored advice and builds trust.
  • How to be adaptable in your business approach. Richard’s business survived tough industry conditions by adjusting strategies and remaining flexible to market changes.

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. I am your host, Wade Skalsky, and today I am speaking with Richard Warrington of Mr. Gunz Firearms outside of my old stomping grounds in Arizona. Richard Rich, Mr. Warrington, how are you doing today?

Richard: I’m great Wade, thanks for having me.

Wade: So has the heat hit yet out there? What’s your temperature today?

Richard: It’s not too bad right now. 90s here is very tolerable. 105 and up is where it really kind of. You’re feeling a little bit more, but I’m pretty adverse to weather as far as it goes. Like I told you, I grew up in South Florida and then I lived in California, so I’ve been kind of spoiled with weather. We used to play golf in the desert all the time, so I don’t know, it just doesn’t bother me. But people, it’s going to get here soon.

Wade: Oh yeah. Well, I was, you know, I lived in Arizona for a long time and I always tell people I went to high school and college there and worked there as well. I always tell people that once it hits 100, you’re going to have 100 straight days of it, over 100 at least. And they’re like, really? Like, yes. So you know, being in Virginia, we it’s I don’t miss the high heat, but the humidity is always an issue out here. We’ll get there together. But yeah, I’m excited to talk to you today because we were talking a little bit before the recording started about how you got into the guns. And one thing I love to hear is sort of the path that everyone takes to get into the firearms industry, because people that aren’t in the industry just think it’s the same thing. It’s like you were a cop or military or and that’s the only way that you do it. But the more people that I talk to, the more there are just so many different ways that people find themselves into kind of the work that they’re doing now. So how did you get into the firearms industry?

Richard: 100%. So I had a previous career that was not firearms related, but growing up, my father was a huge collector. Movies. Back when I grew up, you know, what we were allowed to watch was a lot of cowboy movies. And so the gun culture was very alive and well in the Westerns. Right. And then my dad was a huge fan of, like, Western type guns, but we collected all kinds of stuff and we would go to gun shows. And it’s just a very it was a very natural thing in the environment where I grew up in South Florida, the gun culture is very alive and well. And then when I moved to California, that was very much it’s not accepted as it is in other states. So that kind of got put on the back burner while I pursued my other profession. I was I had a very successful career, and when it was time to retire from that career, I was like, you know what? I could I can go right back into firearms and make this work. Because I had toyed around with getting an FFL about a decade ago and just never went through with it. So here I am.

Wade: And that prior career had nothing to do with firearms. You were in the strength and conditioning, right? Like exercise science kind of side of things, right?

Richard: Correct. So I trained professional athletes, executives, weekend warriors, kids who are getting ready to go off to college, athletes that were on off season. And I, I had a relatively successful career there as an independent contractor. You know, they would seek me out and I would train them and just ran its path. And and it served me well.

Wade: Well, the concepts are kind of the same, though. I’m assuming that, you know, because if you ran a referral business like that, it’s not like someone would go into a gym and they’d be like, hey, here’s Rich or one of our trainers, you’re going to train, you know, train with him. It’s kind of, you know, when you’re a freelancer like that, someone trains with you and then they recommend you to somebody else. I mean, did those lessons kind of transfer over into the firearms industry? Do you still kind of like work with some of those concepts today?

Richard: Yeah, absolutely. Because of the clientele that I deal with. There’s people that run in circles, if you will. Right. So if you’re down shooting at the local range indoors and you’re shooting next door to a businessman who’s like taking his lunch hour and going shooting, that’s a lot different than the collector who has, you know, more than 100 guns. I have collectors who have 2500 guns. So you can imagine the exposure to firearms that they’ve had and the circle of the network that they travel around. And so if they’re looking for someone to give them more of a concierge service level, kind of, you know, experience with what they’re looking for, that was me. And it was the same thing with my training. So I just transferred that mentality over into the firearms industry.

Wade: So you come out of training, you get the FFL. And then what drew you to Arizona? And then basically, I know that you have a brick and mortar shop. Why did you decide to say, okay, instead of just being a freelancer that’s going to operate kind of the same way without an actual location? What led to the decision for you to actually open a gun store?

Richard: So after living in California and not being able to pursue the kind of firearms lifestyle that I did in South Florida once I had been coming to Arizona for quite a while, I had a friend who was an engineer over at Boeing, and I used to come over here and visit him, and then we’d go to Barrett Jackson and we’d go to the Waste Management Open. And I really enjoyed the desert a lot, and I really enjoyed the freedom, the firearms freedom that people had here that I didn’t have in California. So once it came time to leave California, I was like, we’re going, I want to go to Arizona. I don’t want to go back to South Florida. I love Arizona, it’s very free. It’s desert. It’s not densely populated. So I brought my FFL from California, had it transferred over here to Arizona, and I did kitchen table thing for a while and developed a network. I had some contacts here, and I did so well out of my house that I was like, okay, I researched the local marketplace, if you will, like, there’s big box stores, and there were a couple of mom and pops, but the customer service was lacking in all of those things. Like you really couldn’t get somebody to come across a table and just treat you like an equal, or that you actually knew something, which was an experience that I’ve had in a lot of guns. Stores. So when I open the store, I knew that I could do better. I knew that I could do way better. It was the same thing with my training. So moving into this market share if you will like in Cave Creek, I just knew. I knew the money was here, I knew the people were here, and I knew it was the same kind of people that I was dealing with when I was in Orange County. Yeah, this.

Wade: Is one of the things that I always try to stress to people that I talk to or consult with about business is that it’s not enough to be passionate about whatever it is that you’re selling, like it’s a requirement, but it’s not enough. So there are still just because you’re the firearms industry and you can go Gucci or you can go, you know, a whole different ways of doing it. The principles of business are still the same, right? You need to have you need to fill a demand in a place where it’s not being met very well somewhere else. And I think for brick and mortar, I think customer service is a great sort of edge that you can have over a lot of other places because people, they get kind of old and fat, right? Where businesses have been around, they’re established and they just kind of get lazy, right? Or they’re too cool for for new people that come in. Right. And do you have like a philosophy when someone comes into your store and says, I don’t know what I want, how do you help me? Like how do you address those issues with a person? Like what makes good customer service in that in that situation?

Richard: You know, it’s kind of this is one of the things that translates over for my training business, right? I would get people who had never worked out for me before. And people will tell you one thing, but, you know, they maybe didn’t understand the way that you wanted to hear it. Right? So when I talk to people and they come in here for firearms for the first time and you listen, if you the more you listen, the better feel you’re going to get for what it is they’re trying to accomplish. Right? Okay. There’s crime in my neighborhood. My neighbor’s house got robbed. Something like that. Okay. Are we talking? It’s a grandma. Are we talking? It’s a soccer mommy who was at the park with her kids, and somebody came up and scared her. Like, you really have to be in tune with what they want. A lot of times we will not sell somebody a gun right off the bat. I will send them out to go shoot with somebody who’s an instructor, who can provide them with a gun, so they can get a better idea of what the experience is going to be like. If you have firearms experience, then we’ll start talking on a level where you’re going to understand what I’m what I’m saying, and why this or why that, or why you wouldn’t want that or why you would want this.

Richard: Um, so, you know, being and that’s the thing about being the owner, it’s like I, I can I’m not paying somebody to go across the counter and just get somebody a sale. I’m I’m here and I’m truly invested in this, in this, in this business. And for it to succeed, I need people to go around town, word of mouth and tell other people, you know what I went to? I went to Rich’s shop. I went to Mr. Gunz. He took he took care of me. He took care, take care of any customer service issues I had after after the fact and on and on and on. Whether it’s referrals for, for shooting or service here in the shop or taking care of with an issue with the manufacturer, that’s what I’m all about here. And that’s probably why, like, I’m still here two years later and we we had a really rough summer. The whole industry did. And we made it through it. So yeah.

Wade: When I think when I hear you say is that is that connection is more important than transaction, right. Like a lot of people will put transaction first and then say, well, the connection will come from the transaction. Whereas when you take a customer service approach in business, it’s like, all right, let’s let’s do the connection first. And um, you know, once we have the connection then we’ll have the right transaction later because the right transaction leads to a secondary, you know, another right transaction down the road. Is that kind of a fair assessment of what you’re saying?

Richard: Absolutely. And you know, that customer for life thing, especially if you’re in a smaller community like it is here. Yeah. They will they will not bother going to any other stores. I have guys and this may be hard for some people to comprehend. I have guys who buy guns for me every week. Same guy, buy one gun, come in here next week, buy another gun. People who will only do their transaction, their uh, their uh, transfers through me. People who only buy ammunition from me, people who will only specialty order from me. And that that speaks volumes because, I mean, like, again, I don’t have to sell you a gun. And if I don’t have something in here that’s going to be good for you or you’ve never even shot a gun, go down and rent one. Go down and rent one at one of the local at one of the local ranges. I mean, I can’t be competitive with everybody, but I have to be competitive with what’s 15 minutes down the road. So how do how am I going to make my business? How am I going to make you give me your business? And I never had to think like that before. You know, it’s kind of weird because here I am in retail sales and we’re talking margins and markups and all that stuff. Well, okay, so I don’t make a huge margin on a sale. Does that mean I’m going to have you come back for your next for my for your next purchase, for your next purchase? You’re going to send me your brother. Are you going to send me your daughter? Like, that’s it’s the long term stuff that you’re trying to set up when you work with customers.

Wade: Well, the nice thing about the firearms in general, sort of as a vertical, is that it if done properly, it’s a, it’s a it’s a lifestyle. Right. So if it’s a lifestyle then that means that it’s not just going to happen once. It’s like there’s going to be a need and a demand that’s generated for the rest of someone’s life if it’s done properly, even if it’s only like, let’s say someone says, all right, I’m just going to get a pistol, a long gun and a shotgun. That’s it. So all I want those. Those maybe. And then maybe like a hunting rifle. Right. Those four things. Well, the amount of training and and the amount of depth on accessories for those just those four guns, if that’s the only four guns you ever own, you can be 20 years of stuff on those four guns, right? Absolutely. And and so and I think if people were to understand that, that that you don’t, you know, that that when you establish a connection with someone versus a transaction, then you have the opportunity not just for that, but then for other people to that, you know, like attracts like for other people to recommend similar types of people to you. Um, because there are such a thing as bad customers.

Richard: Oh, yeah. Definitely. And you can, you can get that, that, that energy from those people when they come in your store. So it’s not that we don’t want those people in here, but, you know, you you can’t control who comes in your store. Let’s put it that way. And now now like, you know, are you what kind of relationship you can establish with that person? Because if you if you don’t give somebody the customer service that they believe they deserve and they go out and they tell somebody does the other person know that that person is typically a disgruntled person in general, and you know what I mean? And they’re not going to refer anybody, let alone your store. So, uh, you know, you don’t give them don’t give them the time of day. But, you know, that’s kind of definitely I hear you on that.

Wade: Yeah. Well, I mean, I can, you know, and it’s a little bit different too, in terms of so from businesses that I’ve had because there’s just a different vertical. But the concept is the same where it’s like, you know, you treat everybody with respect. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that, um, that you have to help everyone because it sometimes it’s just not a, just not a good fit, you know, and, and um, so you’re talking, you know, and I, and I talk a lot about why I’m such a big fan of brick and mortar is because, you know, you came from California. I lived in California for a long time. You know, the gun environment in Virginia is a lot better than the gun environment in California. And the gun environment in Arizona is a lot better than the gun environment in California. Um, and all you’re doing is you’re getting converts, right? You’re just if people are coming in and they don’t have a lot of experience with guns, you’re creating converts for the two, you know, the Second Amendment. Um, have you noticed a change in the last two years of sort of the type of customer that’s come in at all, or is it kind of been kind of the same for you over the time?

Richard: Well, I believe I have like a there’s obviously like a, a spectrum of customers that you’re going to get, you’re going to get the guys who know exactly what they want. They don’t want to go online and get it. They don’t want to handle the transfer process. They don’t. They want you to just get rich. What’s your price on this? Go and get me one. Then you have, like I said, people who are who are, uh, afraid of the crime situation that’s going on. And believe it or not, you know, even in small town, here we are, you know, northern Phoenix area, Arizona. People are scared of that. There is crime happening around here because of what’s happened at the border. Um, so as far as, like the types of customers that I get, it’s it’s all over the map. It’s all over the map. And everybody likes to keep it local up here too. So that’s another thing that, you know, that I find is, is constant. But in the last two years, Covid was a really difficult time. And I was a dealer all through Covid out of my house. So as soon as Covid let up, as soon as people could start getting out and spending money again, that’s when that’s when I had opened it effectively.

Richard: And it was it. It exploded. Now, as the administration went on, and I mean, I’m going to say, you know, my opinion, we we experienced like a pretty significant recession here at the beginning of last summer. People really started to clamp down as they noticed that the prices were going up of everything, you know, gas and food and everything else. But again, you know, once people figured out how to how to, uh, meet those economic challenges in their household, they started spending money again. So, you know, my, my, my affluent customers are always going to come and shop and buy the, the middle upper class, middle class people are going to be a little bit more cost conscious. But yeah, the last two years, you know, everybody says, oh, it’s an election year, it’s going to get super busy. Is it like, how would I judge that? You know, I’m still going to sit here and do the same thing I did before. I’m going to protect myself in the down season, which is summer here, because all the snowbirds go back home and I’m just going to be ready for whatever happens. I mean, November is a long time away. I’ve got a business to run for the next six months. You know, I can’t depend on trends or rumors or we follow the news.

Richard: We follow legal stuff all the time. Every morning I come in here, we’re following the legalese. What’s the ATF doing? How’s that going to affect my business? Pistol, braces, suppressors, NFA, you name it. I mean, it’s a it’s a for a little tiny shop. I mean, that’s what mine is. I’m only like 700ft². There’s a myriad of things that you have to pay attention to all the time. Do I buy more guns? Do I stock more guns? Do I do I get more consignment guns? You know, like, how do I how do I how do I draw business to me? But I think that even in in two years of being here, my word of mouth reputation is good enough to where I really don’t have to do that much to have people keep coming in and keep paying the bills, keeping the lights on, you know, that’s all there is to it. It’s it’s very it can be very challenging because I mean, we’re talking it’s a completely different I’m in retail now. I’m in a completely different realm than where I was before, where the product was me and my knowledge, what I knew it should. Is here. But, you know, that’s not all of it.

Wade: Well, and I think you come up with a very important business concept. Right. And that is, is sort of conservative conservative growth projections. So a lot of people I see that get into trouble where they’ll, they’ll okay, we’ll have a great month okay. We’ll have a second great month. Okay. We’ll have a third great month. Awesome. Now let’s go do something based on those projections. Yep. You know and it’s too fast. Right. And then they they lay themselves out there and they get themselves into trouble. And then they’re have to scramble. And then when you start to scramble, you get yourself in even more trouble because maybe you’re cutting corners or and then you lose the core base of people that you had originally. So I think I think because of the regulatory environment for firearms, um, I would say discernment and judicious growth are two of the biggest skills that you can develop in that industry. And I think one of the reasons why you’re talking about what you’re doing is you’re not leaving your core value of, okay, customer service, keep the lights on and let’s, let’s build. But let’s, let’s be careful about it.

Richard: Absolutely. I know a guy. I have a contact who had $1 million a month gun store in Colorado. That’s a lot. I mean, that’s ten times, you know, 15 times what I would ever do in a month. And he’s he I can sign a whole bunch of stuff for him. And he every time he comes to my store, he just loves it. He loves it. It’s small that it’s boutique. He’s like, dude, don’t ever make your business any bigger. He goes, this is perfect. This is manageable. I did really well for the first ten months that I was open. You know what’s what’s what are traditional retail trends? First two years in business, you’re in the red. You’re not going to make any money. In the first ten months I was open, I was in the black. Every single month I went and I hired an employee two months later, boom, recession. We were like, oh, what are we going to do? I mean, my business dropped by over 50%. So, you know, it’s it was a total juggling act. And my wife is like, are you going to close? What are you going to have to do? I’m like, I don’t know. You know, I’m not in control. God’s in control. And that’s exactly where all this goes month after month after month. And here we are back doing well like I was when we first opened up. So, you know, who knows?

Wade: Well, the good thing about that though is that that’s a powerful lesson, right? Is that there’s two lessons in there. And this is one thing I know when I had my firm was and things got a little dicey in 2008 is I just woke up every day and I’m like, today’s a new day. Cases come in the door today, you know. But if you and if you have that optimism it’s it’s it’s some people would say it’s like delusion, but you’re not going to be able to close business if you wake up in the morning being like, we’re so screwed, right, right. Nothing’s going to come in. We’re so screwed. Right? Then you are right, then you are screwed. But what that the thing I pick out of what you just said is you’re like, don’t know, day, one day at a time. You know, like my wife’s tries to come at me with, like, what are we doing for Friday? I’m like, babe, I could be a millionaire by Friday. Friday, Friday is an eternity from now, right? Like it’s Tuesday. Friday is an eternity from now in my business. Right. And that’s an important lesson too. I think that people really need to understand is that is that you have to wake up every day and be like, today’s the day. You’re right in business, and you have to have the mental mindset to do that. And then the second thing is, is that I think, um, you know, is that is that you’re not going to go do that again, right? I don’t think if you start having a huge explosion of business over ten months, you’re not going to be like, now’s the time to swing for the fences, right? Because you learn from what you did before. So, um, you know, where do you see yourself? Like, let’s say two years from now? Three years from now, are you going to keep the business kind of the size it is? Are you happy with where you’re at, or are you do you have plans to expand? Like what are you thinking? Where’s your mind at right now?

Richard: Well, I mean, what right now? I mean, my my dream goal for the business was to be I mean, I already have the customer service part addressed. Okay. I want to get, uh, better, better firearms in the store and attract that that element, the better. When I say better firearms, I mean, I’ve got $10,000 guns in here, but I want that clientele along with the average Joe that’s going to be coming in here looking for the stuff that I don’t have in the case. And there’s a there’s a lot of, uh, there’s a lot of facets to that. Like, my store is so small that we’re able to put everything away every night. Well, I can only have so many guns in the store. Right. And the reason we do that is for security. We don’t. There’s a lot of gun store robberies around here. I’m not leaving anything in the case. I’m not leaving anybody else’s guns here on consignment here. My long term goal is to have the best firearms available in the area and the best customer service. That was that was the slogan that I used at the rodeo was like finest firearms, best customer service. And so if you come in here and there’s something in my case, and you, you’re looking to spend six, seven, eight, $10,000, I have it here. I don’t have to source it for you. But I mean, honestly, like my, my, my growth goals are very, uh, very modest. They’re very conservative.

Richard: I mean, if I did, if I did 120 5KA month out of out of this footprint, I’d be happy long time. I would be happy because it it allows me to do what I’m having fun with. It allows me to to associate with the people that I like to associate with. It allows me to give good customer service. It allows me to make an income. It allows me to go have fun. With my guns. You know, we go shoot. We have private memberships over here. Um, it allows us to entertain people. I mean, on and on and on. There’s. There’s a lot of fun to this business, and there’s such a there’s such a dark cloud. Um, that’s been brought over firearms, you know, just because of policies and, and political parties that it’s really unfortunate because growing up as a kid, we had tons of funds. We would go and we would watch cowboy movies, and then we would go and shoot cowboy guns, like, where is the where is the the the negative in that, you know, it’s it’s the American experience, like the whole Second Amendment thing is, is it’s part of us. Like I love my country so much. It’s really unfortunate to have to fight my government to do what I love, which is not anything that’s, you know, criminal or or or unusual or perverse. It’s really, uh, it’s it can it’s really daunting from an American standpoint, from being an American standpoint.

Wade: Well, and and I think that’s one thing that we forget sometimes, right, is that is that it is a it is part of our heritage. And so, you know, the the Minutemen, the militia, the firearms, the Second Amendment is unusual in the world. Okay. So, you know, those are two things that are and that’s why they’re constantly under attack. Right? Is because the Second Amendment and the First Amendment, um, there’s a reason why there’s a first. The first two in the Bill of rights, right. Is that is that the founders knew, okay, this we need these two things, right? Two things for freedom, need these two things. And that’s why they’re under attack. And and I think people, you know, we’re a young country, but but that is part of our unique heritage. And I think if we can return to that, um, you know, it takes this, it will help to take the stigma out of, out of sort of firearms. Right? Yeah. Um, and I think that’s what’s so important, though, about people like you that have a brick and mortar store. Is that your enthusiasm for guns demystifies it. It d you know, when someone’s coming in, if they come into your store and say, hey, my buddy said that you could help me. I’ve never shot a gun before.

Wade: What do I do? Right? And then you’re enthusiastic about it. You bring that customer service element, um, and then you convert them, right? And they’re like, oh, I see. Right. Because I, I grew up in a family with guns because I grew up in North Dakota before we moved to Arizona. From the coldest place to the hottest place. Yeah. You know, my family are people of extremes. Got a shotgun, you know, like, whatever. Like so. But not everyone has that experience anymore. And so we need to start kind of bringing that experience back. I want to bring it back a little bit to. So I’m saying I agree with you because I go my own little rant and tirade there. I want to bring it back to the customer service part of it, because that’s something that you really base your business on. So let’s say that, you know, I’m in the firearms industry or I want to get into the industry, open my own shop, or do my own business or whatever. It’s like, what is your philosophy of customer service? Like what makes your customer service so much better than everyone else’s? And I know you started talking about listening, right? And meeting people where they are, but what else about it makes it so good?

Richard: Well, because as you’ve alluded to, firearms are such an unknown for so many people. You’re going to get people who come into your store who are scared, they’re timid, they’re uneducated, except for what they’ve heard from maybe a next door neighbor that was a law enforcement officer or or someone who’s in the military, or potentially someone who is who is in their family. That was a in the military. Or they’re they’re concerned with their own, their own personal safety. Once you start to listen to somebody and and you understand what it is, what it is, their concerns are and okay, now, how can I help you? Okay. Just just like you, just like you said before, you know what? I don’t typically recommend handguns to people right off the bat. And a lot of people want to come in and they want to get a little tiny handgun. That’s probably one of the worst things that you can buy as a first time shooter. If you’re only concerned with protecting your home or having having a gun by the bed because you heard a bump in the night, okay, I’m probably not going to sell you a rifle either. I’m probably going to sell you a shotgun. And on and on and on. So this is this is where you start to listen, right? Hey, the guy comes in here and tells me that he just bought a Barrett Mach 22 deployment package for $22,000.

Richard: What do you think? What kind of a conversation do you think I’m going to have with that guy? Versus the little old lady whose neighbor’s house got robbed, or she’s walking her Yorkie, and, you know, there’s a pack of coyotes following her down the street. Like, those are two completely different conversations. And I need to be able to, like, have that conversation, be friendly, not be intimidating, not not put down what they’ve already heard, but explain to them why it may be right or wrong. So it’s the customer service side of thing is when I when I was in the training industry, obviously I had my professionals that would come to me and they would bring me their programs and we would, we would, uh, perform those programs, etc. but then I had people who came to me who had never worked out before, so I had to figure out just exactly how to address their need as well. And once we did that, it was fulfilling for everybody. They got in shape, I got paid, I watched get the I watched them succeed.

Richard: Same thing here. You never shot a gun before. Come in here. Let’s talk. You want to shoot a gun? Go out with my little old lady instructor, Carol. She’s going to take you out with a bunch of women. Not your six foot four ex. You know, Leo cop who’s going to tell you, you know, you need to carry a revolver. And on and on and on. There’s a lot of myths you have to dispel. There’s a lot of reasons why I think what I think. If you’ve never handled a gun before, I’m going to put five guns out on the counter. Pick this one up. It’s safe. Pick this one up. It’s safe. Pick this one up. Okay. Do you like. Get. Do you not like it? Do you like the color? Do you like. You know, here’s why we like capacity, blah blah blah blah blah. So, I mean, you can spend 45 minutes with somebody and never sell them anything and not even try to sell them anything and say, look, you know, I don’t it doesn’t sound like you’re ready to make a purchase. Go and shoot with Carol. Go and shoot. You know, go and shoot with your brother. Go and shoot with your dad, like, whatever. And then come back and we’ll have that conversation.

Richard: And even if they go and they buy a gun from somebody else, at least we’re not. We’re not promoting. The guns are bad. I’m scared. You know, only criminals have guns. That kind of mentality. That’s what we really need to put a stop to, because that’s what’s just been it’s run rampant in our country. The media takes, you know, mass shooting events where people who are mentally ill, I mean, it’s there’s so many, uh, it’s being attacked by so many different and so many different angles that we’re just trying to, like, make it as enjoyable as possible. Like you said before, the more enjoyable we make it. I mean, I know people who start out shooting, uh, you know, little guns and then they end up on the sporting clays, you know, course over at Ben Avery. So you can take this however you want to go. You can shoot long range, you can shoot precision rifle, you can shoot precision pistol, you can collect World War Two guns, if that’s something. I mean, it’s like there are so many different ways to enjoy shooting sports. It doesn’t have to be one way, and it doesn’t have to all be about, you know, I’m not going to get carjacked.

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. No. Yeah. And because, I mean, there’s always so much fear will only take you so far in trading. And so if you if you become competent with your gun and you overcome the fear, and if fear is the only reason that you train, then you’re going to stop training. And so it becomes a craft for you or it becomes something that you enjoy doing. If you can make it enjoyable, then do you get the benefit of training and doing something that you you love doing? And I think there’s a lot of opportunity now, because I think a lot of people who traditionally were falling victim to the propaganda about guns and are starting to be like, hey, yo, I need to start looking into this because things aren’t going to get better.

Richard: Exactly. And we all know the statistics like and I love law enforcement. If you call law enforcement, you’re waiting. Oh, dude, anything can happen at your house in five minutes behind closed doors.

Wade: I used to work for the government, and I and I and on and I and I used to be in criminal law. And I’ve read thousands and thousands and thousands of police reports. I never, not not once did I ever read a police report where the police foiled something at someone’s house. Yeah, they always got there after whatever happened happened. Yeah, right. And that’s and you know, and it’s like you don’t, you know, you just need to go look at countries. There’s this normalcy bias. Like just go look at what’s happening in South Africa right now. And like in terms of like the whole country is falling apart, you know what I mean? In terms of like robberies and, and carjackings and just there’s so many videos of people just getting shot like it’s insane. Like, and it used to be a normal country and now it’s totally falling apart. And I think, you know, I’m not saying necessarily that the United States is going to go mad Max beyond Thunderdome, but but I do I don’t see how the social order is going to get better. And I think that’s why stories like yours are so important. Because because you are you are a place where people can go and they can have an entry point to firearms, you know, and and I don’t know if this is your experience, but my, my theory on this is your first firearm is almost never your firearm. And what I mean by that is like the first gun that you purchase is like a gateway to you’re going to find a gun that just becomes your kind of your gun. And I very rarely do I ever see anybody have their first gun be like the gun. Right, right. Um, you know, and.

Richard: I’ll have conversations with people who they’re still carrying their first gun, but since they bought another dozen. Right. You know, because. Oh, I like and that’s the other thing, the nuances of firearms. Right. So okay, you know, I talked about it before, like whether you’re a precision rifle guy or you’re an AR 15 guy or you’re a bolt action rifle guy, or you’re your semi-automatic, uh, you know, Gucci gun guy, or you’re an everyday carry guy. I mean, I have between my wife and I myself, and this was before I ever owned a gun store. We probably have eight everyday carry guns. My wife carries a little purse. She carries a little everyday carry gun if I want to carry, if I’m, you know, got jeans on or I’m dressed up nice or whatever. And I want to carry my night hawk, I’m going to carry my night hawk. Otherwise, you know, if I’m throwing guns on the floor in my truck just to ride around town, or if I have a P.W., I mean, it’s like there’s a million different ways to do it. I had a I had a client one time, and she was explaining to me how she saw a particular firearm, an AR variant. Right. And it was it was, uh, it was a higher end product. And I knew exactly what she was talking about when she told me, and she compared it to her Louis Vuitton, her, uh, her Louboutin shoes.

Richard: Now for women, that is definitely I mean, when, when the more exposure you have to women because what are most everyday carry guns. They’re like little black guns that you know, they’re not very attractive. They’re not very appealing per se. You know, it’s a design thing or a function thing. Right? But as you start getting into like the better brands of firearms, where there’s been where they’ve been Sara coated or and I, you know, I’m not talking about like Tiffany blue guns or pink guns where they’ve been Sara coated or they have finer optics on them and they’re, they’re really they’re well machined or they’re hand they’re hand assembled. I mean, there is a big difference between a $400 gun and a $4,000 gun, and the average person who likes fine things, whether it’s watches or cars or sunglasses or what have you, they’re going to appreciate that. And that’s another way to get I mean, like I said, I’ve got guys who’ve got 2500 guns. You think they’ve shot all 2500 of them? Heck no. They go to a gun show where a gun store or they see something on the line and like, oh, I like that. I want that, even if they have no intention of ever shooting it so that that’s that’s a very that’s another part of the whole gun store gun ownership collector thing that, that you really don’t hear all that much about. Yeah.

Wade: Well, and I think when someone has your knowledge, you can help someone who wants to get into gun collecting. Right. Because I look at it like buying gold, right? If you call, there are some companies that if you call them up and you’re like, hey, I want to buy some gold, they’re going to try to sell you like this gold that it’s impossible to get rid of. There’s no market for it, but they’re going to try to they’re going to try to say to you, no, this is a collector’s item. You should get this right, right, right. And and so you don’t have that knowledge. And so a lot of people will fall victim to that. And this is not financial advice. And I don’t know anything about gold other than just, you know, whatever. But but it’s an analogy. Right. So whereas because collecting guns is a skill and there are good guns to buy in that realm, and there are guns that are not so great to buy. And I think that’s one, one reason why knowing someone like you who can say, like, hey, I’m thinking about, you know, getting into collecting guns, um, what would you, you know, where should I start? Right? Stuff like that. And I think that that kind of knowledge is invaluable that you don’t get on the internet. On the interweb.

Richard: No. No way. And you can. You can surf. Um, huge. There’s massive websites full of all kinds of collectors guns, but it’s also full of a lot of junk. There’s there is actually one portion of my store, one case in my store, which is mostly investor grade firearms. Like if I told you like, everybody loves a python, right? Everybody loves a Colt Python. Oh, I gotta have a Colt Python. It’s like the coolest gun ever, right? A Colt Python, brand new in 1978 was $270. If you still have that gun today in the original packaging, that gun is worth $4,000. Now you’re talking about gold. I remember when Krugerrands and we were running around gold. When we were running around guns shows, my father and I, and we would look at Krugerrands. I think gold was like $360 an ounce back then, and everybody was like, oh my gosh, $360 an ounce. How much is gold right now? $2,300 an ounce.

Wade: It’s going up.

Richard: Yeah, yeah. So where’s the appreciation in these things? You know, guns that guys bought in? I have a I have a firearm that was made in 1864 and here was probably $12 brand new. You know how much it is now, 6000. So yeah, there is that there is that whole other side. You don’t have to shoot everything. You can just buy and admire and there’s lots of guys like that.

Wade: Yeah. Well and that’s and that’s a, you know, you’re either into guns or cars right. So that those exactly right. Those and and it’s your so for me it’s like I’m not I’m I’m a utilitarian when it comes to guns. Right. So so I’m like for my EDC it’s like I’m fine with my, you know, old time. Well actually I put a, I put an optic on my, on one of my EDC guns and for the first time because I was like, nope, I got to get really good with my old, old timey battleship, you know, iron sights. I’m not putting an optic on here until I can do, you know, so I can be really good with my iron sight. So I finally felt like, okay, so I finally put an optic, and I really do. I actually do really like the optic on it. So. Yeah. Um, now. All right. So we let’s, let’s kind of bring it around now. Um, so we’re, we’re the customer service. You, we know that kind of going forward for the next couple of years. Um, you know, you like the lifestyle. That’s what I want to talk to you a little bit about, because I think a lot of people, when they’re going to start their business, they they think to themselves, oh, I want to have like this huge, gigantic business. And that will make me happy, right? And I don’t want to get too specific, but I know that you have a family and and, you know, you kind of started a little bit later like me, you know, I started later. I have an eight year old and a six year old and I’m 50. How old am I? 51. Um, and so I started later, too. And, and with my writing business, one of the great things about it is it actually gives me time to spend with my kids. Right? Is the setup that you have right now kind of like a boutique shop, you know, kind of the way you have it set up. Does that give you the time flexibility, or are you just sweating it all the time in there?

Richard: Okay, so, uh, as I stated before, the area which we live in is very it’s very seasonal. Okay. Summer gets hot, goes up over 100. Everybody goes back home, goes back up north. Everything’s thawed out right. You can go. They can go to the lake. They can go enjoy there. You can go and enjoy, uh, Minnesota. Illinois. You know, this is where we get a lot of people from Pennsylvania, um, the Dakotas. So I year round can control my hours. If I want to come in at nine, I’ll come in at nine. If I want to go home at three because it’s slow, I’ll go home at three. Obviously, we try to keep a schedule of some sort right on my on my website. It was it was 9 to 4 or it was. Yeah, it was 9 to 4 Monday through Saturday because we, we were the only place around here that was open six days a week in case people wanted ammo or whatnot. Now that summer’s come around, we’ve just adjusted that and made the changes to the website. We’re open from 10 to 3, closed on Sunday, Monday appointments are available, right? Because I’m going to enjoy my summer. I’m going to go on vacation for a couple of weeks coming up or a couple weeks. Then I’m back for a week, and then I’m leaving for another week because I know it’ll be slow and my associate can run the store.

Richard: But I have two little girls. I’m 55, I have an 11 year old and a soon to be ten year old. Right? I drive them to ice skating every morning. I drive them then to school. I pick them up from school. I help with homework. I run all the errands. You know, I go to Walmart and I do the pickups. I can go to the grocery store and do stuff. So that’s the other thing about, like, I haven’t worked for anybody in a really long time, and having my own operation and the ability to close the doors like my phone number is the business phone number. If you come to my store and I’m not here and you call me, I’m going to tell you why I’m not there. And it’s usually a pretty good reason. You know, it’s not like because I, I wanted to bail out and go take a nap on the couch with my dog. It’s because I had to go pick up my kids, or I wanted to go pick up my kids, or I wanted to go watch them ice skate so that the ability to have that control over your life, man, is so big. Because when I even when I was in strength conditioning, I would get up at 4:00 in the morning, I would start training people at five, I would be done at ten, I would go back at three.

Richard: It was like the worst schedule ever. Like if I had a family at that time, it would have just been awful. And, you know, as you know, being an attorney, you know, my wife, she works whenever she has her own practice and she has a niche practice. So whenever her whenever her clients need her, she needs to be available. And so like between the two of us, there’s like this awkward, weird balance. And somehow it works that I can drive the kids around as much as I need to. She can work as much as she needs to. I can work as. Much as I want to write, I can take a day off. I could go split and go to the range right now if I wanted to, because I have John here. But, you know, that’s that’s the beauty of like, having your own operation and making it work like these big box stores. It’s, that’s just a part of their business typically. Right. Unless you go to unless they have a range or something like that. And I, I have never, ever, ever wanted to have like a massive operation. Maybe you open another store, maybe allow my, you know, my, my associate, my he’s my compliance guy. I could let him go run another store. He could definitely do that. But do I want that? I mean, I don’t know, I don’t know.

Wade: Well, the important thing to realize. And so I’m not a lawyer anymore, right. Like I don’t practice anymore. I mean, I still have my license and people still come to me from my old life. And so, like, all right, I’ll like, I’ll force me to do this or whatever, but, but I think it’s really important for people to understand that in business there’s different, different types of wealth. Right. And, you know, so, you know, for example, like my son sane, right. Like I, I’m the one that takes everybody to school. I’m the one, you know, my wife and I pick everybody up at school like, so my son, we can walk him to school. I get to walk him to school. Now he’s almost done with that part. He’s going to go to a different school where we’ll have to drive him. But for the last year, I walked my son to school every day when he’s, you know, just getting ready to go into kindergarten. And that is something that I’ll, I’ll remember forever. And I never would have been able to do that as an attorney. Never. And, and, and one cool thing about I think about firearms is that the, the disadvantage of firearms is that it’s a non-typical business and there’s a high regulation.

Wade: But one of the advantages of business of firearms is a non-typical business. So people aren’t going to freak out if you make your business however, you want to make your business like independent thinkers, people who are like, no, I get it. Like to me and you’re doing that? I’m like, that’s amazing. Whereas like a traditional business or a law firm like, you can’t do that, you can’t have a law firm like that and you can’t. But in firearms business, and I think this is important for people to realize is that if you if you have in your mind the ideal type of business and lifestyle that you want, it’s attainable all the way from, I’m gonna have a boutique shop all the way up to I want to have, you know, I want to be an online megastore or whatever. Right, right. And, and I and I think that’s important for people to see six people who are successful doing that, like you. Um, now what? Go ahead.

Richard: So. So I had growing up, I went to high school with Reid Knight of Knight’s Armament, and his dad had the biggest gun store in town. And I want to say it was, you know, and I growing up, I grew up in a little tiny town in South Florida, Fort Pierce, Florida, um, and he had this massive gun store there. And I remember just walking through there and wonder and staring at all the different stuff was in that store. He was a government contractor, like he didn’t need the store to be successful, but they had holsters and arrows and cleaning and rags and, you know, like, you name it, like everything was in that place. It was a it was a super concentrated bass pro shops for like just a gun store is all it was. Right. And when when people like, people come in here all the time, they’re like, uh, do you have magazines for such and such? For like a Glock? I’m like, uh, no, I don’t have that. You know, they look at me kind of dumbfounded. They’re like, well, why don’t you have that? And I’m like, I wanted a small footprint, uh, operation. And I have guns and I have ammo, and then I have a couple of other things. I might have a couple holsters hanging on the wall. I might have some of this.

Richard: I might have some of that. But I did not want, like, the administration alone. Like when I hired John to come in here and work for me, my compliance guy, like I was going under, I mean, there was no way I could fix guns, sell guns, do the paperwork, submit NFA applications, keep track of the money. I was just like going, oh my gosh, dude, like this is out of control. How do how do how did I ever get like, this is just a little tiny gun store. So I couldn’t imagine a big operation. I mean, you’d have so many people’s hands, like, touching everything. Like, I don’t know how you would ever manage that. And I’m not a super, you know, super hands on management guy. Like my guy will tell you, like, you know, hey, I’m going to go to lunch, okay? Whatever. You know what I mean? Like, it’s better to be chill and no stress in a work environment than it is than it is to have, like, tension going on all the time. So the more relaxed I can run this and have it be still fun. It’s just like anything else. You know, once you stop having fun, what are you going to do? I’m going to quit. That’s just like training. I got burnt out. I couldn’t handle it anymore. Yeah, well.

Wade: Know thyself is not a platitude. It’s a business strategy. Like. Sure, you know what I mean. And so, like, there are dudes out there that can. And that’s in the legal business. That wasn’t a legal business. It’s the same in all business. It’s like it’s it’s, you know, if you can kind of play to your strengths and, and craft your business around your strengths, then you will outcompete people who don’t do that 100%. You know, and that’s I think goes back to when we can loop it back to kind of the runway to kind of finish up here in a minute is that is that, you know, you figured out for yourself or my strength is customer service, dealing with people, meeting them where they are and being patient okay. So you monetize that. And I think, you know, when people are looking to get into the firearms industry and start a business, they have to have a very serious talk with themselves and be like, what can I do and what can I not do? And they will set themselves up for success. Is that something that you always knew about yourself, or is that something that you developed over? Trial and error, sort of this, kind of this idea where like, okay, I’m gonna play to my strengths and these are my strengths. Um, or is it something you just kind of fell into?

Richard: I didn’t even know. I just had no idea, like, I thought I thought I was going to be, you know, as a teenager, you know, I played sports and whatever, and I lifted weights a little bit. And then I had exposure to, uh, my high school weightlifting coach had been an Olympian, a weightlifting, uh, an Olympic weightlifter, and he didn’t get to go to the Olympics because it was Moscow in the 80s. So the more I would interact with him, the more fun I would have. And then I kind of I wasn’t competitive at sports, so I started lifting weights on my own. And then I ran into somebody who had been print famous, if you will, and she pursued me. She’s like, Will you train me? Will you train me? Will you train me? I’m like, no. Like the personal trainers. The local gym were such clowns that I hadn’t. I had no desire whatsoever to have anything to do with that, that industry. So once I started training, her and other people started seeing me train her, then people started to pursue me and I was like, well, I mean, I, you know, obviously there was my, my being in the gym with that individual, but then there was something about what I was doing, and it was something about the way I looked. And then the more I interacted, people interacted with people, the more I started to enjoy that. Like I was never a firearms instructor before. And this is how this is how it like came to me that I probably, I was probably good at this.

Richard: Nobody ever really had to tell me that. Like, I would see the success of my clientele and I had the pro athletes coming to me and whatever. And they’ll, you know, there’s a million trainers out there. I mean, I was a strength conditioning coach. I don’t even I never even considered myself a trainer. But I was never a firearms instructor. And I had some people ask me one time, and this is before I owned but opened a gun store. This is before I was an FFL. They said, hey Rich, um, we just got my sister in law a gun and we’re going to go shooting. Will you come with us? Because you can help us out a little bit. And I went down and this girl was so scared I couldn’t, I couldn’t she was just trembling the whole time. And I had to try and get her over that hurdle right first. And then I had to try and get her to discharge the firearm. And we’re in an indoors facility. It’s super loud. Your CNS is all bugged out. Like it’s just, you know, it’s it’s it’s it’s, uh, stimulation overload and in an indoor shooting range. And I had that girl shooting by the end of that time. And her, my my client, her brother in law was just dumbfounded. He’s like, dude, you were so good at this. And I would take people out shooting over, over here when we first got here, because I would kind of do that, dabble in it every once in a while.

Richard: I don’t want to be an instructor, really, but it was the same sort of thing there. Like, I have never been shooting and had so much fun and like, and I wasn’t doing anything except like showing them how to shoot right and be safe. So that kind of told me that that being around guns, I love guns, I love cars, I love fast boats. I mean, that’s the kind of, you know, I grew up in South Florida. That’s what everybody was doing. And and so like for some reason, some reason, I continued, it continues. Right? It continues and I’m doing well. And I can figure out problems and I can get answers to things, and people like to talk to me, and people want to do business with me. So what is that telling me? It’s telling me, well, I’m either doing something right or, you know, this is God’s plan. This is God’s plan, not my plan. And I totally just accidentally fell into the FFL thing. I was like, okay, well, I can do that on the side, and I can still help take care of the girls. And I knew what a gigantic pain that was going to be in California. I got my FFL in 90 days in California, and then it took me a year to navigate all their state stuff, and by the time I was finally fully functional as an FFL in California, we moved.

Wade: Well, it’s funny how that works, right? Yeah. You, the universe or God or whatever says, all right, I’m not going to give you what you want until you master this one thing. Oh, yeah. Master. All right, let’s go to this other thing over here. Right? Right. Exactly. Well, I, I’ve really, like I said, as I’ve so enjoyed talking you today, I kind of button up against the time here. Um, so how can people find you? What’s your online presence? Are you on socials? Run it through everybody. How they can get a hold of you if they want to contact you directly. How do they do that?

Richard: So we do not have a huge social media presence. I, uh, you’ll find that with the firearms community. And I have a lot of friends who are very, very successful on social media. I just it’s a time suck. Number one. Number two, I’m local, so, you know, if you’re across the country, you really probably don’t care what’s going on in Cave Creek at Richie’s little gun store. Um, I, I promote by word of mouth. As we’ve discussed, I am on social media at on Instagram at Mr. Gunz Firearms. Um, we post fun stuff. We post pictures of the guns we sell. We post pictures of the guns we shoot. Um, obviously they can reach me direct by phone (480) 340-0029. And this is a this is a perfect example of my my handling of the business and my personal involvement of the business. That is my personal phone number. People can text me, call me whenever, with any questions about firearms at any time. I had a guy call me this morning who wanted one of my gun broker auctions at 5:00 in the morning. He thought he was calling a store. He’s calling my house. He’s calling me. So we are on gun broker. We’re on Guns International. We just closed out. Probably like 20 auctions. We have fixed price. Auctions. We have regular like bid auctions. Um, all of our information is on there. Rich at Mr. Gunz. Firearms is where you can reach me via email. We will do transactions on and off of of either one of those platforms.

Richard: And, uh, you know, I have nothing but positive feedbacks. I’m a plus 500 plus feedbacks on, on gun broker alone. And, you know, that’s that’s just another level of customer service. I mean, I’ve sold people guns online and they didn’t like it. And I had to take them back and give their money back. But that’s just what it is. You know, if you here’s what I learned. Like early, early on, I worked in the restaurant industry when I was really young. If one person has a bad experience in your restaurant, they’re going to go out and they’re going to tell five more people, and those five people are going to tell 15 more people, and next thing you know, your business is going to go under. And so, like, I will do my utmost. One of the things that used to tell the people is like, if somebody’s had a bad experience in a restaurant, it’s like, what can I do to make you happy? And if it’s within reason that we’ll do that, right? But if it’s not, then that person’s just being unreasonable. So that’s basically the the mantra for my business. It’s like, you know, what can I do to make you happy? Let’s, let’s, let’s work on that. Let’s do what I can, what’s do what I can do for you. And if I can’t help you, I can’t help you. I’ll tell you someone who can.

Wade: Yeah. No. And I think that’s an awesome approach. Just because firearms are still a business still has the same principles of all businesses. So. And then what? Your guys’s website. I want to make sure that we get that. Get that website.

Richard: Is www.Mrgunzfirearms.com it’s Mrgunzfirearms.com. Nice.

Wade: All right cool. Well listen man don’t jump off I want to talk to you about something when we’re off uh, off the podcast. But I really enjoyed talking with you today. And, um, and I think that’s the that’s my first, uh, what to, you know, someone wants to buy a firearm because the coyotes are following their dog. Such an Arizona, such an Arizona square.

Richard: Right?

Wade: Right. But anyways, man, I really enjoyed talking to you and I would love to have you on the show again.

Richard: Excellent. Wade, thank you so much for having me.

Wade: All right, man, talk to you soon. Yeah, buddy. 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.