Local gun shop is optimistic after tough year

By  | 

ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ7) - It was a busy Black Friday, better than last year which was surprisingly slow.

"A lot of tired eyes this morning at 5 a.m. a lot of Redbull and things like that to get ready for 6 a.m."

Safeside Tactical Co-Owner Mitchell Tyler says people were lined up waiting to come in when they opened their doors at 6 a.m. Black Friday.

"I saw people out of the parking lot. We had them as early as 10 p.m., but this year people were a little sleepy. So that we open schedule is probably at somewhere between 45 and 50 people waiting outside," stated Tyler

It was a welcome sign after a tough year.

The Obama presidency was great for gun shops, but sales have lagged in the new administration. Owners here say they weren't sure what to expect this time around.

Tyler said, "We're this year would be a bit of a spike from the Trump Slump, and we're seeing that today. And will see how we get through the weekend, but it looks like we are on pace to outsell last year."

Tyler says lots of fire arm dealers thought that the election was going to go to Hillary Clinton last year so they purchased excess inventory that they couldn't move on Black Friday. Some stores liquidated their supply, flooding the market with nearly at-cost firearms.

Tyler says they've stayed competitive with their gun range service. And on Black Friday -- a discounted experience firing automatic weapons as a family outing.

"Our biggest group today I think with 11, we have lots of 67 and eight size family groups. So people were in town for Thanksgiving. A lot of people are off work today. People from as far away as Seattle. // It was a moment of having a cool experience with people that you love around you and kind of experiencing it together," stated Tyler

Tyler says they're watching sales over the weekend, and there's one more way they hope to boost the bottom line. For the first year, they're participating in Cyber Monday.