If you outgrow your facility, it’s a sure sign your business plan is working. If part of the reason you’re outgrowing your store is because you need more space for education and events, you know you’re connected to the local community. And, if women represent the majority of shooters on the day you open your new facility, then you’ve successfully tapped into the women’s market.
Maxon Shooters Supply and Indoor Range is enjoying this type of success at their new state-of-the-art 16,000-square-foot facility in Des Plaines, Ill. Owners Barry and Claudia Levin have been in the business since 1984. Barry also serves as the Maxon gunsmith. When they decided to build a new shooting facility, the Levins made sure it was an inviting environment with a snack bar, showroom, 10-station shooting range, gun storage facility and two classrooms.
“We have a growing number of women coming in to shoot,” said Ania Cienkowski, Maxon office manager. “Our new classrooms are a very important component in expanding the business and developing our education and training programs.”
Before moving to their new facility, Maxon could only conduct classes after-hours on the showroom floor. Having dedicated space for training allows them to be more flexible in scheduling classes and provides a more comfortable learning environment.
The firearms training courses are very popular with women, especially because Jessica Sawicki, the Levins’ daughter, is one of the main instructors. Women immediately feel comfortable when they see a woman instructor, noted Cienkowski.
“They can relate to her and it creates a very encouraging and welcoming environment,” she said.
Ladies Nights Inspire Women
Maxon Shooters Supply continues to build on its base of new women shooters by offering Ladies Night events — available for women of all shooting levels. Before a woman can attend her first event, she must take a mandatory basic handgun safety course to ensure all shooters are safe on the range.
Ladies Night activities go beyond just shooting at the range. There are tutorials where topics such as concealed carry, transporting firearms, home defense, cleaning a firearm and shooting techniques are discussed. These are fun, social events that often incorporate a potluck dinner and themed shoots such as a “Zombie Huntress” night with zombie targets.
The women’s group continues to grow largely through word-of-mouth and staff referrals, said Cienkowski.
“Our staff members help inspire women to try shooting and give them a different perspective on guns,” she said.
When women visit the store, staff members tell them about Ladies Night events. “We want all women to be safe and have the knowledge and skill set to handle a firearm,” Cienkowski said.
Maxon also uses a monthly newsletter and social media to keep women up-to-date on what’s happening at the range.
Having an on-site gunsmith is another perk that draws women to Maxon Shooters Supply. Women can consult with the gunsmith to have guns customized to their needs and address issues such as recoil. Maxon also offers a gun-cleaning service, which has proved to be popular with customers.
Maxon Shooters Supply is located near Chicago, and its laws enable law-abiding citizens to store their guns at the facility. This represents another service that brings women to Maxon.
“Women use our facility to store their guns because they have small children at home and they want to make sure there is no outside access. Firearms are an investment and people want to keep them safe from theft,” Cienkowski said.
The expansion also allows Maxon to stock more women’s products.
“We have pepper spray, knives, carrying cases, holsters and bags,” Cienkowski said. “We sell a lot of Fobus holsters and pouches, GunVaults, Radians shooting glasses, products from Allen and Remington and pink Bulldog cases.”
Maxon logo shirts sell well and are great advertising for the store, Cienkowski noted. A branded hot pink Ladies Night T-shirt will soon be available and Cienkowski hopes it will further spread the word that Maxon Shooters Supply is woman-friendly and promote shooting in a positive light.
Focusing on education and services contributes to the continuing success of Maxon Shooters Supply and indoor range. Capturing the women’s market and building a strong woman clientele is the result of creating a store and range environment where women feel comfortable. It’s a winning formula.
Bulldog Pink Molded Case
Blushing Bulldog For A Cause
Since October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, it’s important to note some manufacturers will donate a portion of their sales to support this cause — such as Bulldog Cases and Vaults.
Bulldog Cases and Vaults sells a wide range of nylon pink gun cases, holsters and range bags designed for women. Long gun cases are available in pink, pink camouflage or black with pink camouflage accents. The pistol cases and range bags are available in solid pink. Women can even purchase a pink nylon holster for their semiauto or revolver. A portion of all Bulldog pink case sales is donated to support Breast Cancer Awareness.
DeSantis Gunhide recently introduced the Hide and Chic purse holster, which will appeal to women who want a quality concealed carry option. Bucking the pink trend, this purse holster features black leather and sports a concealment compartment that is accessible from either end of the purse. The classic design means it will never go out of style and spacious pockets give women plenty of room to carry a wallet, keys and cell phone. Designed to accommodate a wide variety of pistols and revolvers, an internal holster, secured with hook and loop fasteners, keeps the firearm safe and secure.
Another concealed carry option from DeSantis is the Bag-Packer. This ambidextrous holster sports suspender clips and an adjustable C-clip that allow it to be placed inside any bag or purse. It comes with one of two adjustable holsters that will fit most carry guns. Hook-and-loop fasteners permit the gun to be placed in any position a gun owner requires. Ladies will appreciate this versatile holster because they can carry their firearm in a wide variety of purses or bags.
By Lisa Parsons-Wraith
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