TheGunBlog.ca — Bullseye London, a major Canadian independent gun shop, is tripling in size as “very high levels of growth” for firearms, ammo and accessories offset concern over gun bans.
The company continues to oppose the governing Liberal Party’s plans to order mass gun confiscations against federally licensed stores and hundreds of thousands of firearm owners.
Following is an interview with Scott Patience, the owner of the store in London, Ontario, about 190 km southwest of Toronto.
Why It Matters
- Bullseye London is tripling in size as other gun shops scale down.
- Patience takes us behind the scenes of a major business decision: scaling up as the government plans laws that threaten to wipe out stores and kill thousands of jobs.
- He shares how Bullseye London is responding.
Patience, previously in the computer industry, made the comments by e-mail yesterday in response to questions from TheGunBlog.ca.
Q&A With Bullseye London CEO Scott Patience
Why the expansion? Why now?
Our current location is 4,500 square feet. We expanded from one to three units without the ability to lay out space for optimum efficiency for both the retail and rear support.
The business continues to grow in sales, inventory levels and staffing.
We need more space to improve our efficiency to deliver quality service to the shooting community.
We looked around and found a 14,000 square-foot unit that is ideally located to meet our needs for the foreseeable future.
Ideal locations do not come on the market that often. It was time and it was available. Our customers and staff are all excited.
“Bullseye continues to experience very high levels of growth, which is the main reason we need to get this new larger space so urgently.”
What’s it like to make a move like this?
There are several aspects of making a move like this that are invisible.
Besides having the mechanical HVAC, electrical, plumbing designed, permits are required.
We did a detailed review of every aspect of our operation, both now and the future.
Cabinets designed and store layout repeatedly reviewed to smooth retail operations. Support staff and inventory needs are established too. That is the physical side of the operation.
Then there are the product lines that will be in the store. We plan to add many product lines that will be well received by the shooting community.
Finally, the actual move to the new location will require the shutdown of the store for a few days so we can focus on setting up the new store.
How is Bullseye London doing versus the overall market? Some stores are doing well, some are struggling.
Bullseye continues to experience very high levels of growth, which is the main reason we need to get this new larger space so urgently.
I very much believe the new product lines and more actual inventory will increase our growth as we provide firearms enthusiasts with a big exciting store that has them in mind specifically.
“If the misguided Liberal proposals do come to pass, we have plans to help our fellow firearms-community members make the most-informed decisions and continue the fight.”
Do you have a particular focus on any regions, products or activities?
Our retail store definitely caters to customers all over southwest Ontario, while our online store reaches across the country.
We tend to sell about the same number of “Restricted” firearms as “Non-restricted,” while accessories make up the balance.
Mostly we sell larger amounts of ammunition locally, but we have customers that rely on us to provide harder-to-get calibres.
How was business in 2019 for you? A lot of gun shops had a roller-coaster year.
2019 was another great year, but also a building year as we suffered from a lack of physical space, and now May is coming quick for the new store.
Fun fact about the new store is that the front vestibule is exactly the same size as our whole original store back in the computer shop six years ago.
How is business looking for 2020?
2020 will be exciting as we enjoy the larger space and having large selections of safes, apparel and products that are hard to find in Canada.
Which product lines/markets are driving demand? Which ones are declining?
Demand has been surprising in optics and what I would call “fun shotguns” like the Canuck Regulators and Norinco 1897 Trench models.
Of course, when a new model of firearm comes out like the GSG-16 it has huge demand.
We have certainly seen a decline in the high end of Over/Under shotguns and some of the more classic hunting rifles as technology changes.
Confiscation Threat, Response
How are you managing the legislative risk of mass prohibitions?
Bullseye has always been on the forefront of working to protect our firearms freedoms.
[Editor’s Note: Bullseye London is matching donations to the CCFR.]
I strongly believe that when the actual cost of the massively underestimated proposed Liberal confiscation is revealed, even the most ardent anti-gunners will grasp what a difference those resources could make if allocated to the police and social programs to actually address the problem of gang violence and criminal activity.
If the misguided Liberal proposals do come to pass, we have plans to help our fellow firearms-community members make the most-informed decisions and continue the fight.
What do you think of media coverage of the planned confiscation order?
What the media fails to report is there are about 1.2 million hunters and 1.2 million sports shooters in Canada.
There are more sports shooters than people of all ages involved in organized hockey.
Another large group that support shooting sports are former shooters and hunters, plus military and police families. Some stats suggest this group could be upwards of 1 million.
All three groups are adults and voters — something that worries the federal Liberals when the costs of the program keep coming to light.
If you canvas average Canadians not involved with shooting, they also realize that gangs and illegal guns are the true problem.