A former printing industry technology guru who decided to go into business for himself, by buying a gun shop, said research showed that he was entering a steady industry.
In 2010, Nick Adams and his wife Debbie bought Pacific Guns, 103 Metrocom Drive. They later moved the business to 2720 W. Osage.
The new quarters offer a spacious, well-organized display of weapons and accessories. A sofa near the front wall and a tall, bistro-type table and two chairs near the glass showcase offer a friendly sit-down spot for customers.
Adams said the move to own and operate his own business was an easy choice after spending 17 years providing technical support for a specialized segment of the printing industry with the firm, Rudimetrics, a company that manufactured dies for pressure sensitive labels.
Why guns? While the choice to buy a gun shop might seem spontaneous, Adams said the decision was made after a lot of thought and research.
“I did a lot of research and looked at a lot of franchise opportunities,” he said. “One thing that has been consistent is that no matter how far the economy sinks, gun sales continue.”
Guns have always been part of his life. His father, Tom, was an avid rabbit and squirrel hunter and a great shot. He took his son along and by age 8 or 9, Nick said he could shoot well.
“Not as well as my dad, who always hit the mark,” Adams said. “But I could shoot. Most of the time my job was just to pick up the dead rabbits.”
When he turned 18, his father gave him the gun he had most admired, a Smith and Wesson 39 nickel-plated 9mm that he used for target practice.
“I was really surprised,” Adams said. “He knew I liked it, but I didn’t expect him to give it to me.”
As much as he liked guns, he never thought about owning a gun shop until he was let go at Rudimetrics following a disagreement over management practices.
“I loved what I did, and I was good at it,” Adams said. “I was making $100,000 a year. I traveled coast to coast and around the world and manufacturers relied on me to make sure their new label designs could actually be manufactured. My differences with the firm were all about management style.”
The differences made him bitter, Adams said, and he could no longer enjoy the work. When it became known in the industry that he had left, he could have gone to work for a number of companies that he had worked with, but he wanted a new direction.
He also wanted to stay in the Villa Ridge, Pacific area.
“This is home,” Adams said. “We didn’t want to move.”
During a visit at Pacific Guns just to look at guns a brief conversation changed everything. He has been researching business franchises and studying new business start-up success rates for some time.
“How much trouble is it to start up a gun shop?” Adams asked the previous owner.
“Why don’t you consider buying an existing shop?” the owner asked. He spent the next seven months negotiating with Debbie to buy the shop.
After a series of discussions, the couple decided to bite the bullet, so to speak. Debbie quit her job and the couple started going to work every day in their own business.
Adams said he never had any doubts that selling guns would be a good business.
“People love guns and gun sales have increased year after year since people began keeping records,” he said.
Pacific Guns location also has the advantage of being in a huge hunting region where people know what guns are and how to use them.
The new business owner said he never wants to change the way he deals with customers. Whether an individual wanted to buy specialized printing dies or a particular gun, it’s the customer’s description of what he or she is looking for that drives the transaction, he said.
“What I am is thorough and careful,” he said. “I am a constant listener. I want the customer to tell me everything he or she can about the gun they want.
“If you rush people they almost always leave out something crucial. I want to hear everything. Like Jerry Maguire in the old Tom Cruise movie, I say to my customers, ‘Help me to help you.’ ”
The business has one full-time employee, Krista Pope, the owners’ daughter. Pacific Guns also has a relationship with Jeremy Goskie, a gunsmith who repairs and modifies guns for the store’s customers.
The Adams family lives in Villa Ridge. The couple also have two sons, Joe, a college student, and Jake, an Ellisville police officer. All three of their children attended Pacific High School.
Nick, Debbie and their son Jake are active at New Beginnings Lutheran Church in Pacific, a fast-growing congregation of 500. Krista attends The Bridge in Washington, a church plant of New Beginnings.
The gun shop has become a way of life for the family.
“For the first time in my adult life I look forward to getting up and going to work every day,” Adams said. “And I think this is a comfortable place for people to hang out. Most of my repeat customers are people who buy, sell and trade with me. It’s a good business.”