Riding Shotgun With Charlie
Point of Impact Group
One day last fall, I got a message via LinkedIn from Hank Yacek. He said he’s been in the gun business for years and wanted to be a guest on the show. I thought he would be an interesting passenger, offering insight that others haven’t had on the show. He said he lives in Lexington, KY. I replied that this was great timing as I was heading to Nashville that weekend and I could ‘swing by’ Lexington on the way home.
Hank grew up shooting. At a very young age, Hank was doing competitive shooting at 9 years old! He was traveling the country and doing rifle shooting inside schools with school rifle teams! I really don’t remember that even though Hank and I are around the same age. But I do remember some guy who had shotguns in the trucks to hunt before school.
Then he started making money in the gun industry as a shotgun judge making $150-$300 a week! Maybe it’s not a lot now, but as a 14 year old in the 1980’s he was rolling in it. (Says the guy who was making $3.35/hour at ’the arches’). While visiting a local gun shop, one of the store owners asked Hank not only if he would work for them, but do some of the retail work. Eventually he went to college for wildlife biology, but got back into firearms and the gun business. Hank thought that after working at gun shops, he could open one and run it better. He was in for quite a learning experience.
After years of experience and learning, his shop wasn’t really big but was doing about 3 million dollars in business every year. Hank sold the gun shop and started a consulting business helping gun stores and ranges around the country find a better way to do business. I really love this idea of finding your customers, or audience, and what best serves them. He points out that the first step to good customer service is ‘being open’ and having a business!
One of the things he thinks gun stores need to do is to get out there and participate in local competitions and matches interacting with potential and current customers. One advantage is that people are aware of the store. Another is that you’ll know what your customers need to buy. Another is that if a store says they’re ‘family friendly’ but then has a logo with a skull and crossbones that they may need to do some rebranding. They also need to stay away from the ‘male, pale, and stale’ that many gun stores have a history of being. He’s got several pointers that can be useful to gun stores all around the country.
Point of Impact goes around and does presentations at a lot of conventions and industry events including SHOT Show. I was able to catch Hank in Vegas, but wasn’t able to watch his presentation as I had a meeting myself. I was bummed, but I needed to get my work done, too.
We do spend some time talking about how the gun issue should be a non-partisan issue. He was involved with a study that found that 25% of the gun buying public identifies as Democrat. But Hank has an idea for “Arm a Democrat” Month, a month to show them what we’re really like, not like the yahoos out there slinging guns all the time. I shared a story about a Democrat colleague who said he wanted to do some training to buy a gun and was shocked that I’d take him to the range and have him in a class. Maybe our political beliefs aren’t the same, but I still believe that he should own a firearm. Or seven!
I’m glad that I was able to connect with Hank and have him in the stagecoach. There is a lot to take in about the business side of the gun community. And I’m taking some notes and revisiting my thoughts after watching the show.
“The consulting work is helping folks that are growing a hobby into a business on how to be better business people.”
“You can’t give any customer service if you’re not open.”
“Everybody should be able to have the right to protect themselves.”
“People have more opportunity, more places to go shoot, then ever before.”
Point Of Impact Group
Firearm Range & Retail Consulting
Second Amendment Foundation
Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms
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