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Cash in on gun care: constant cash flow and good service mark this essential segment of the gun shop!

When our latest customer left your store with his new firearm, was he also carrying add-on products? A new gun case, perhaps? Maybe a scope and mounts? Of course, he certainly had cleaning gear, right?

If you didn't offer your customer gun-cleaning equipment or products, you missed one of the easiest add-on sales in the business. You not only missed the profits, but also the opportunity to provide good service to your customer.

"When a customer buys a firearm, he needs to maintain it, just like you maintain your car," said Dimas Mederos, owner of Gun Country Outdoors in LaGrange, Ga. "You're doing the customer a service by stocking an inventory of gun-care accessories that will fill his needs. If the customer takes home a gun without the necessary cleaning equipment; it's like getting a Christmas present but not getting any batteries.

"When you carry those products, not only are you generating income and revenue, you're giving the customer what he or she needs, and you're positioning yourself as an expert in the field. When they leave your store, they leave knowing that they have everything they need for a particular firearm."

Gun care products also provide a steady cash flow, proving good profit margins, much like those on other accessories.

"The margins on gun care products are a lot higher than the margins on guns," said Chris Lambert of Kleen-Bore.

The profits on cleaning products are "small money but good money," said Larry Weeks, of Brownells Inc. Margins on gun cleaning items run upwards from 25 percent, especially on items retailers buy in bulk, according to Weeks.

"For instance, we have a bulk package of a thousand patches that retails at $20.63. The dealer price on it is $12.38," Weeks said. "However, if a dealer breaks up that bulk pack and sells it in smaller packs, he can make even more."

Tempting Buys

Gun cleaning products are often purchased as impulse buys. Merchandise them accordingly. Place them on end caps, display counters, and near the cash register. Displays at the point-of-purchase provide an ideal opportunity for add-on sales.

"Every time someone buys a new gun, you should hit them with, 'Do you have cleaning equipment?'" Lambert said. "If you buy a new gun, you have to clean it before you shoot it. Gun cleaning products are easy to add on. Dealers ought to definitely stock cleaning kits. Besides kits, there are brushes, tools and mops, cleaning cloths and patches, and chemicals."

Brushes and other tools are caliber specific. Your customers will need multiple items to fit the different guns they own. In addition, many gun - care products are essentially disposable items, adding to repeat sales.

"They're like Kleenex," Weeks said. "Your customers use them up, and they have to come back to you to replace them. And, any time they're in your store, there's a chance they'll look at something more expensive than cleaning supplies."

Plenty To Offer

Among the new gun-care products for 2002 is Kleen-Bore's BP-50 muzzleloader cleaning kit.

"We've been predominantly known for centerfire cleaning products, and the black powder market is going through the roof," Lambert said. "We also have a water-based, biodegradable solvent to go along with the kit, Hydro-Kleen Solvent."

Also, look at the Kleen-Bore TAC-100 Tactical Cleaning Kit for the law enforcement market.

FTI Inc. offers a number of high-performance lubricants, cleaning solvents and metal-finishing products in their Tetra Gun line. Tetra Gun Liquid Blue is a fast-acting liquid that customers can use to touch up scratches, or do a complete re-blue. A recent introduction, Tetra Gun Grease is a penetrating heavy-duty fluoropolymer grease that reduces friction, prevents corrosion, reduces wear and prevents parts seizure.

Brownells continues to post strong sales with its wool and cotton bore mops, and with the J-B Bore Cleaning Compound.

"We keep expanding our special line of brass core bore brushes which prevent any scratching in the bore," Weeks said. "In addition, we've come out with a line of brass core brushes with the female thread necessary to fit Dewey coated rods."

Brownells also offers threaded jags compatible with the VNG Weapon Care System. Recently, Brownells began carrying gun-cleaning products manufactured by Sports Care Products Inc.

Pro-Shot Products offers several cleaning kits. The 3-Piece Universal Kit contains a three-piece stainless steel rod, in either a 30-inch or 36-inch length, plus a patch holder for all calibers from .22 to .45, a shotgun adapter, and a bottle of one-step cleaner and lubricant. For larger calibers and long-gun bores, the 3-Piece Large Rifle Calibers and Shotgun Kits contain a larger-diameter rod.

From Sentry Solutions, look for continued strong sales of all their products, which are based on dry film lubricant technology.

"Our product line includes bore treatments and barrel break-in treatments," said Mark Mrozek, of Sentry Solutions. The company has also penetrated the knife care market with their Knife and Tool Care Kit, which contains the company's Tuf-Glide and Tuf-Cloth products.

ProTec GUNgrease is a white lithium-complex, extreme-pressure grease that's stable from -75 to 550 degrees Fahrenheit, and has a low wash-off rate. ProTec has added its Anti-Friction Metal Treatment to GUNgrease for additional lubrication and anti-corrosion protection. ProTec GUNoil also contains Anti-Friction Metal Treatment, and performs under extremes of temperature.

Shooter's Choice has seen great success with it Xtreme Clean Bore & Action Cleaner. The ammonia free, nonabrasive aerosol removes copper, carbon, lead and powder fouling, while prolonging barrel life.

Shooter's Choice continues to offer FP-l0 Lubricant Elite, which contains MT-10 Metal Treatment. According to the company, FP-10's operating temperature ranges from -76 to 500 degrees Fahrenheit, reduces friction and wear, and protects against metal damage. Iosso Products' Bore Cleaner is a concentrated paste that removes copper, lead, powder fouling, plastic wad residue and surface rust.

Iosso's Quickstrip is a new product that removes Parkerizing and bluing within minutes without etching. The solution is reusable.

Slip 2000 Lubricant's synthetic blend contains no oils, petroleum distillates nor PTFE-type ingredients. Slip 2000 joins the ranks of companies offering "environmentally safe" gun cleaning products, with its labeling of the products as non-toxic, non-hazardous and biodegradable. Slip 2000 also offers 725. Gun Cleaner and Degreaser, and a Slip 2000 Automatic Shotgun Gas Piston Parts and Choke Tube Cleaner.

New from KG Industries is K-Phos Pretreatment for use with the company's Gun Kote. K-Phos creates an organic sealed iron phosphate coating on the metal of the gun that's rust and corrosion resistant, and prepares the metal surface for the application of Gun Kote. Gun Kote then provides a protective coating on the gun in black, gray, olive drab, stainless, silver, sold, black, tan, service brown or white.

Hoppe's line of gun care supplies now includes the new Premium Bench Rest Cleaning Kit. It includes a three-piece graphite cleaning rod, slotted and knob ends with adapters, cleaning patches, a brush, Hoppe's Bench Rest 9 Copper Solvent, and Hoppe's Bench Rest Lubricating Oil with Weatherguard -- all in a plastic storage box.

The kit is available in 12 calibers and gauges: pistol: .22, .38, .40 and .45; rifle: .22, .243, .270 and .30; and shotgun: 12, 16 and 20 gauge, and .410 bore.

From Break-Free Inc., look for new Bore Paste for removing moly, copper and powder residue. Don't miss Break-Free's Gun Cloth, a cotton flannel cloth that's been impregnated with Break-Free CLP.

Otis Technology continues to offer many versions of its signature pocket-sized gun cleaning kit. The company now offers replacement components for the kits, and has expanded their line to include an airgun cleaning kit. If you carry black powder supplies, take a look at the Nipple Pen, a unique piece of muzzleloader cleaning equipment the company introduced a couple of years ago.

New from Birchwood Casey are their Maintenance Take-Along aerosols. Synthetic Gun Oil, Sheath Rust Preventive and Bore Scrubber 2-in-1 Bore Cleaner all are offered in 2-ounce cans; Gun Scrubber Solvent/Degreaser comes in a 4-ounce can. Also look for Super Bright Touch-up Sight Pens.

Outers has a new Gun Glove with oil. The glove is made of cotton flannel, and has an inner glove liner to keep the user's hands clean. The company also has two new cleaning kits, the Gunslick Ultra Kit and the Gunslick Ultra Deluxe Kit, in a variety of styles, including 12 gauge, 20 gauge, 9mm pistol, .45 pistol, .22 rifle, .270 to 7mm rifle, .30 to 8mm rifle, and universal rifle/pistol/shotgun.

Gun Oil Wipes Pocket Paks, also from Outers, are individually packed wipes like baby wipes impregnated with gun oil. Also, watch for a wide array of gun cleaning equipment, which are components of the new gun kits being sold separately.
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Author:Boyles, Carolee
Publication:Shooting Industry
Date:May 1, 2002
Previous Article:Target self-defense sales: Americans look to gun dealers to provide the tools for personal protection.
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