By Joseph P. Tartaro
The firearms industry seems to be a good breeding ground for entrepreneurship. New products and services are always popping up, usually to fill some perceived need, whether for self-and-home defense, competition, hunting or just plinking. And it’s not always new guns or ammunition. Not surprisingly many of these gun business trailblazers are men and women who have served in the military or law enforcement, or were previously avid competitors or trainers. And these pioneers are not just developing new products; often they are creating new ways of delivering the needed products to other gun enthusiasts.
One of the more unique new businesses is Micki’s Mobile Shooters Supply, where shooters can shop at the range. Started in 2013, it’s run by a woman gun enthusiast, Micki Leopard, and brings needed firearms-related products—mostly gun care products—right to busy ranges in its home state of Arizona, as well as ranges in neighboring California, Nevada and New Mexico. “Some people would simply call me a Wagon Jobber, but I am innovative, have created a niche in the marketplace and I have the true American entrepreneurial spirit in developing my new Mobile Shooters Supply cargo van,” Leopard says.
“I want to better service my customers at the shooting range with products for gun cleaning, care and maintenance along with other shooting accessories. I have taken the typical bricks and mortar retail gun store and made it a ‘mobile’ store where ‘The point of purchase will often be the point of usage’.” Micki’s doesn’t sell guns or ammunition like a regular gun store, so she doesn’t need a federal firearms license. However, in addition to gun care products, shooting vests and other supplies, she also can rent you a GoPro®, or ShotKam camera or even chronograph equipment to test and evaluate a shooter’s skills and/ or performance.
“I want to be known for my ‘Shop Where You Shoot’ A New Business Concept A familiar shooters’ convenience store at many ranges in southwestern states is the unique store in this converted Mercedes truck. January-February 2015 29 outstanding selection of gun cleaning and care products while exceeding my customers’ expectations in service; even on the simple items,” she says. “I want to fill that void of ‘time’ between rounds in shooting competitions with the opportunity for the shooter to clean his gun, learn about new products and all the different products available for gun cleaning, care and maintenance.” Her business philosophies are very basic and pretty simple!
“I do not believe in some PR firm developing fancy phrases for promotional activities for my business,” Micki says. “What I do believe in is using my past business experiences and what I have learned about business from ‘talks’ around the kitchen table. My Southern upbringing is one of the reasons I feel so comfortable with my Micki’s Mobile Shooters Supply van where telling it like it is and trying my hardest to do the best I can is the only way I know how to take care of my growing family of shooting customers.” Whenever possible, the products she features are “Made in USA,” and she favors disabled veteranowned businesses wherever possible. She does have some products that are manufactured overseas, but normally when there is no other product similar to it. Clean guns improve accuracy and prolong the life of firearms. Micki’s products go with Modern Sporting Rifles and other types of current rifles, handguns, shotguns, blackpowder guns and airguns.
Among other advantages Micki’s mobile store offers is that shooters can clean their guns twice a day for just $15 and she supplies all-of-the gun cleaning and care products. The shooter gets to sample and try and learn about a whole lot of different products (many new to them) while cleaning and maintaining their guns. This popular service helps fill what can be a time void between rounds at a competition. Besides all the cleaning and gun care products, Micki offers shooting vests, shooting glasses, custom molded ear protection, choke wrenches and many other popular shooting accessories. Micki doesn’t just offer supplies for the pistol, rifle and shotgun shooters, but for air guns and black powder. She promotes safety and offers a weather forecast that many competitors find invaluable. It’s the “Shooters Weather Bar™” on the front of the hood of the cargo van that was converted into this traveling shop. Every hour or two Micki updates the weather conditions on the hood of the van to give shooters more exact information. Included are wind speed and direction, temperature, humidity, barometric pressure, visibility, elevation, latitude/ longitude and overall general weather conditions. This feature for the van was developed in co-operation with the National Weather Service and they help in long-range weather forecasts for Micki.
Bottom line, Micki’s Mobile Shooters Supply cargo van is different for many reasons, but the most important reason is that she wants to add some fun and increase your enjoyment of your shooting sports experience. So the next time you are between rounds in a shooting competition or maybe just finished practicing for the day look for Micki’s Mobile Shooters Supply cargo van. Stop by, say hello, clean your gun, learn about and try out some new products and then replenish your gun cleaning supplies. You can also find out scheduled stops for the van or place orders at the company’s website, mickismobileshooterssupply.com. W&G