Hunting is a popular recreational activity and hobby in the U.S. as there are more than 12.5 million hunters nationwide, according to a 2006 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Survey. While a variety of animals and seasons keep hunters on the move throughout the year, it’s important that they have the right supplies and equipment for each animal and season. You can help hunters get the gear they need by opening a hunting supply store.
Write a business plan outlining how you will start and manage your hunting supply store. Cover any financing needed to start your business, including how you’ll pay for a facility, initial supplies and business registration costs. Detail how your store will be operated, including what days and hours you’ll be open and whether you’ll have extended hours during the hunting seasons popular in your area.
Visit with a loan officer at a bank or credit union in your community to learn what funding opportunities exist to provide you with the cash needed to start your hunting supply store. Sell him on your business idea, and use the information from your business plan to show how you plan to make your hunting supply store profitable. Ask about loans available from the U.S. Small Business Administration as these are designed to help entrepreneurs get the funding they need to start their own business. Work to raise your credit score if it prevents you from qualifying for a business loan, or take on a business partner with the cash or access to loans to finance the startup of the store for you.
Register your hunting supply business on the federal level by obtaining an employer identification number (EIN) from the Internal Revenue Service website or by calling the IRS’ Business and Tax Specialty line at 800-829-4933. Fill out the forms from the department of revenue in your state to register your business to collect and pay sales tax on the hunting supplies you sell. Apply for a local business license from your city or county government where your hunting supply store is physically located, and pay any accompanying licensing fee as required by your local government.
Meet with a commercial real estate agent to learn what retail and commercial properties are available in your area to house your hunting supply store. Know in advance whether you want to rent or buy based on the funding you have to start your store as well as your long-term plans for your business. For example, purchasing a building is best if you have future plans to expand and grow your hunting supply store. Prepare the facility to meet your needs by setting up shelves, clothing racks and other items you plan to use to display hunting supplies and equipment.
Talk to members of local hunting and shooting clubs to learn what types of hunting supplies are in demand in your area as well as what brands hunters prefer. Contact major manufacturers of hunting supplies such as Winchester, Bushnell and Hornady to learn if they sell their products directly to retail stores or use a wholesale supplier. Upon receiving the supplies, price them at a marked-up rate that allows you to make a profit.
Advertise job openings with your hunting supply store in local newspaper classifieds as well as on online job sites such as CareerBuilder and Monster. Look for employees with excellent customer service skills and experience hunting, since you want the staff to be able to provide recommendations and accurate information to help customers choose the right supplies and equipment.
Place advertisements in local hunting magazines and journals advertising your supply store. Use newspapers, radio and television to advertise your store and the supplies you offer prior to the start of the different hunting seasons. Consider expanding your business beyond your geographical area by establishing a website and selling your hunting supplies worldwide.
Allison Dodge has been a writer since 2005, specializing in education, careers, health and travel. She has worked at educational institutions for more than 10 years. Dodge has a master's degree in education administration.