Vertical Integration.

Let’s connect the dots, shall we?

  1. Acusport, one of the largest wholesalers of firearms and shooting accessories in the nation, files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
    Now this in and of itself is a big frickin’ deal, because Acusport is HUGE. We have heard over and over again that there’s no “Trump slump” in gun sales, and while that’s probably true, this bankruptcy is an indication that while sales may be good, profit margins probably aren’t (and margins already sucked on gun sales before all this happened).
  2. They’re selling their gun distribution to Ellett Brothers (which is good, because Ellett Brothers runs a tight ship) and they’re selling their gun store Point Of Sale (POS*) system to GearFire, aka The National Firearms Dealer Network.
  3. Gearfire is the backend that drives pretty much every Mom and Pop gun shop’s “online store”. Ever notice that most stores’ shopping carts look and act the same? That’s because they all use Gearfire to stock and sell stuff online for them. Gearfire sets up the store and manages the inventory and buying and then the shop takes a smaller cut of the profit in return for not having to deal with the hassle of setting up an e-commerce site**.
  4. By buying Acusport’s POS business (stop giggling), Gearfire can now integrate the online shopping experience with the brick and mortar shopping experience.
    This has the potential to make the life of your average gun shop owner a LOT easier, because special orders are the bane of a gun store owner’s existence. When someone comes in looking for, say, a Ruger Charger .22 pistol with a green laminate stock, the amount of time it takes to chase down that gun, get a price, confirm the price with the customer and then place the order eats up all the profit you’d make on the sale.
    Now, by buying Acusport’s sales system, it’d be child’s play for GearFire to roll out a tablet-based kiosk for gun shops that directly interfaces with the cash register inside the store. Order your gear online using the kiosk in the store, and blammo, you can pay for it at the register without hassling a sales manager for hours on end.

GearFire is pretty smart. Let’s see what they do with their new acquisition.

* Yes, I know, it’s also an acronym for something else. Grow up.
** Gearfire got started literally across the parking lot from Scottsdale Gun Club, who for years ran SGCUSA.com as a successful online store. Now, however, SGCUSA is a re-branded GearFire store. That says quite a lot about the marketshare that GearFire has managed to acquire. 

This Post Has 3 Comments

    1. I’ve not used it, but I’ve heard from others that Acusport’s POS is a, well, you know.

      Here’s hoping Gearfire can straighten it out.

  1. In the cold light of a post mortem poke around Acusport’s corpse one will discover business decisions that were detrimental to their long term fiscal well being and which led directly to their demise. In the midst of the hyper market, they told huge numbers of mid-sized and smaller retailers to bugger off. They sold product at unsustainable, low margins leading to high inventory levels, high inventory turns, and unnecessarily increasing operating costs. Industry rumor has been they were “on the ropes” financially before the Obama hyper market.

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