WOODS: Outdoors retailers start small, then expand
It is often quoted that small businesses in America are the lifeblood of new business starts and expansions. How many such Mississippi businesses can we think of that virtually started in a garage before they became highly recognized national companies in their own right? Peavey Electronics, Primos and Mossy Oak come immediately to mind. There are dozens of others I am sure.
Then there is a whole cottage business community out there in the outdoors, hunting, fishing and shooting industry that might not make national status, but is never-the-less making their mark. Outfits like Pittman Game Calls, Wildlife Specialty Inc, Muddy Water Camo, DeltAg, World Wide Firearms, Paul Meek Outdoors and Glock Pro of Mississippi have created jobs and personal incomes as they create their products and provide their services to others.
Glock Pro of Mississippi
Chad Holifield of Pearl started out not unlike so many other small businessmen. He attended college, Hinds Community College in aircraft mechanics, because he was good with his hands and naturally mechanically inclined. After school he immediately landed a job in food service and for years worked his way up through the ranks of several known restaurant and food service companies. But, frankly as he said, “I just got tired of dishing it out.”
Holifield had always harbored a strong interest in guns and shooting. He surveyed the shooting landscape in Mississippi and surrounding states to discover that law enforcement agencies and many citizens were using the Austrian made Glock handguns as standard issue. In his discovery stage he determined that no one was providing hands on service for these weapons or selling Glock factory parts or accessories. That planted the seed that got it all started.
Cranking up a new business
Roughly three years ago now, Chad started his company doing on site, home shop, traveling shop, and gun show repairs, modifications, parts exchanges, and accessory upgrades on Glock pistols. This was not without considerable preparation.
One cannot just set up shop and work on finely manufactured equipment like a Glock pistol. Chad had to attend a special Glock armorer school to learn firsthand how a Glock pistol works including actual hands-on work on Glocks. This meant completely stripping them down to every component, and then putting it all back together ending with a function test.
The Glock certification has allowed Glock Pro of Mississippi to order factory parts direct, and also all of the accessory items that Glock sells including hats, work pads, tools, patches, stickers and other logo items that are in high demand. These real Glock items are only available to official Glock armorers.
Holifield is also an NRA-certified instructor in pistol, rifle, and shotgun. He has certification as a chief range safety officer as well as the Personal Protection in the Home instructor. If you have an interest in his classes, you can contact him at 601-832-9722.
Working primarily gun shows in Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, Arkansas, Tennessee and Texas, Chad will travel to as many as three or more shows per month in this six state region. Last year, Chad worked over 40 shows. He sees upwards of a hundred customers each day during a two-day event looking for various upgrades to their Glock pistols. Many law enforcement officers bring their guns to Chad for repairs, modifications, parts replacements and accessories at these shows expecting that he will attend them and have the parts they need on hand.
“A typical Glock customer might have a new trigger unit installed that will reduce the trigger pull on the pistol. I sell only official Glock factory parts, so everything fits and works perfectly. I also sell high visibility replacement sights by Tru-Glo that glow in the dark for night police work. I might slip in a magazine butt gap plug, too. This keeps dirt and water out of the handgun,” says Holifield.
I have personally witnessed Chad at work since I often help out at his gun show tables in Jackson along with his dad, Hudie. In less than 30 minutes he can install new parts or modify a gun completely. He not only possesses the special skills to work on a Glock, but he has also assembled the proper tools, as well. Some of these tools are very specialized and not cheap. It’s just part of what any small business person has to do to facilitate their business.
One thing in particular I notice about Chad’s service to his customers is his willingness to take a few extra minutes to wipe the gun down inside and out and also examine everything for wear, tear as well as function. Then he puts a new safety strap on the piece as is required by the gun show operators to render the gun completely safe during its presence at the event. His customers have come to expect these extra steps and appreciate this level of customer service.
One might say that Glock Pro of Mississippi is a one-man shop, though his dad helps out selling Glock “stuff” at the shows, as well as other merchandise. This is just how a lot of businesses started out, small, and then expanded. Chad’s dream is to have his own physical shop to work out of one day in hopes of cutting down on all the travel, but for the time being he is just happy providing a needed service to a willing clientele. You can contact Chad at www.glockpro.net or email him at email@example.com. This is just one more example of how small businesses are the backbone of America.
John J. Woods, Ph.D., is vice president in charge of economic development and training, Eagle Ridge Conference and Training Center, the Workforce Development Center and contract training services at Hinds Community College in Raymond.
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