When Phil Harnois started renting a table at gun shows to sell some fired brass and a few firearms and accessories, he had no idea that his hobby would grow into a business.
But when the number of tables he rented increased to hold the stuff he was bringing, it became obvious that Phil's interest in guns and ammunition was more than a pastime. Soon his wife, Dianne, was attending shows alongside him, and they began traveling longer and longer distances to gun shows in other areas. Eventually they rented a small storage space and began carrying new items as well as used, selling by appointment and by mail-order across Canada. But it was obvious that a retail space would soon be a necessity.
P & D Enterprises began operating from its current retail location in June of 2000. The store is in the well-known location of the old Klondike Arms, a fixture in the Edmonton area for over thirty years.
You can still see them at some of the gun shows in Alberta and BC. The shows continue to be a way for Phil and Dianne to serve their existing customers as well as meet new ones. Their customer care and dedication to the rural sportsmen is the best advertising they could have.
Starting a firearms retail business in times like this is far from easy. The regulations that control the sale of firearms and ammunition seem to change daily, and both gun owners and retailers are left wondering what kind of restrictions they will have to endure next. It takes a great deal of commitment to keep pace with these changing regulations.
Phil and Dianne feel that the best way to fight the oppressive anti-gun mentality of the government is to continue serving the needs of the legitimate gun-owning public, and make certain that their access to firearms is as unlimited as possible within current legislation. However painful the adaptation to new laws might be, the only way to ensure the future of the hobby is for gun retailers to cater to the needs of the sportsmen, and for sportsmen to support independent gun and ammunition merchants.
The lifespan of shooting sports in Canada depends on the health of legitimate firearm and ammunition sales.
There are some basic things that all of us, as retailers and as private gun owners, can do to promote the hobby and lifestyle of responsible gun ownership:
- Encourage newcomers. Whether someone is entering the hobby for the first time, or is expanding into a new area (such as reloading, trap and skeet, or pistol shooting), they often need encouragement and advice. Support new and younger shooters in their choice to enter the hobby, and encourage others to try the sport. Patronize businesses that place a priority on customer service and advice.
- Promote safety. Nothing erodes the enjoyment of a sport, nor attracts more negative publicity, than accident and injury. Respect the power of your firearms and their components (ammunition and powder). Safe reloading, safe storage, and safe use of firearms are the keys to public respectability for the sport.
- Be aware. Knowing what lies beyond your target is an essential component of safe shooting. But do you know what lies beyond your other activities? When you fail to fight unfair legislation, do you know what worse conditions lay ahead? When you choose to ignore laws, do you know where your actions are taking you and your fellow hobbyists? When your government is keeping track of you, choose to keep careful track of your government.
- Stand together. We don't all share the same interests, even within the shooting community. But we might all eventually suffer the same fates if we don't speak with a united voice. Don't be left standing in the line to turn in your Kentucky squirrel gun, muttering. When they came for the handguns, I didn't say anything because I didn't own a handgun...
- Maintain your rights. Nearly everyone with a firearms license is a voter. Is every adult (16+) in your household licensed? Ten million voters with gun licenses would be a formidable force. Are you licensed for every category of firearm open to you? Before the government creates their next category of prohibited firearm, get your foot in the door by owning a gun of that type today, and maintain your license through timely renewals.
Phil and Dianne hope to continue serving the firearms community for years to come. With your support, P & D Enterprises will continue to grow to meet your needs and expectations for the future.