Huntsville, AL–What a time to be alive! Good old American ingenuity is popping up left and right during this Corona catastrophe. And never was there a better example than Larry’s Pistol and Pawn in Huntsville, Alabama. They recently turned their retail gun store into a ‘drive thru only’ business.
With new restrictions on gatherings of more than ten people and requirements that customers not be closer than six feet together, it was nearly impossible for customers to shop at Larry’s gun store. When we spoke to Larry Barnett on the phone, he said that if the staff tried to maintain the distance, customers would advance forward, unconsciously. “They didn’t mean to, it just happened.”
Larry tried to do 15 customers at a time, and then 10, but questions cropped up? How do you disinfect a gun after a potential customer has handled it? What about when they pick up items and put them back down again?
So they did what any red-blooded American would do: made their business into a drive thru.
All the same paperwork still applies to gun sales so the drive thru doesn’t really speed things up. Barnett said, “We’re very slow at times because we still have to see the customer fill out the 4473 and sign it in front of us.”
For Barnett, closing the gun range was an easy choice, but closing the retail store was a harder decision. Still, he had to consider his staff of 50 employees. The average age of his employees is 70–the oldest is 82. They were more at risk than anybody. Obviously, with a 10,000 square foot retail store and a 4,000 square foot store across town, one drive thru can’t really compete.
Still, it’s not all bad news for Barnett. He said, “We’re selling a lot of ammunition. We’re selling a lot of guns. We’ve been able to keep all of our help on.”
For now, Barnett said they weren’t hurting for customers–just having a hard time accommodating them with only the drive up window. “I wish we had the ability to wait on the customers we have right now. We’ve been here for 47 years. First of all we want to support the Second amendment. But now we’re trying to support our customers, some of whom are fourth generation customers. But right now, that means helping the ones we can.” And the drive thru is the best way he can pull that off in the current craziness.
Still, gun owners aren’t deterred by a slower process. Just this Thursday Larry’s posted an image of a customer who had just purchased a Barrett through the drive thru window!
God bless America! Where else in the world could you pull off something like this?
Heck, all those states where their governors are trying to shut down gun stores? If they can’t get a drive up window, curbside pickup is always an option!