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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
There are likely many others who are looking at just where to buy their new toy, just like me.
But, IMHO, price is not the whole story.
I was in sales/service business many years ago, and for many years. Pushing one out the door was always a good thing, but I found that by offering superior customer service and treating my customers with the appreciation and respect they expected brought them back and had them bringing their friends.
I had a large group of regulars and while I appreciated their loyalty (and business) I went to great lenghts to avoid the "in the club" mentality.
One of the things that puts off new visitors to a store is the feeling that they are outside of the "circle". I know it does me at any rate.
I've walked in cold to a good number of gun shops on the island. I also have an overflowing safe, so I'm not a window shopper all the time. But I have to admit, most of my visits are either small purchases (ammo, etc) and a good deal of tire kicking.
The tire kicking and window shopping visits are what tells me where I want to drop my dollars. When my bride isn't looking that is.
It sounds as though most of you on the forum have lots of experience with most of the shops, so this will not be news, but I am sure there are a number of folks, just like me, who are always looking for the perfect shop.
I think it's important to keep it local any time you can. Sure, I buy ammo and accessories on line, but I do give the local shops the first shot at my dollars. I think it's important to understand that they need to make a profit to stay in business and I have seens too many close their doors. So I'll pay a bit more locally. I won't be taken advantage of and I won't be talked down to, but if they're in line with pricing and treat me like a human being, I'll gladly hand then my business.
So to those who might be interested in one persons experience, here is what I've experienced. I hope it's of help to folks that have a purchase in mind and don't have a favorite shop. Understand I have no pals working at any of the shops, and have no paticular loyalty to any of them. Still looking for the perfect place - heavy sigh.
It seems in every gun shop, there is one COB (cranky old bastard) behind the counter so as far as this is concerned, that's a given. Damn shame as that in itself chases people away, but for the purpose of this, I'm taking that out of the equation.
I have certainly not been to every shop but here is my limited experience.
And I think it's important to know that stores can change - staff can be trained - attitudes can be more positive and it customer service can actually be a reality.
If we, as the locals, keep posting our experiences, we will be helping the good guys grow.

Hunter Sports - Mark is a good guy, although every time I've been there, it's crowded (3 is a crowd there) and I've waited as long as a half hour just to get some help. Mark is a hunter and a lot of his experience and advice are based from that standpoint. I think he speaks straight and his opinions are based on real life.
The only negative is the rushed feeling - heck, he's busy!
End result - I have 2 rifles I bought at Hunter.

T&T Gunnery in Seaford - I have tried and tried AND tried to shop there. Big time "club" atmosphere, which of course means that if you're not in - you're out. Again, it's a busy place and you'll have to wait a bit for help.
Surplus ammo, bins of reloaded ammo, which in my direct experience is of questionable quality - but that's another story, and a rack of surplus rifles. The one and only positive I can give T&T is the young man working the back (very busy) counter. he does try to be helpful and he's a decent guy - just overwhemed.
The owner, I think his name is Marty (big guy) should be in a textbook for the "how to alienate customes" course.
As I've said, I have tried repetedly to spend money there.
I have not and can not think of any reason I'd go back.

South Shore Sportsman in Merrick - I've only been once, and it was after reading this very forum and the raves about the shop. Nice, well lit and clean shop. That in and of itself is a welcome change from most shops.
Mike, the owner, came right over and introduced himself, which was a nice surprise.
I didn't drop a nickle, as the purpose of the visit to see what al the raves were about, but actually felt badly about it later. heck - I should have bought a couple boxes of ammo at least. Next time.
About 30% of the store is filled with 5.11 gear. Again, well lit, clean and well displayed. Not being much of the "tactical" type, 5.11 shirts and pants don't have much attraction to me, but I hope he makes a go of it with the line. It's good to see a store make a comitment to a line of gear because that usually means he'll stand by the product and be able to help you out with problems.
Mike will most definitely get a shot at my next purchase.

American Outdoorsman in Farmingdale
Been in there 50 times over the years. The rifle rack is large but most of what is up there has probably been there forever. The store is huge and at one time might have been nice, but that must have been a long time ago. It's dirty, must not have any HVAC at all, and there is a whole lot of stuff thrown (literally) on shelves to pick over.
It looks like they buy only odd lots and S.H.O.T show deals. Lots of crud.
The staff is the same crew that has been there for years. Customers are just a pain in the neck, unless you have dollars falling out of your pockets and then they're helpful. But like a used car lot, they're always eyeballing the next person walking in the door to see if they have a live one. That leave you - the customer they are helping - not getting help at all.
I guess you can tell I have a bit of a problem with the non profesional attitude.
I bought at least one rifle there over the years, maybe two.
I don't even go in there any longer.
I understand they are moving a bit south to a new store. If they get a new staff and a new attitude, the move might be a good thing, for them and for us. If they are just moving the existing operation to a new location - yawn. Same stuff - different place.

Coliseum Gun Traders - Been there a couple of times. Tried to do business at least once (money in pocket - buying today) and gave it a good long think. The in house gunsmith (don't know his name) is the reason I headed for the door. Big talker, knows everything and wants to make sure everyone knows it. The tedious relative we all have and hope he won't make it for Christnas dinner - yeah - that guy.
See ya. Well I actually won't.

Guns & Ammo in Bohemia - So we're on on way to the range, on Sunrise Highway and I remember I need ammo for one rifle. I have my young and a new shooter that I am instructing (NRA Cert Inst) along with me.
I pop in to G&A (for the first time).
Small crowded store, but that's OK. Heavy on the mlitaria stuff, and that's OK.
I need ammo says I. The two boys with me are looking around the store and occasionally pop up and ask questions of the owner (Brian, I believe). He discounted their questions for the most part. hey - these are the next generation of shooters - of purchasers! He's not the friendliest person on the playground and for the life of me I can not imagine why he chose a business where you have to deal with people, because they are clearly not his favorite species.
At any rate, we got back in the car and headed out. the boys felt they had just gotten out of the principles office.
I will not be going back.

LISC - Long Island Shooting Center - Islip - very convienient to me so you would think this would be the first choice for me.
Shady, shady, shady.
Actually bought a Gold Cup and a Glock from them years ago when I was new to the sport.
That was many rears ago and I don't know what happened between then and now, but it has become somewhere I don't even consider going.
I have been in a number of times over the years, always hoping it had changed, but it IMHO, is not an "on the level" shop.
I was in a complete jam one day about two years ago. Needed a particular .243 round that no one locally had in stock. Ran in to LISC and lo and behold they had one box - and were not even embarrassed to ask me for $35.00 for it. This ammo was all over on line for about $18.00.
That tied it for me.
I'm done and will not go back. So, for ripping me off for less than $20, they have lost a customer forever.
It's not just the ammo experience. The people behind the counter that I have dealt with are the reason I won't be back.

Chesters - my nephew says he likes this place and gives them his business.
I have never been, but I don't know why. Just not on my normal path of travel.
Being new to LIFF, I've spent hours reading the forums and from what I've read poosted by others, I think I'll just scratch Chesters off the "to visit" list.

Campsite in Huntington - never been and hoping to make a visit.
Every time I've driven by (often) it strikes me as a camping and fishing store.
Based on what I've read here, they deserve a visit.

There are probably a dozen more that I've been in and out of. Can't think of them and can't type much longer - whew.

My current venture is good quality glass. I have a bunch of so-so optics but have made my mind up and have been squirreling away my spare change and before summer, I will make a move.
An in house competent smith to mount the scope and a STOCKING dealer that knows his stuff and can offer some real world advice would be enough to swing me in to a store. Know any?
Everyone says the'll mount the scope but most have a vice on a counter and not much more that I would do at home is offered.
I'm only going to get one chance at it and would really like to keep the dollars local and not ship them out to the Internet.

At the end of the day, I believe we need to support our local dealers if we want to have local dealers.
It's my hope that they will wake up and realize these are big ticket items for many of us and we deserve the customer service, both before and after the sale.
 

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Sharp Shooter!
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The Coliseum shop "gunsmith"is probably the only "gunsmith" wannabe on the Island. He is NOT anything close to be knowledgeable about pistols IMHO, and should NEVER be given a handgun to "FIX." Not from personal experiences but those who are close friends and fellow team members who have been used by him. "Doc"
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Ten Ring - I tried to keep it short.
I actually did bring in a 1911 a while back for him to do a quick and easy repair done to. A repair i could do if I had the jig - didn't want to spend $100 on a tool I would need once, so i brought it to him.
It was promised in a week.
Six weeks later I went to pick it up afer repeated calls to them said it wasn't ready yet.
I went to pick it up, unrepaired.
The guy (alleged smith) had a whole song and dance.
See ya - won't ever be back.
 

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Thanks for the review. I am new to the whole firearms experience and am looking for a good place to keep my business. I am currently 22 so a lot of stores don't want to help me for whatever reason even if I am there to buy. I guess they thihnk I am wasting their time. The thing is if they lose me as a customer it will be a big loss. I essentially need to buy everything as I am new to this.
 

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Thorough review.  Thanks.  Definitely give Campsite a try.  The people there are knowledgeable, experienced and caring.  It too can be crowded at times but waiting for quality service is worth it.
 

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Spot on. I too am in a retail type business and can see no reason why a customer should feel alienated. We too have some regular"club" members that feel the need to stay a while. While these guys are also a steady stream of business, a new customer walking in the door will at least get a "Hello. How can I help you?"If he is looking for something in particular then the regulars can wait. Many times also the phone will get put on hold over the warm body in front of me. I would rather deal w/ someone face to face than someone price checking over the phone.
Tunaguy
 

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WOW.

Very nice review of the stores in LI, nicely done.

However, and just to be very clear, I am not part, nor I have a friend that works there or anything else for that matter, I think the LISC is doing better.

I went there only once, and I felt like a customer, the young guy behind the counter was helpful and I didn't feel unwelcome. To top it all, I didn't even make a purchase, I was just window shopping and asking questions; I spend there an hour at least.
 
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you should try bruce at hunter essentals, in albertson,

Nice list, Dont bring a long gun to colisuem, my Brand new gun came back to me scratched up and everything
 

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[quote name='']you should try bruce at hunter essentals, in albertson,

Nice list, Dont bring a long gun to colisuem, my Brand new gun came back to me scratched up and everything
[/quote]

Hands down, the best.

Bruce will be getting a lot of my money when I get my pistol license.
 

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No mention of Benson's ...there's been a couple of posts about the "dealer in Coram". I won't be going back there.
 

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Great review, I agree 100% with all reviews. I have been to all of them and had same experiences. + 1 for campsite, the only place I go on a regular basis. Be aware of pricing though, do your homework, as I got ripped off on a rifle purchase I had made without doing research. Other than that there are some good deals to be had but more importantly, cleanliness, good customer service, good inventory.
 

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I have made purchases at 5 of the locals. I think it is all about our personal experiences and what we like.
I will say however that a brick and mortar sotore front has way higher overhead than someone selling online.
You will always find things cheaper online, especially if you are buying things like ammo in bulk.
Local brick and mortar guys have to make a profit to stay alive and in an E-commerce society thats getting tougher.
I do not mind paying a liitle more for the convenience of walking in, touching and feeling, having customer support,
and in the case of LISC walk through the doors and shoot with my purchase.
Just my humble opinion.
 

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Ive said it once and I'll keep saying it. Campsite is the best, you walk into the place and are warmly greeted, it makes you feel like your actually appreciated. Ill be in the market for a 1911, and an M1A this year, campsite will be where I get them from.
 
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Have to agree. Campsite and Southshore are really the only 2 places I go to.
 

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PM,
Spot On !
I have to admit though that out of convenience I started going to T and T in Seaford and still support them,
although I have not bought that much there for the last two years (or anywhere else for that matter.) That young guy in the back is Hank, and if one can wait out the line of seeming malingerers that serve as his unmoving entourage, the guy is outstanding. I do get along with the owner, but grudgingly admit that many comments about him are unfortunately also "spot on," and its a shame because he could
do so much better with a different mindset. However, Marty treated my wife and I quite courteously when we decided to buy a much cheaper Taurus over a S and W (fits our hands so much better) and teased me over my year or two later purchase of a CZ-75 declaring that his own CZ-75 was his own favorite handgun.
I would not urinate on American Outdoors if the joint was on fire. I could not get help at Hunter Sports the second time I went there. Bensons?
Actually treated quite civilly there a few months back and we were only window shopping.
Problem seems to be that you almost have to get in on one of the "clubs", even though that is also anathema to me. Last week I was in T and T and I only recognized the owner's son and of course Hank, who gave me a great deal on what I was looking for. Maybe a climate change with some of the newer people there now ? Whatever, I will stick with Hank.
You will eventually find "your" gun shop, but it simply should not be this way, especially with the internet for ammo, and gunbroker and FFL transfers for firearm purchases. I can not even begin to understand how so many of them still seem to stay in business.
 

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moved to greener pastures
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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Thanks much to all of you for sharing your experiences as well.
At the end of the day, I think what I saw was a good representation of what many saw.
And yes, I'll make Campsite a stop and do a bit of window shopping to get the feel of the place.
I actually like to see a customer in front of me as it gives me the chance to watch the way the shop folks deal with the customer.
I work really hard for this money and I'm only willing to hand it over to someone who does the same for me.
And as far as the local shops, kudos to the one's that are doing it right.
And shop owners - yes you - a good experience brings a customer back. A negative one will have him out the door, telling his friends, and posting on boards like this.
I am always hoping to find the perfect place. I have high hopes of doing so.
Thanka again to all the posters.
it's appreciated.
 
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