Airsoft News: Store Aims For Airsoft Crowd

David Greene was first introduced to airsoft guns – they shoot little plastic pellets that police use in training – while he was with the Army infantry in Korea in 1995.

The idea to open a Frankfort airsoft gun and supply store popped into his head earlier this year.

airsoft guns

That was after a teammate on his airsoft team (Frankfort Elite Airsoft Regiment, or FEAR) needed a new gun just before a competition. Nothing was available locally.

Greene, a 38 year-old civilian contractor with the National Guard, and his friends drove to an airsoft store in Cincinnati – the closest – and Greene came back impressed.

He and his wife, Heather, 40, opened Dave’s Airsoft in October, and Greene says the response on opening day was “fantastic.”

“We had a lot of people coming in,” he said. “We’ve kind of lacked on advertising so far because we’re just starting out, but word of mouth is spreading quickly.

“I’ve had a great response from friends around the surrounding area saying everyone’s been playing, but there wasn’t a store in Central Kentucky until now.”

Greene’s customers include college students, law enforcement officers and current and former military personnel.

Teams form and compete in a way similar to paintball players.

Frankfort Police enlisted the services of FEAR during a hostage training exercise. The airsoft team acted as criminals holding a classroom of students at Frankfort High hostage, and the police swept them out.

“They had to clear out of the high school, secure the hostages and terminate us,” Greene explained.

Airsoft guns were used to simulate firearms, and Greene said the officers seemed interested in using the guns for recreational purposes.

Greene said airsoft can provide low cost training for law enforcement. He plans to contact state police and others to gauge their interest in similar training exercises.

“Police can use airsoft in lieu of firearms,” Greene said, adding that it gives them a realistic and hands-on training method.

For the everyday customer who doesn’t train for hostage situations, Dave’s Airsoft offers some of the lowest prices on guns and equipment. Greene says he prices everything 2 to 3 percent lower than what you would find online.

Prices for rifles range from $139-$305, and handguns go for about $50. Soon they’ll also be selling airsoft guns for younger kids and teenagers at around $50.

Dave’s Airsoft also sells all necessary airsoft equipment, like eye protection.

The advantage of shopping at his store, Greene says, is getting to feel the gun before buying it and not paying shipping and handling.

“There’s no guesswork. You can get your hands on the weapon, feel how durable it is, see how the stitching is on the gear.”

Another key feature is an in-store firing range next to the cash register. Customers can fire a weapon before buying it to see how it performs.

Greene says about 80 percent of his customers use the target range before buying a gun.

“You can look at the gun and hold the gun, but after you fire it, that’s what makes you decide,” he said.

The hardest part of opening the store, Greene said, was finding wholesalers to supply it. Dave’s Airsoft primarily deals with Jag Precision and JG – a sister company.

JG stands for “jing gong” in Chinese, which translates to English as “golden bow.”

Greene says having a wife who’s co-owned her own store helps a lot, since she knows the ins and outs of running a business.

The two make a perfect team, because what she brings in business knowledge, he matches with airsoft knowledge.

“We even each other out,” Greene says.

Originally from Jamestown, N.Y, Greene says he’s at home in Frankfort. He wants the store to succeed, but he doesn’t want to get too big.

“I don’t want to be Walmart or anything, but I’d like to give back and introduce people in the community to it,” he said.

“It’s a lot of fun and it teaches leadership and builds self-confidence. It’s just a great social program where people can meet on an even playing field.”

Source: (November 10, 2009) by Kevin Wheatley

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