TRAVERSE CITY — The Armory gun shop, 807 Airport Access Road, plans to close by the end of the year.
“The main reason that we are closing is because I started a project many months ago, getting into e-commerce, unrelated to firearms," said Jeff Lindberg. “Consumer goods, product liquidation, things like that. That has really been taking off and working well. What I noticed was, a dollar invested there is worth far more than a dollar invested in the gun business.”
Lindberg said the gun shop currently is doing well financially, but he believes the days of brick-and-mortar gun shops are waning.
“The problem with the gun business right now — and this also influenced my decision — the margins in the gun business are extremely, extremely low. If you’re lucky, you’re making 10, maybe 15 percent on a gun sale — which, as far as retail goes, is horrible.”
Lindberg opened The Armory in 2011. The store currently has five employees, including Lindberg.
He said he always had a friendly relationship with Traverse City’s other gun shops, and is confident they can serve demand.
“The real big problem right now, the state of the gun industry — is that right now we do have a conservative in office, and people aren’t really out buying guns like they were when Obama was in office,” said Lindberg. “The problem is that the gun manufacturers kind of hit the panic button.”
Manufacturers now are selling products on their own websites at prices that make it difficult for dealers , he said.
“They’re undercutting the dealer network.”
That pressure helped push Lindberg toward focusing on his new venture. That new e-commerce business is based in Traverse City, but operates 100 percent online.
He’s ready to move forward into a new business venture, but looks back on his time running The Armory with fondness.
“In the almost decade we that were here, we had amazing experiences. I met so many amazing people.”
A posting at armorytc.com states that, for now, it’s business as usual at The Armory. A sign advertises a liquidation sale, which could be complete by the end of the year. Pending transactions will be completed, the post said, and unsold consignment items will be returned to owners. The shop will continue to accept gunsmithing projects until it becomes clear when the liquidation will end.