Keepshooting.com's exciting new announcement: expansion
There comes a time in every fledgling company’s life, when physical changes begin to manifest. The size of the business increases, and hair begins to sprout where there was once no hair to be found. This is, of course, started by hormonal signals sent from the brain. Now, if this sounds at all familiar, it is probably because I mistakenly described puberty rather than the expansion of a small business; but not without reason. As always, there is a purpose behind my nonsensical musings, and if you have yet to figure it out, then let me express it as clearly as possible: Keepshooting.com is expanding.
While we may not be growing any new hair – at least we hope not – our facilities and operations will most definitely enjoy a much-needed size increase. Moreover, it was not so much a brain sending out hormonal signals to trigger these changes as it was our owner and his staff making phone call after countless phone call, road trip after tireless road trip, plan after painstaking plan and everyone putting their social lives on hold to ensure that everything came together as perfectly as possible. The result is a new business model, a renewed sense of purpose and, most importantly, a new consolidated central warehouse that will ensure our continued growth in spite of our nation's changing political climate. To put it plainly, we love the new Keepshooting.com, and we fully expect that you will be overcome with emotion as well.
Anyway, I am sure you have had quite enough of the uncomfortable metaphors and heartfelt sentiments – on with the juicy details. Keepshooting.com is expanding and you want to know how it will affect you, not how it came to be. I get it. As noted, our expansion is all-encompassing. That means that our physical location is not the only thing getting a makeover. Our staff is expected to grow, we will be better equipped to handle all business operations and, ultimately, existing customers will be treated to much more of what they already love – more firearms, more ammunition, more accessories, more outdoor gear and more military surplus.
Everything stems from the coming addition of our new consolidated central warehouse located across state lines. For each of our first ten years in business, we have made our home in Southern Maryland, about 30 minutes south of Washington, D.C. During those ten years, we have accomplished more than anyone expected in our three interconnecting warehouses and modest office space. To be honest, however, we have long needed more space. Now we have it. And while I would love to be able to take you on a virtual tour with pictures, videos, detailed dimensional descriptions and more, we are not quite set up for that yet. The following will have to do.
Located in the small, friendly town of New Oxford, Pennsylvania, our new consolidated central warehouse takes the form of a 33,000-plus square foot warehouse situated on a multi-acre lot – more than twice the size of our current setup. Storage space and office space abound, which will allow us to meet our current needs as well as shore up our long-term requirements as well. In the short-term, it means being able to stock up on all the products that you already know and love. Ideally, there will be no more out-of-stock products provided those products are available for us to purchase. As you know, some products, such as firearms and ammunition, are on an allocated status. That means we can only purchase them as distributors make them available to us. Other products, like military surplus, are no longer in production. Once the supply runs dry, we are unable to obtain more. Everything else, however, is fair game, and if you want it we will have it. Long-term, we are looking at the ability to add more and more new products to the lineup. If you are asking yourself, "How could Keepshooting.com possibly add to their lineup more than they have in the past year?" then just you wait and see. But the increased space is not only for inventory.
With an increase in space also comes an increase in efficiency on all levels. As I alluded to earlier, our staff will be expanding. In fact, it already has with the hiring of several part-time employees right here in Maryland. Now, in addition to the friendly and customer-driven Maryland staff that you have dealt with for years, there will be an all-new support staff in Pennsylvania that will be just as inviting. Who knows, they may even prove to be nicer than we are! Several business operations, including inventory tracking, shipping and receiving will benefit as well. Some of these processes will be automated, while others will be facilitated by the sheer availability of space where there was no space before. Our cramped shipping stations will soon turn into small, professional hubs capable of next-day, and sometimes even same-day shipping. You can also expect shipping accuracy to improve as well. All in all, this is a decision that was years in the making, and we have every bit of confidence that it was the right one for us, our families, our customers and the industry.
Sounds great, huh? Unfortunately, this is the part where I admit to being just a bit misleading. Do not get me wrong, everything I have said is 100 percent true. It is just that while yes, this decision has been years in the making, it was expedited by more than just a growing need for more space – there were other factors at play, and it is now time to discuss how this decision came to be.
For months, we have been making reference to our nation's changing political climate, which I will not detail here as it has been nearly unavoidable these past few months. In a nutshell, new firearm legislation is inevitable. To what extent that legislation is passed is yet to be seen. But it is not only the nation that faces increased firearm legislation, it is individual states as well, and Maryland is one of the states that are faced with perhaps some of the toughest firearm legislation yet. And now, with full disclosure, we are able to admit that the impending legislation has been a major catalyst in our getting the ball rolling on this expansion.
Again, I will not detail the pages and pages worth of proposed legislation, which has already been approved by the state Senate – all signs point toward it passing in the House of Delegates as well. But those who have pored through the details are well-aware of the fact that this legislation seems aimed at putting firearm-related businesses in our state at a disadvantage more so than it seeks to curb firearm-related violence. Do not just take my word for it – Beretta USA, one of the world's oldest and largest arms manufacturers is threatening to move its entire operation out of state should the proposed legislation be passed. No doubt, losing a decades-long mainstay and the hundreds of jobs it provides will be a huge hit to Maryland's economy.
But wait, is this not all a little hasty? I mean, nothing has passed yet. True, but we here at Keepshooting.com are already feeling the effects of what experts are assuring us is almost definitely going to become law. Already we have experienced unwillingness on the part of several top national distributors to accept orders for or ship now-legal firearm accessories and other products to retailers in Maryland. This will only be compounded by added legislation. So far, this hindrance has been, for the most part, limited to firearm accessories and other firearm-related products. When it comes to the firearms themselves, however, Maryland businesses have an entirely different set of problems to worry about.
Anyone who has attempted to purchase a regulated firearm in the state of Maryland this year is likely already well-aware that our seven-day waiting period has turned into an indefinite waiting period, sometimes approaching 60 days. Anyone arguing that a small part of that is not due to an influx of firearm purchases in fear of an upcoming ban should be ignored, but a bigger piece of the pie is the fact that the Department of Maryland State Police is improperly staffed to handle some of the duties tasked to their Support Services Bureau. Well, that or they are hoping that the extended waiting period will discourage some prospective buyers from making purchases until legislation is passed, at which point some of those firearms will be off limits. And if you thought that the problems with the state police begin and end with a waiting period, then think again.
Included in the proposed legislation is a new amendment regarding the regulation of paperwork and record keeping that stipulates a mandatory inspection for each dealer by the Department of Maryland State Police every two years. Also included in this measure is the requirement of each dealer to keep two different sets of books. While this may not sound like much, the potential penalties for a single record-keeping error, which is not defined, are severe. A single record-keeping error, the likelihood of which seems to increase with the potential confusion brought about by the requirement of two different sets of books, may result in imprisonment of up to three years, a $10,000 fine or both – better not forget your tittles or T-bars. Would not the funding required to implement these proposed inspections be better spent on education, the economy or one of the number of any other problems our state faces?
Finally, there is the little matter of the proposed licensing provision to discuss. At the heart of the looming legislation is a licensing provision that would require all prospective handgun buyers to obtain licensure prior to purchasing a handgun, which would include providing the state police with a fresh set of fingerprints and completing at least one training course. The fees and waiting periods that will be associated with obtaining licensure will no doubt serve as a deterrent for many prospective handgun buyers, making business in the state of Maryland non-viable from an economic standpoint. And where business is not viable, business does not thrive – hence, our expansion to Pennsylvania.
Owning a multi-acre lot with an enormous pre-existing building in a firearm-friendly state not only gives us the ability to accomplish everything already mentioned, it also provides us with a bit of an insurance policy. Should all proposed legislation pass and business become non-viable in Maryland, we will be fully prepared to transition the entirety of Keepshooting.com to Pennsylvania. So whether you live in Maryland or you are a customer that lives hundreds of miles away, rest assured that Keepshooting.com is not going anywhere – except maybe Pennsylvania.