By Richard K. Ostrander
If you have lived in Fayetteville for even the shortest amount of time then you have probably driven down Skibo Road and wondered about the iconic sign reading, “Jim’s” of Jim’s Pawn and Gun Store on the corner of Yadkin. The sign has been there since Jim’s was opened in 1977 when Cross Creek Mall was still a pine forest filled with underbrush and wait-a-minute vines.
Jim’s has grown into the number one place to go for arms and related gear in Fayetteville. In the intervening 37 years, the business has continued to serve the local communities in the Sandhills with two additional locations, Jim’s of Wilmington and Jim’s of Southern Pines.
Jim’s offers their customers everything in the way of arms from weapons, ammunition, and cleaning supplies to a modern indoor shooting range with individual shooting stalls separated by metal walls. If a customer does not own a weapon themself, they can rent one with the proper identification and then enjoy the range that is administered by an authorized, certified range safety officer present at all times when the range is occupied.
You may think that shooting is just reserved for warm weather, but with the indoor shooting range at Jim’s… this is not the case. Instead of going to the movies, you can stay warm and get better at hitting your target for upcoming hunting seasons.
Jim’s offers Fayetteville a unique experience unlike other shops. General Manager Trey Pugh described how Jim’s has evolved over the years from the typical gun shop by branching out into the community to accommodate all demographics of the local populace. Every Wednesday night is woman’s night at the indoor range. The Cape Fear Chapter of the Well Armed Woman holds regular meetings there to discuss various issues important to women relating to guns: everything from the color of pistol grips to Federal and local regulations. They also hold classes, such as concealed carry certification. Pugh maintained that during the winter months there is a huge spike in men and women who use the indoor range.
For a couple, either married or otherwise, Jim’s has partnered with two restaurants, Luigi’s and Mac’s Speed Shop, setting aside Thursday’s as “date night.” A couple can shoot two for one at the indoor range, then enjoy linguini at Luigi’s or the famed Mexicue tacos at Mac’s. “Everyone loves our date night. Couples of all ages come in to shoot and enjoy the restaurants just right down the road,” said Pugh.
Jim’s understands that there are young guns like Guns Plus waiting to fill their boots should they falter. However Trey Pugh doesn’t necessarily see the other stores as adversaries, but as colleagues in serving the community here in Fayetteville. He intimated, “I will often refer certain customers to other gun shops that can best serve the needs of those individuals.” That is what Jim’s keeps in their sights, serving the needs of the local community. And to do that, they must evolve with the trends in the industry. Like Pugh said, “What is popular today may not be popular tomorrow.”
Spring Lake’s Guns Plus is owned by Chris Hatley, who first was the proprietor of a comic book store. One day Hatley was robbed and a 1st amendment rights advocate was nearly read his last rites quickly became a 2nd amendment rights advocate.
Hatley first decided to buy a gun for protection. He went to a local gun shop to apprentice himself in the ways of handling a weapon and received a rather cold shoulder. As a result, he opened Guns Plus 12 years ago out on highway 87.
Tanner Smart, general manager, told of the various services Guns Plus offers its customers. “Gun stores just can’t sell guns anymore. The industry for a number of reasons has become more of a service based industry.” As a result, they have an indoor range capable of handling calibers up to 338 winmag with certified range safety staff. Children 12 and over can shoot with a parent or legal guardian if they’re under 18. Smart maintained that the gun range is very popular. “Rarely is it ever empty, there’s always someone in there shooting especially in the cold winter months.” Guns Plus also features an all-women gun group coined the Gun Powder Girls who take advantage of the fact that all women shoot free there on Wednesday. So, if you find yourself north of Fayetteville, stop by Guns Plus to get some more target practice in.