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Pros and Cons on Shooters Station

Discussion in 'Texas Gun Ranges' started by JMATT199, Feb 4, 2012.

  1. JMATT199

    JMATT199 Member

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    I have been going to Shooters Station in Conroe for the past three years. In the beginning it was great. But now I really dont like this place.

    Lets start with the Pros:
    The owner, Danny. He is a great guy. Very friendly and caring. I admire him for his animal rescue efforts.

    The facility, great! I like the ways it is laid out. The new rifle range will be awesome. They have a good inventory of quality firearms.

    Thats the end of the pros......

    The Cons:

    The staff at Shooters Station is the worst I have ever seen. And I have been to most gun stores in the area. They lack customer service. I have never been in a retail business with such terriable customer service. They are just flat out RUDE to customers. They have very little knowledge of what they sell. They put forth no effort to greet you when you walk in the door. Lately every time I go in there one person will be leaning on the counter and the other is surfing the internet. Nobody will even say hello, or can I help you. My other BIG concern is the safety. The last few times I was there people in the range were very careless with their weapons. Loading and charging their weapons at the bench. Then turning around pointing their weapon at people to get to the stalls. Nobody monitors your safety on the range. This is the main reason I do not use the range anymore. A couple of days ago I went by to pick up some supplies. I always look to see what new guns they have. After standing at the counter for 5 minutes I finally had to ask someone to show me a pistol. I was the only one at the counter. When he did finally helped me, I asked to see a used Sig I liked. He reached and just handed me the gun. That was the first time I have ever had anyone hand me a gun without clearing to check and see if it was safe. It was used, it counld have been loaded. What the hell was he thinking.

    Like I said before in my pros, good inventory, But the prices on guns and supplies are the highest in the area.(thats why I buy all my guns from Tomball Pawn, best prices you will find with great customer service)

    I really hope Danny sees this and makes some changes. They are my closest range and I really like the facility, But the staff and prices SUCK!!!!! Not to mention the safety issues. You are taking your life into your own hands when shooting @ Shooters Station.

    JMHO
     


  2. Glockster69

    Glockster69 TGT Addict BANNED!!!

    Jul 1, 2011
    You talking about the bench behind the shooting stations? I've never seen that happen but I've only shot there a handful of times.

    Who is Danny? The older small framed guy? He is definitely the most customer oriented of the bunch. The 35ish sandy blonde haired guy ... yea, I've got no time for that d'wad.

    My first visit there last summer was VERY good but it HAS gone down hill since. I've complained about them elsewhere on the forum and agree with the majority of your post. They really screwed me over twice when I tried to get < $40 worth of parts. I only call/visit them if I can't find it elsewhere. I live E. of Huntsville and drive the extra ~40 miles past Shooter's to get to Spring Guns n Ammo to shoot.

    I too hope the management sees this and accepts it for the constructive criticism it's intended to be.
     
  3. benenglish

    benenglish Lifetime Supporter Staff Member Lifetime Member Admin

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    Spring
    Let me start by trying to say the most innocuous thing I can, something to get across my clear intent to not just complain but demonstrate that I understand some of the issues involved and empathize with small businesses like Shooters Station. To wit: Running any retail establishment is really, really hard. Libraries full of books have been written on the subject.

    Generally, I like Shooters Station and the people there. They seem nice and there are lots of pretty guns to look at. I'm not a regular customer but I've been there several times.

    In my experience, the customer service is average for gun stores. That means that it's roughly the same as Gander or Carter's or Collector's, i.e. I can go in, stand at one spot at the counter, stare at a pistol in the case, and there's a 50/50 chance that anyone will pay me a lick of attention within 5 minutes. This may be a combination of apathy, understaffing, incompetence, or poor training...but it is pretty much the norm in the industry. I can't really single out Shooters Station for this because it's fairly normal and all my visits have been at semi-busy (at least) times.

    You mentioned Tomball Pawn. Yep, they sure do wait on you quickly there. You get greeted when you come in, usually. The ability to have a gun shown to you is pretty much immediate. They ensure this by having sales staff standing shoulder-to-shoulder behind the very small number of linear feet of counter space they've devoted to guns. That way, they can handle the 3-deep crowd of customers they often have.

    But to someone who knows anything about floorspace allocation in retail, Tomball Pawn is just flat-out insane. Given the volume they do, they should have long ago wiped half their floor space of used tools and used DVDs that nobody ever seems to browse. They should be devoting far more space to firearms. But that's a "by the book" viewpoint. In reality, maybe concentrating the guns in one little corner of the store makes the whole situation easier to manage for them.

    Back to Shooters Station - Given their floor layout, it's impossible for staff to adequately serve any customers who aren't standing at the front counter. "Sales by walking around" just ain't possible when the floor is that crowded and when there's an entire display counter/case area across the store from the main area, that second area is never going to be staffed. (At least, it's never staffed when I've been in the place.)

    Under the best of circumstances, customer service is incredibly difficult. Ever walk into a restaurant where they walk you to your seat and find that there's no one standing at the front kiosk to greet you and seat you? In that biz, THAT is an unforgivable sin. Yet, it happens. Denny's is notorious for it. This just illustrates my point - owners and floor managers have to decide where to put their finite resources. At most gun stores, a timely greeting of "Can I help you?" is a rarity. The gun store that immediately greets you when you walk through the door with "Hi. Can I help you find something in particular? No? That's cool. When you want to look at something, just yell at any of us wearing these shirts with the store logo." is so rare as to be almost non-existent, even though I consider that level of customer service to be the rock-bottom minimum level of acceptability.

    My point is - Every proprietor must adapt to their space and spend as much time and effort on traditional touchy-feely customer service as seems most prudent to them. At Shooters Station, those two factors are fighting against each other, badly. If there's more than a few people in the store, it may not be possible for the staff to have a line-of-sight to even see that you've entered the store, so a greeting becomes impossible. I don't want to write a boring book on the subject, but the floor is so ridiculously crowded and poorly arranged (pretty much the entire front third of the store appears to be a dead zone, in a proper retail store layout sense) that it strongly interferes with the performance of basic customer service.

    Every store owner and manager has to work this out for themselves. You're helping by bringing the situation out for discussion. I just hope someone from Shooters Station will drop by and add their thoughts or at least consider what you have to say

    One final comment on safety, added here at the end since I think it's such a completely separate issue from customer service: I never buy range time at Shooters Station because they aren't my closest. However, if people are loading in one area and moving their firearms to the shooting stalls, then the muzzles of loaded firearms will almost inevitably wind up sweeping other customers. Obviously, that's bad. Spring G&A had the same problem and they responded by removing the separate loading area, putting some shelving (carts, actually) at each shooting stall, and requiring that each shooter handle and load weapons *only* while at the firing point. Gander Mountain works the same way. This seems to address the problem adequately. Does it appear to you that Shooters Station has room to do the same? If so, I encourage you to offer that suggestion to the owner the next time you see him.
     
  4. JMATT199

    JMATT199 Member

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    Jun 23, 2009
    Magnolia,tx
    Good input Benenglish, I have managed a retail business for 35 years. I pride myself and my employees on good customer service. None of the people at Shooters Station except Alan would work for me for very long. My business is successful because of the customer service we provide. The best advertising I have found is word of mouth. Retail these days is hard. But great customer service will always bring them back no matter what the price is.

    At the time I was at the counter, I was the only customer in the store. Four employees and not one could say hello, or can I help you. Come on man. That is just flat out piss poor management and lack of training.

    But the main bitch I have is the SAFETY @ Shooters Station. There is none. Again, poor management and training from people who do not care. I don't know about you, but I don't feel like getting shot over it.
     
  5. Glockster69

    Glockster69 TGT Addict BANNED!!!

    Jul 1, 2011
    I know nothing of retailing 101 and don't care if a store is poorly laid out or cramped, as long as I get help if needed. My complaints are with the staff and how they do (or don't) interact with me. Their prices are nothing to brag about as well.
     
  6. Texasjack

    Texasjack TGT Addict TGT Supporter

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    Every place has it's pros and cons. Spring G&A doesn't have a bench behind the shooting line and I know of people that hate that and won't shoot there because of it. Shooters Station seems to have a fairly good variety of guns, unlike some of their competitors, but I have to say that their prices are usually a lot higher than other places. Overall, it's not a bad place; I've shot there and I've bought a pistol there. I don't shoot there as often as other places and I don't buy as much there as other places. They could improve.

    I was surprised that somebody rated Carters as "average". There are some LONG threads ranting about their customer service. Their prices are generally good, but I try very, very hard to buy from anyone else in preference to Carters. I've just had too many times when I've left angry because of rude service, severe safety issues, 'bait-and-switch' advertising, etc.
     
  7. JMATT199

    JMATT199 Member

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    Don't get me wrong people. I like the facility at Shooters Station and the way it is laid out. And the inventory of guns and supplies is good. It is the PEOPLE that work there. NO customer service, lack of knowledge, very bad management, lack of employee training. So here it is in a nut shell.

    Danny, you need a new manager badley,you need to train your people on customer service, provide product knowledge training, but most of all work on SAFETY TRAINING before someone gets killed!!!!
     
  8. benenglish

    benenglish Lifetime Supporter Staff Member Lifetime Member Admin

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    Spring
    They had one and took it out for the reasons cited by the OP. People were loading their guns on the back bench then pointing them in all sorts of unsafe directions on the way to the shooting stall.

    Basic complaint about nearly all ranges: the stalls are too narrow. No one would complain about the lack of a back bench if the stalls were wide enough. Only Gander Mountain (in my area) has shooting lanes that are wide enough.

    I did. I probably shouldn't have but I was feeling charitable.

    My favorite Carter's story: I'm talking to a sales guy. He takes a phone call, gives his name, tells the caller "Yeah, sure, we've got that in stock" without going anywhere or looking up anything. 20 minutes later I'm still talking to the same guy. He hasn't moved from that spot. A guy walks up and interrupts us. "Hi, my name is Mike. We just talked on the phone about that shotgun. I'm here to buy it."

    Carter's clerk is like a deer caught in the headlights. He mumbles something about getting it from the back, leaves, returns empty-handed, then flat-out lies to the customer, saying that someone must have bought the last one they had in stock sometime in the last 10 or 15 minutes.

    I avoid Carter's, too.
     
  9. Greg_TX

    Greg_TX Well-Known

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    When you see rifles falling onto the floor because people don't secure them properly, that's one thing that will keep me away. I'm not saying the answer is to put the benches back, but the layout could be improved. Had a thread about that recently... http://www.texasguntalk.com/forums/general-firearms-ammo-sponsored-eastex-guns/30821-suggestion-spring-guns-ammo-management.html

    As far as customer service goes, some gun stores are better than others, but I've found that most are right there with auto parts places when it comes to paying attention to someone.
     
  10. Younggun

    Younggun Ginger Avenger TGT Supporter Admin

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    Never been to the area, but I have come to a point where I don't mind paying alittle more for cusomer service and knowledge. I usually research the hell out of a gun before I buy it but I had an experience at academy where I asked for a PX4 .40 cal and was handed one in .45 then had to explain to the guy how I knew it was not a .40 because he was convinced otherwise. Figured it out when I pointed out the .45 ACP mark and explained PX4 was a model that covered all calibers and did not stand for .40. I also got tired of standing at the counter and being ignored, at times even when saying "ecuse me sir" as they passed by. Now I tend to go to pracco's in waco, usually about $20 more but the service is good and they haven't handed me anything other than what I have asked for. They can also offer similar guns that I may actually be interested in instead of something completly different. I plan on checking out guns r us soon and see how they are.
     


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