The population of Anita, Iowa is about 1,100 people. Brad Wendt’s “little old” gun shop is attached to the back of his brother’s lumberyard and hardware business, but even after the third add-on, the place is busting at the seams with the 5,000-gun inventory and six employees Brad keeps busy processing, packaging, and shipping the guns he sells on GunBroker.com. He says, “We’re up to about a $10 million a year business, and 80-85 percent of that is on GunBroker.com.”
Things are growing so fast, Brad’s added a new, bigger location in Denison, Iowa that opened just before Christmas, 2014. The self-description in the “about us” section on their website at bwoutfitters.net as “up and coming” doesn’t even scratch the surface.
Brad recounts a short, remarkable success story: “I used to actually buy guns off GunBroker.com. When I was in Baghdad I had plenty of time on the Internet, and I’d buy guns. So when I came home, I had a lot of guns. I decided to sell some. They sold, so I started buying more. Then I started trading and sold some more. I acquired a bunch more guns, then Obama got elected and what I had doubled in value pretty much overnight so I sold them, and I got my FFL in mid-2009 and things just took off from there.”
BW Outfitters keeps between 600 to 700 listings active on GunBroker.com with a high percentage of those being new guns he acquires from the four distributors he works with. Because of his large volume of sales, he’s quickly become a preferred dealer and that allows him to find the extra-hardto-get guns his 30,000-plus customers want. Brad says, “We specialize in hard to get guns. Because we do such a volume of sales, the salesmen at the four wholesalers will get me whatever we need because I buy everything!” Last year BW Outfitters sold 12,000 firearms.
“The biggest advantage GunBroker.com has,” says Brad, “is their size and volume. It’s a matter of people being able to find what they are looking for. You type what you’re looking for in the search bar, and it’s there. If it’s not, you’re not going to find it. Everybody knows GunBroker.com; everybody goes there.”
Brad adds, “I use it for used guns; I use it for new guns. A guy brings in a gun he wants to sell I can tell him in a minute what it has been selling for in the last 90 days. Besides being a massive auction site, GunBroker.com is a great business tool, too. You can’t get any better live feed of what guns are selling for.”
Not only has Brad built a solid, repeat customer base on GunBroker.com, he’s made friends with buyers from all over the country. He even goes elk hunting every year with some of his customers from Louisiana and stays in regular contact with many more. He deserves, at least one vacation a year since in addition to running his firearms and accessory business, Brad’s a full-time law enforcement officer with 16 years on the job.