Nov. 20—Bill Roney is thinking about the spirit of ’76.
After all, the Second Amendment plays a central role in his life as the owner of Outdoorsman of Santa Fe, a gun shop in the DeVargas Center Mall, which he has operated since 1990. Before that, Ronnie was the owner of Buffalo Hunter, another Santa Fe gun shop, for about 15 years. Now he is retiring.
“This was not the time before,” he said. “I would like to portray it as the spirit of ’76. I just turned 76. Now I have some grandchildren I want to spend time with. My brother is in poor health and I want to spend time with him. “I have a wife. She’s been very supportive of me. I want to spend time with her.”
As of September 11, Outdoorsman is listed for sale with Sam Goldenberg & Associates at a listing price of $475,000. This includes businesses, a $200,000 gun inventory and a 50,000-customer database.
“If someone comes today, that’s fine,” said Ronnie. “If someone comes in six months from now, that’s fine. Even though I’m still young enough, energetic enough and healthy enough, I want to find a successor. I want to continue the business. I don’t want to do business “Sales arising out of.”
Outdoorsman has been everything to all gun people: hunters, home security seekers, target shooters, competitive shooters, collectors of historical guns, tactical gun enthusiasts and those interested in black-powder guns.
“In addition to a range of firearms, we buy, we sell, we ship, we appraise,” Roney said. “We are an old-fashioned traditional firearms store that caters to the needs of families.”
In the early days, Ronnie remembers parents would come with their children, and the family would go out hunting.
“Hunting was more important than it is now,” Ronnie said. “Parents, moms and dads, came with the kids. It was almost a rite of passage. It was part of the culture.
“As time went on and New Mexico established hunting by draw, it was no longer just about going out to hunt. Hunting is considered bad by some people.”
These days, more people buy guns for self or home defense, although the traditional hunting base remains strong.
He said, “As Santa Fe has grown and crime has increased rapidly and the average age has increased, there is now a greater emphasis on personal safety.”
Over the past 50 years, Ronny has watched the gun industry evolve, yet he has always stood firm, bolstered by the Second Amendment that guarantees the right to bear arms.
“I think it’s changed dramatically. As federal restrictions have become,” he said, pausing, “stricter and more restrictive. Now there’s a lot of focus on trying to guarantee that That firearms are in the hands of responsible individuals. Dealers are required to do background checks, and keeping records of background checks has become almost difficult. Keeping records of sales requires a large amount of space. I have 30 years There are records of.”
Even in his father’s Bridgeport, Conn. Despite working for Remington Arms in 1965, Ronnie had no idea that he would own a gun shop after graduating from college.
Ronnie said he was one of the first five people in the Prudential Financial Management Training Program. Within a few years, prospects for a corporate life waned for him.
“I asked my dad to introduce me to people in the sporting goods industry,” said Ronnie, noting his desire to go to Remington with his father. “He suggested I interview with Remington.”
Remington assigned him to Amarillo, Texas. He put on a show in Lubbock and two guys from Santa Fe came to talk to him about a gun store for sale on Sandoval Street. Ronnie, a friend from Amarillo, and two Santa Feans purchased Buffalo Hunter in 1973.
“Eventually, the other people left,” Ronnie said.
He moved Buffalo Hunter to Cerrillos Road in 1985 so he could open an indoor firing range along with the gun shop. A few years later, two men proposed the idea of building a larger gun store and larger firing range and said they owned property at Buffalo Hunter and 509 Airport Road. By then, Ronnie had leased the place.
Ronnie described his end at Buffalo Hunter in 1989 after only 11/2 years at Airport Road as a “hostile takeover” by his partners. He dropped out of the retail firearms business and worked for a year for the optical firm Zeiss.
Some friends approached him about opening another gun store, leading to Outdoorsman of Santa Fe, which was originally in the former location of Zales Jewelry Store in the Coronado Center on Cordova Road in 1990.
In 1994 Coronado Center ownership suggested they move into the former Coronado Twin movie theater space that had been vacant since 1990. This helped Ronnie open his third shooting range.
Eventually, he became the sole owner again. By 1999, shooting ranges no longer made sense.
“It wasn’t cost-effective,” Ronny said. “You need about a 100-by-30-foot, 3,000-square-foot space, at about $20 a square foot. People were like, ‘When I can go out of town to shoot for free, I can pay $5. Why should one pay?’ ,
The DeVargas Center contacted him. He accepted the offer and has since expanded his space twice in the 23 years since. But shooting ranges remain a part of their 20th-century past. He saw no logic in opening the range in a different location.
“There’s no point operating a range without a store,” Ronny said. “It’s nice to focus on one activity. If I was 40 or 50, I would definitely consider moving the store to part of my property and have a shooting range.”
Instead, he is looking for the ideal buyer for the Santa Fe’s Audisman.