One of the best parts of my job is visiting gun shops and talking to dealers.
I’ve convinced my editors that gun shop visits are necessary to keep abreast of the vibrant and constantly evolving firearms industry, but I think they’ve caught on that I really just
like looking at guns.
There’s a small gem of a gun shop located on the south Tamiami Trail in Sarasota that really stands out: Young Guns & Safety.
There are bigger shops, but few owners are nicer or more welcoming than Mike Young, owner and sole proprietor.
His attitude hits you the minute you walk in. It’s a very friendly shop.
“I wake up every day and get to play with guns,” he said Tuesday. “I’m living my dream.”
Mike’s a big guy with a big beard, and an even bigger fan base of loyal customers.
He opened in March of 2011 with a $10,000 loan. He just surpassed $560,000 in sales – an enviable business record, especially for a one-man shop.
His philosophy is simple: Low inventory = low overhead = low prices.
His shop is well stocked with the most sought-after pocket pistols, and he has a few ARs, an Arsenal AKM that would have left with me if it wasn’t chambered in .223, some shotguns, Gerber knives and a good selection of accessories.
You can find shops with deeper shelves, but Mike says he specializes on one thing that’s getting hard to find: service.
“Service is the most important thing,” he said. “It makes customers want to come back. It’s kinda like the way service station attendants used to check your oil and wash your windshield for free. That’s what I’m all about.”
His customers agree.
“He’s got service with integrity almost to a fault,” said customer Paul Torin, who was hanging out in the shop Tuesday. “Mike’s as honorable a human being as I know.”
Young Guns & Safety is connected with several other gun shops throughout the region, an unofficial web of dealers who put customers first. It’s one of our biggest assets. If one dealer doesn’t stock a product, they’ll make a few calls and send you to a nearby dealer who does.
“We help each other out,” he said.
Mike uses social media, his Facebook site, to keep his customers apprised of new products.
“I sold 10,000 rounds of .22 long rifle in 43 minutes after posting it on Facebook,” he said.
He’s also an NRA certified firearms instructor who’s been teaching for six years.
“What I specialize in is small class sizes – I cap it at eight,” he said. “I like teaching students more than selling guns.”