Sabo and co-owner Jeff Swinford, both former U.S. Marine Corps Officers, started off in retail-only gun sales, opening their Lima location in 2019. The pandemic saw a run on guns, but didn’t affect Midwest’s firearm sales that much, Sabo said.
“Really the long-standing benefit of pandemic is that it brought a lot of new shooters to the industry,” Sabo said. “As a trend it’s been happening since the year 2000. It’s an extremely steady growth rate in this industry.”
At least 5.4 million people purchased a firearm for the first time in 2021, according to a retail study by the National Shooting Sports Foundation. Nearly 30% of all firearm purchases last year went to new gun owners, down from 40% in 2020.
The old Lofino’s Marketplace is currently in a “dilapidated” state, Sabo said, and has been vacant for six years, per city records. The renovation and purchase cost of the Beavercreek property was $7.5 million, with the total development project upwards of $10 million, Sabo said. The company is anticipating a five-month construction period, which includes tearing down the old Lofino’s gas station, repaving the parking lot, as well as complete exterior and interior renovation to look “virtually brand new,” Sabo said. The goal is to be open before Black Friday.
“The pre-marketing enthusiasm that we’re getting out of Beavercreek, it’s been pretty unique. I think it’s going to be a great location for us,” Sabo said. “With the last round of expansion, we didn’t have the name recognition in those markets. What sets Beavercreek apart is it’s right down the road.”
The company currently operates four locations in Lima, Fort Wayne, Sylvania and Pittsburgh.
The company’s Lima location already draws a significant customer base from Dayton and surrounding suburbs, he added.
“We feel fortunate for where the business is right now,” Sabo said. “Whenever you start a business, it’s a process. You can’t do everything at once. When we opened Lima there were a lot of unknowns. Today, we are really synergistic.”