Nerf Guns & Candy: A Perfect
Combination To Drive Business


Bo Carpenter gives a thumbs-up at the Generational Guns’ booth during Bondu Spooktacular —
a local Halloween event for families.

When it comes to growing your business, there are only a few ways to achieve the desired goal — attract new customers, increase the average sales per existing customer, or diversify product or service offerings to tap into a new consumer segment.

One way a store or range can attract new customers is through community partnerships with other small businesses or organizations in the nearby area. Doing so will help expand your reach and amplify your message to a new audience who otherwise may have never been exposed to your business.

Defying Stereotypes

For example, Generational Guns has previously participated in the City of Bondurant’s (Iowa) Bondu Spooktacular — a Halloween event for families.

Owners Bo and Heather Carpenter set up a table at the event with a “Ghost Shoot Out” game. They took styrofoam cups, put ghost faces on them and stacked them into pyramids. The kids had to take a Nerf gun and knock down all the ghosts to win a piece of candy.

“We were able to take something that applied to our world and apply it to a kid-friendly event,” said Heather Carpenter. “And, who doesn’t love Nerf guns and candy?!”

Firearms or firearms businesses often have a certain stereotype. Carpenter said they wanted people to see even if our industry isn’t their type of “thing” they’re still there to support the local community and are willing to educate anyone on the topic who is interested in listening.

“Our two children are at our store a lot and we always welcome our customers’ kids as well,” she added. “We believe it’s best to teach kids about firearms rather than leave them curious. We’re a family-oriented business. These events help us show it and keep our store top of mind.”

“Generational Guns” Personified

Community involvement ties in with the reason why the Carpenters chose to name their store Generational Guns in the first place.

“We wanted to be a part of every generation. We wanted to work on, see, buy and sell all generations of guns, as well as help all generations of people,” Carpenter stated. “From the older generation who may be wanting to downsize their collection to the middle-aged who may need work done on the firearms they frequently use, to the younger generation just starting out learning safety or how to use one for the first time.”

To attract a multi-generational audience, Generational Guns tries to connect with others in their community as much as possible.

“We feel through a variety of partnerships we can be a lot stronger and accomplish more,” she said. “We support our local law enforcement and many of them come in the shop regularly — whether they are here to just say hi, have some gunsmithing done or are looking for information on a case.”

Be A Good Neighbor

Generational Guns also supports area nonprofits throughout the year from hosting raffles to fundraising for trap teams to raising money for members of their community who have fallen on hard times to donating items or gift baskets for charity auctions to benefit community groups.

“Word of mouth is the best form of advertisement, and all of these things allow us to get our name out there while helping someone in need at the same time,” Carpenter informed.

While it can be difficult to track the return on investment for these types of outreach initiatives, in many cases they can be more effective than traditional advertising methods.

“By being active in our community it shows we care, gets our name out there and keeps reminding people we’re here,” she said. “Bondurant is a fast-growing town now. Our involvement in the community also allows us to put a face and voice to our company.”

The takeaway is simple. As a small business, it’s important for you to be an active member of your community. Not only is it the neighborly thing to do, but it can also help break down the stigma associated with firearms and expand your reach to a new audience.