Home Safety Sells


Image: Vaultek

Creating a safe home environment for us and our families is one of our basic, fundamental  instincts.

How we define the concept of home safety, however, is an individual matter. It may mean having firearms securely stored, or prepping for whatever may come in a world that much of the populace sees as increasingly frightening and dangerous. Whichever way your customers define home safety, stocking the products they’re asking for can help them feel secure and increase your bottom line.

Sales Up

At Mark’s Outdoor Sports in Vestavia Hills, Ala., Safes Manager John Fuller is seeing an increase in purchases of all products related to safety in the home.

“Customers are buying more of everything,” he confirmed. “There was a lot of panic buying during COVID and it has slowed down, but there’s still a lot of buying.”

Sales of bear and other self-protection sprays are high, Fuller added.

“A lot of people who aren’t comfortable with firearms like them,” he noted. “With some of the long-distance sprays you can get 30′. Mace has one with UV dye in it that colorizes an attacker so he can be found.”

Safe sales are also on the upswing.

“I sell a lot of fast-opening safes,” Fuller observed. “People want to keep guns secure but be able to get to them quickly. I sell one from Hornady that’s RFID-activated. A lot of people are buying gun safes for home items and many people purchase more than one safe.”

He sells four brands of safes: Liberty, Browning, American Security and Hornady.

Fuller predicts the need for home and personal protection products is going to continue to increase.

“The demand is going to be different in different areas,” he said. “The police can’t be standing at your door to save you; you need to be able to protect yourself. If we have something like an EMP, nobody is going to be moving. Most people only have three days’ worth of food in their homes, and if something happens, in two weeks they’re going to be doing things they wouldn’t normally do. If you don’t have the ability to protect yourself from those people, things could get pretty tough.” 

Shifting Preferences

Mike Perez is one of the owners of We Kick Brass in West Palm Beach, Fla. He’s noticed how customers’ ideas about home safety have evolved since the pandemic.

“Our standard customer has always thought about getting a gun for home safety,” he said. “When they say so, they generally want to be trained and they want to purchase ammunition so they can protect their family if someone breaks in.”

In the past couple of years, the focus of Perez’s generic customer has shifted.

“The definition of protecting the home has changed,” he noted. “The average person still wants to be able to protect themselves from a home invader, but they’re also thinking about what’s going on in the country. People are worried about the economy, they’re worried about a collapse, they’re thinking ‘Can I provide food, water and supplies for my family?’”

In short, prepping — which in the past has been more or less regarded as the mindset of a fringe element — is becoming more mainstream.

“Years ago, someone who was a Prepper and was storing up supplies was thought of as a little crazy,” Perez recalled. “But we all experienced COVID. There were food shortages. We’d go to the market and there would be no meat, no this or that.”

Now companies are producing high-quality foods for emergency preparedness.

“I happen to use ReadyWise, which is good for 25 years,” Perez shared. “You can buy a month’s worth of food for two people for $250. You can’t even get groceries for that anymore.”

This “stocking up” mentality has become the norm for his customers, Perez added.

“When I get emergency food in, especially by the pallet, it’s crazy how fast it sells,” he said. “It’s to the point I now have pre-orders, with some families actually ordering a pallet’s worth at a time.”

Besides food and firearms, customers are purchasing and preparing bags for emergency situations.

“People are trying to understand the dynamics of bags and the role each bag plays,” Perez said. “There’s a day bag, a three-day bag, a go bag and a bug-out bag. Everyone has a different definition of what they should have prepared in that bag.”

To meet demand, Perez stocks a number of bags from Eberlestock.

“You have to look at it this way,” he began, “we’re from Florida, and when we have a hurricane, there’s a supply chain issue and there’s no fuel. We’ve seen it a couple of times since COVID. If I had to grab and go, and I had no more fuel to drive my vehicle, I could take the appropriate bag and get home with it. It has basic survival supplies such as a tarp and cord to create a makeshift tent if I need it, and other items. The situations people are preparing for are endless, but they are storing stuff just in case. You never know when you’re going to get stranded somewhere and need something.” 

Customers also are purchasing ammunition cans for waterproof storage, he added.

Some of the items customers are stocking up on, according to Perez, include ammunition, flints, 550 paracord, knives and packs of different sizes.

“People are thinking about different scenarios, now more than ever,” he said. “I’ve never had these conversations so openly with anyone. It used to be something we really didn’t talk about. Now everyone seems to be getting on board and is talking about it and comparing ideas.”

Another category Perez has seen increase is PPE (Personal Protective Equipment). As a result, he has recently become a Mira Safety dealer.

“We have an order of about 20 gas masks coming in and they’re already sold out,” he said. “COVID changed our awareness about safety equipment in many ways.”

Helping Customers Take Charge

When Perez’s wife, Dawn, started We Kick Brass at the beginning of COVID, her goal was to make firearms and ammunition more accessible in their core area. As they are seeing the demand for personal safety products increase, they have shifted their focus to include this category as well. This has led, in turn, to changes in their business plan.

“There’s a space two doors down from us that just opened up,” Perez shared. “We’re thinking about expanding into it with ‘We Kick Brass Outdoors.’ We’re also opening a second store in Port St. Lucie (north of West Palm Beach) and others in Tennessee and North Carolina.”

The move toward personal safety and survival products is more than just a trend, Perez predicts.

“We see this as a population of people who understand the world we live in is very volatile,” he said. “Things can change in a heartbeat. People don’t want to get caught with their theoretical pants down, and they want to take charge. At the end of the day, it’s the responsibility of each of us — if we want to take care of our homes — to be sure we have all the bases covered.”

When it comes to training, Perez said, he’s also seen an increase in the number of customers who ask for classes.

“We’ve seen an explosion not only in requests for firearms safety classes, but also first aid,” he informed. “We’ve sent a lot of people over to CERT, which is Community Emergency Response Team, run by FEMA.”

Another aspect of home safety is the safe storage of firearms. Although We Kick Brass does not generally keep full-sized safes in stock, they do sell them occasionally through estate sales. Small safes, however, are popular with their customers.

“About 90% of our first-time customers are women who are purchasing their first firearm,” Perez said. “With the firearms they’re purchasing, they’re also getting lock boxes. We sell Vaultek models, which tend to be really handy and come with a lot of good features.”

Final Takeaway

One interesting twist in home safety, Perez noted, is customers who ask him if he can recommend someone to build a vault or entire safe room.

“I’ve never had anyone bring it up before,” he concluded, “but now I’m getting this question pretty regularly.” 

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