“It keeps us alive,” Harvey acknowledged. “I wouldn’t want to have just a gun store.”

Larsen takes a more aggressive approach with the shop his father started more than four decades ago. The key, as simple as it sounds, is figuring out how to get customers into the store.

Several times a year, he puts on some sort of manufacturer promotion. He’s currently working on one with FN. And in 2017, he dedicated the month of October to Smith & Wesson — to considerable effect.

“Half our sales that month were Smith & Wesson. It worked out really well,” he recalled.

He’s also had success with buying spots on local radio stations: “I look at ads to brand the store and keep people familiar with us. My ads are more branding than specific products.”

In the end, the most important thing to understand is when — and when not — to run those spots. Timing is critical.

During warmer months, potential customers already have plenty to do outdoors. Advertising then doesn’t do anything for the shop. But winter is another story.

“People come in because it’s cold outside,” he said.