Reach Women Through Creative Ideas & Customer Service


The team at Republic Gun Club is trained on “The Golden Rule” — treating customers
how they want to be treated.

Reaching female customers is not a one-size-fits-all plan. Two retail stores with ranges talk about the different approaches that are working for them.

“The Golden Rule”

What happens when your business philosophy is simply, “The Golden Rule?”

Terry Flick, president and co-founder of Republic Gun Club in Waco, Texas, explains his background in corporate retail with JCPenney and Zales is the foundation for operating the range, retail store and event/meeting space. JCPenney had the motto of “The Golden Rule” — treat others as you want to be treated — and Flick says it has stuck with him, as his job is to appeal to everyone. Opened in October 2021, the business is already proving Flick’s instincts to be spot on.

“One thing the gun industry can lack is customer service. In my mind, it’s the easiest thing to do, it’s like the foundation. And then understanding where the growth is — and right now it’s with female shooters,” Flick explained. “It’s an underserved demographic, it’s growing and it’s a space you can easily slide into.”

Training for retail and range staff has been heavy on customer service. 

“The people we hire and train are very personable, patient and they can recognize someone on the firing line who might be struggling and be able to engage that person in a way that isn’t condescending,” Flick added.

Events For Women

Flick revealed he deliberately brought some great women on staff.

“I wanted someone who could think about what kinds of events we could do to attract women,” he said.

Recently, the facility hosted a “Sip, Shoot and Mix” event with women getting in some range time before heading to the Member’s Lounge for wine tasting, followed up by mixing their own nail polish. 

“It was really fun,” recalled Ashton Combs, Republic Gun Club’s assistant director of events and memberships. “It’s a cool community; you have all these women coming in, some had never even shot before. Some were wives of husbands who came in to shoot and they came in to just meet other women.” 

Flick agreed: “For me, it’s something I wouldn’t have dreamt up. As a range owner, I want to be open-minded about what we can do. It doesn’t take away from who we are or our core demographic. A guy who comes in to shop to purchase a firearm or shoot isn’t going to care if there’s a wine and nail thing going on.” 

Other events to bring in women include a weekly Ladies’ Night and Date Night. The range also hosts the Waco chapter of A Girl & A Gun Women’s Shooting League. 

Classes are also offered as well as private lessons, which are most often taken by women. 

“I think it’s about debunking that whole intimidation factor. It can be terrifying as a woman to get into this world and we’re trying to bridge that gap and make them comfortable here,” Combs said.

What About Women Who Aren’t There to Shoot?

Event spaces can be rented without a club membership. Interestingly, one of the most popular events is baby showers. 

“Recently we had a large shower. The women came in and they decorated the entire room and it was beautiful. You would never even assume you were at a gun range,” Combs shared.

Flick believes the club has created an inclusive environment. Men can come in with their wives and the women might shoot for a while, but when they’re done they can go hang out in the Member’s Lounge. It gives them the space where they can relax and drink coffee or water while they’re waiting for their husbands to finish shooting. 

A Positive Reception

Republic Gun Club has been open for just over a year and they already have more than 1,100 members, of which one-third are women.

Looking at the online ratings, you can see customer service is reflected in an overwhelming majority of the comments, more than half of which are posted by women. Comments include: 

“It’s a range that has a very boutique/lodge feel to it. It’s the nicest range I’ve ever been in. The owner is friendly and all of the staff are as well.”

“I didn’t feel any type of judgment whatsoever!”

To give you an idea of the commitment to quality and the friendly nature of the staff, all you need to do is take a look at the rest of the reviews. Not just the reviews themselves, but that every one of them has some response from the owner. 

“When they remember the names of our staff who made an impact on them, and they go online to mention them, you know the treatment they received must have really impacted them,” reasoned Combs.

“We’re bringing people in who probably never would have stepped foot in here, and now they’re saying, ‘Oh, this is nice and it’s not what I expected,’” Flick noted. “And why wouldn’t you go above and beyond to make people feel comfortable?”

“Oh, my gosh, we had hundreds of women and kids come through and they absolutely loved it!”

Shoni Pannkuk, Co-Owner
The Man Cave Outfitters • Centralia, Washington

It’s All In A Name — Or Is It?

With a name like “The Man Cave” one might question whether the only local retailer in Centralia, Wash., with a range welcomes women and can turn them into customers. Shoni Pannkuk, who owns the business along with her husband, Hobe, has some thoughts.

“Actually, we never even thought about whether the name was an issue of any sort for attracting women, nor deterring,” laughed Shoni. “The growth in women customers just sort of happened organically through word of mouth and great reviews. But it’s funny you ask because we’ve started attending vendor shows and we get so many comments saying something like, ‘The Man Cave? But your booth is staffed with women!’”

“The Man Cave Outfitters” started in the Pannkuk’s home in 2014. Hobe and his buddy came up with the name and just thought it was fun. In 2015 it was time to expand to a storefront and they just continued with the name.

Women-Friendly Features & Offerings

While not specifically setting out to target women, one attractive family-friendly feature of the retail space is a fun kids’ corner. 

“It can be hard to keep kids occupied while their parents are busy with paperwork, so we wanted to provide something for them to do,” Shoni shared.

Basic Pistol Safety classes began about two years ago, scheduled about every month or two. Now, as the word has spread, they’re averaging three to five classes per month. Both women-only and co-ed classes are offered as a choice, but often, they are mostly comprised of women.

Shoni happily shared, “The classes have been extremely successful. The feedback we get on evaluations after every class is, without fail, the amount of comfort or confidence they are feeling after participating is astounding.” 

The Man Cave also offers the usual Ladies’ Night and fun monthly competitions with different themes.

Outreach & Engagement Key To Success

Outreach and engagement activities are where the Pannkuks are reaching the most women, however. As mentioned, Shoni and her staff have started attending various vendor shows and because vendor shows are mostly geared toward women, they’re making a lot of new connections.

The Man Cave is also very involved in local community events, participating in fundraisers and activities such as providing the kids’ “Duck Shooting” booth at the county fair last summer.

“Oh, my gosh, we had hundreds of women and kids come through and they absolutely loved it!” exclaimed Shoni. “It’s insane the number of people we meet at the fair. It’s great outreach.”

Hobe and Shoni are equally involved in the business and equally serving all customers. 

“We’re both active and share responsibility. If a woman comes in and wants to talk to a woman, she can talk to a woman. We are equally available to whoever comes in. We just want everyone to know they are welcome here. Bring your spouse, bring your kids. We’re here for everyone.”

The results speak for themselves: It’s a message clearly resonating with community members.

Click To Read More Shooting Industry January 2023 Issue Now!