Store Owners Making Their Mark


Adding a range to 22Three’s facility opened up an entirely new realm of opportunities for Wendy Monroe’s team.
“Training is great, and selling product is great, but shooting is a form of entertainment,” she said.
(Photo: Marissa Bowers,

Women are making inroads in many segments of our industry, but one of the places they have the most visibility is as retailers. Having a woman behind the counter brings in a new clientele and a diverse demographic. In many cases, these women didn’t grow up with firearms, and came to the gun industry as adults — giving them a unique perspective when dealing with new firearms owners, particularly women.

Flashpoint Firearms Comstock, Mich.

Lisa Mayo owns Flashpoint Firearms in Comstock Park, Mich. As a child, she had no exposure to firearms and knew nothing about them. When she met her husband, however, he introduced her to guns — launching a passion for firearms.

“I was just fascinated by the guns: I love building them and shooting them,” she said. “I can outshoot a lot of men, and it makes me feel empowered.”

The more comfortable she became with firearms, the more Mayo thought about starting a business related to them.

“I want to be a role model for other women, and to help them develop confidence,” she noted. “I want to help them learn to protect themselves and participate in a sport that isn’t based on their gender.”

Mayo started by selling various firearms-related products at gun shows. She works at a hospital during the week as an operating-room assistant; her gun-related sales were strictly a weekend side gig.

Then COVID hit. Gun shows were canceled, and elective surgeries were put on the back burner. Mayo had no income. So, she opened a retail gun store.

“I was able to get approval from the ATF agent just in time to sign our lease agreement. We opened April 2020,” she recalled.

Mayo still works at the hospital during the day and goes to her store late in the afternoon. She has dependable staff members who take care of the business while she is in the OR, but she is still as busy as you’d think of someone working two full-time jobs.

“I have a great team,” she shared. “Hopefully, things will continue to grow.”

Mayo’s five-year plan is based on projected growth.

“Five years from now, I want to have my own building,” she said. “What I have now is leased. I want to start doing classes and training, specifically for women.”

22Three Lebanon, Ohio

Wendy Monroe is the operating officer of 22Three. When she and her husband launched the company in 2011, it was just a store with some offsite training. Fast-forward to 2017, and the picture changed dramatically.

“We moved to our new location and built a range with 12 indoor lanes,” Monroe shared. “We now have more training, because we can train on site. We can do a lot of private training and let customers try before they buy.”

Adding the range was something Monroe and her husband wanted to do to round out the business.

“Training is great, and selling product is great,” she said. “But shooting is a form of entertainment. Adding the range broadened our business and made it stronger.”

When they started 22Three, the Monroes worked in different fields entirely and wanted to do something together. Even though they came from different backgrounds, Monroe’s husband was experienced with firearms and a professor of criminal justice with a specialty in firearms law, while she had a background in public relations and writing.

“At first, I wasn’t sure I would be able to contribute anything to the business,” she said. “But when it’s your business, it’s sink or swim. So, I sought a lot of training from other people and within two years I was a certified instructor, and two years after that I was a certified training counselor. I started with NRA and then went to USCCA.”

At first, Monroe was the only instructor. As the company has grown, they’ve hired more instructors, and now she supervises a staff of 11 instructors and 33 employees.
“I still do a little instructing, but my main role is human resources,” she shared. “I work the sales floor some and I train some, but my main role is to empower my employees to do their jobs. Managing this many people is a big job.”

Although the company has grown fairly quickly, the Monroes have been conservative about the steps they have taken to expand the business.

“It took us longer than we wanted to add the range,” she said, “but we wanted to be smart about it. You have to be careful when you’re a small business and not bite off more than you can chew. After six years, we decided it was now or never, so we built the range and moved.”

Gun Shack Helotes, Texas

Noemi Skok is a managing member of Gun Shack in Helotes, Texas. When she and her husband, Lance, met in 2006, he was a systems engineer for Cisco. She was working in a bank, but felt it wasn’t a good fit for her, and she was also a realtor.

“When I met Lance, I had no use for guns,” Skok stated. “I grew up very poor in the projects, so in my mind, anyone who had a gun was a bad person. But Lance taught me different guns do different things, and as time went on, he would take me to the range.”

By the time they started Gun Shack, Skok had changed her mind about firearms, but she still wasn’t as knowledgeable about them as she needed to be.

“We started in the gun show circuit in 2011, at the height of the Obama administration,” she said. “We had a little 10′ x 10′ office with one safe in it, and sales were by appointment only.”

They started the business selling just Savage parts, including barrels and other components, which they continue to carry today. A year later, shortly before the tragic school shooting in Newtown, Conn., the Skoks moved the business into a storefront.

“The business just exploded,” she recalled. “We were completely unprepared for it. We didn’t have established credit lines with any vendors, and it was difficult to get merchandise. At the time, it seemed like people were mostly looking for lowers and those were hard to find, but we would buy a case of 250 or 500 and they would be gone immediately.”

Today, Gun Shack is a GLOCK Blue Label dealer and the team is proud of its 4.9 star Google rating. They carry most major firearms brands and are able to maintain a “middle of the road” pricing structure.

“We have made the store accessible to everyone,” Skok remarked. “Over the years, we’ve noticed we have a lot of different ethnicities coming into the store. We see a lot of Asians and African Americans, and we have a strong Hispanic presence here.”

Skok said they would like to add a range to the store, but when they looked at the feasibility of it — it would cost about $2 million.

“I want to be a role model for other women, and to help them develop confidence. I want to help them learn to protect themselves and participate in a sport that isn’t based on their gender.”

Lisa Mayo, Owner Flashpoint Firearms Comstock Park, Mich.

“It is prohibitively expensive, especially when you factor in OSHA and insurance,” she noted. “So, we haven’t done it, but I sure would love to have a range. One day.”

For now, Gun Shack is taking a more traditional approach and using modern selling platforms.

“We sell firearms, ammo and accessories,” Skok said. “We’re a Holosun authorized dealer and a SIG Master Dealer. And we do a lot of online sales. We sell on eBay and Amazon, which presents its own set of challenges.”

Fifteen years ago, Skok would never have thought she’d be a small-business owner, particularly one related to guns.

“We have so many risks and so many rewards. But I enjoy this, and I enjoy the freedom that comes along it, she shared. “And I would love to have another woman in the business with me, maybe someone who I could hand the reins over to someday.”

A Common Blueprint

Both Mayo and Skok shared similar motivations for starting their businesses and the impact they want to make in their respective communities.

“I want every first-time gun owner to have a place they feel like they belong,” Mayo said. “This means especially women and the LGBTQ community. We have plenty of customers in those communities, and it’s kind of my thing. It doesn’t matter what color your skin is or whether you’re male or female or if you identify as something else. Owning a firearm is your right, and we’re here to help you become a responsible gun owner and be able to take care of yourself.”

Likewise, Skok started her business with the intent to provide great customer service and create a welcoming space.

“Before we opened, we went around to other gun stores and noticed how we were treated,” Skok shared. “I got ignored, or people would speak condescendingly to me. They looked down on me and kind of rolled their eyes like ‘I can’t believe you’re asking this question.’ We created this business with the intent to make every customer feel valued and there are no stupid questions. People are welcome to ask anything, and there’s no pressure to buy anything.”

Three women — all came to firearms as adults. Three relatively new retail stores in three different locations in the country. And all three are showing, once again, women have gained a strong presence in the firearms industry and are essential to our future.

Editor’s Note: Is yours a woman- or minority-owned business and would you like to be featured in Shooting Industry? Send an email to

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