When Training Meets Sales As A Profit Center


Students learn defensive shooting from awkward positions at Boondocks.

A great many firearms retailers have discovered training goes hand in hand with sales of guns and accessories, each advancing the other. Most commonly, it occurs when a gun dealer branches out into the training sphere.

Here, we present a case of the reverse: A dedicated training center discovered its Pro Shop constituted an excellent income stream to supplement the main business’s training mission.

Boondocks: The First Generation

Physician Mark Condon was an outdoorsman and shooter, and when he went to Gunsite in Arizona, he was enormously impressed with the operation. He and his lovely wife, Kim, decided to build something similar on their home turf in Raymond, Miss., near the city of Jackson. Boondocks Firearm Training Academy opened for business in 2015. 

In addition to their own training staff, they brought in top trainers from outside such as Tom Givens, Brian Hill and Dave Spaulding. For emergency medical training they brought in a local ER physician, Dr. Andy Anderson.

I wrote the following on my blog after first seeing Boondocks Firearms Academy in 2020: I recently had the pleasure of teaching a 40-hour class at Boondocks Firearms Training Academy. 

The picturesque range has all the modern training conveniences including shoothouses, beaucoup shooting bays, an excellent classroom and, yes, indoor plumbing in all the convenient places. Owned by Mark and Kim Condon, the organization hosts groups like The Well Armed Woman, and offers free firearms safety training for the local community.

Now, brother Mark has a way with words. When he cautions students to be aware of their surroundings and keep their noses out of their smartphones, he uses the succinct warning, “Get your head out of your app.” I think I may steal that …

Mark also opened a Pro Shop on the premises, bringing us back to our topic here. The time came when Mark and Kim decided to retire. Boondocks would now enter its second and current iteration of management.

The Boondocks facility understands the importance of comfort.

Boondocks: The Next Generation

In April 2022, Boondocks Firearms Training Academy was purchased by Larry Rowlett. It would be hard to imagine a better resume than his for the ramrod of a firearms training entity. 

Rowlett began his career as a cop in Dallas, and in a few years joined the Secret Service, where his career rise was nothing less than meteoric. He feels his high point was heading up the presidential detail guarding Ronald Reagan and the First Family. 

Along the way, he was involved in all elements of Secret Service training, including holding the title of ASAC (Assistant Special Agent In Charge) of training. After the attack on the Twin Towers, he was recruited into training Federal Air Marshals and TSA officers, retiring from federal law enforcement in 2010.

But retired from law enforcement didn’t mean retired, period. In addition to being CDO of Boondocks, he continues to run his private consulting firm, Presidential Security Services. 

Selling guns, ammo and such at the Pro Shop is a small but significant part of Boondocks’ income stream. 

Rowlett told Shooting Industry, “70% of our income here is from the hundreds of memberships which entitle members to use the ranges. 20% is classes. Another 5% comes from matches we host, such as IDPA. The Pro Shop brings in about 5% of cash flow.”

Inventory focuses on quality firearms across price ranges. For accessories, name-brand holsters, ear protection, eye pro, etc., are all “first quality.” While some sporting guns are stocked, the inventory emphasis (including rental guns) is on defensive firearms. There’s an excellent selection of defensive carbines in the various calibers and defensive shotguns.

The handgun inventory when I was there a month before writing this ranged from totally tricked-out custom USPSA competition pistols to a full array of SIG P365s and P320s and GLOCKs and S&W Shields, to some traded-in Smith & Wesson .38 Specials from a security company at excellent prices for today. There was even a minty and eminently collectible WWII vintage Colt Commando .38 Special service revolver, and of course, lots of training and carry ammo in the popular calibers. The customers in the Pro Shop, for the most part, originally came there for training.

It’s a classic example of blending state-of-the-art firearms training with ethical, responsible firearm sales.

Comfort Is Priceless

A career in federal service taught Larry to keep the best employees who were in place when the new commander took over.

At Boondocks, it includes among the full-time personnel General Manager Darrel Carey, who began his career as an Indianapolis cop; Rangemaster Jim Lowman, an IDPA State Champion shooter; and masterful Office Manager Alycia Brewer. Chad Winkler is the man who does the curriculum development, and they are backed up by a dozen or so part-time employees who competently handle retail sales and various elements of training.

The Boondocks facility understands the importance of comfort: The classrooms are immaculate and state of the art, and each range has “real bathrooms,” which the many female customers particularly appreciate.

Most Boondocks personnel are routinely armed. Larry himself prefers a Tisas 1911 9mm loaded with 124-grain Speer Gold Dot. He notes with a wry chuckle the old saying “The shoemaker’s children go barefoot” applies to him: He’s so busy overseeing the place that he rarely finds time to shoot.

The people who buy guns and gear from the Pro Shop appreciate good training and feed the main mission of Boondocks Firearms Academy. The people who train there, in turn, spend money in the Pro Shop with people they’ve learned to trust: The very same staff at Boondocks Firearms Training Academy.

It’s a classic example of blending state-of-the-art firearms training with ethical, responsible firearms sales.

The Boondocks Pro Shop is directly next to the classroom —
fostering cross-promotion opportunities to elevate each segment of the business.

Click To Read More Shooting Industry July 2023 Issue Now!