Growing a small business isn’t easy. It’s hard. Very hard. The majority of the time I’m promoting, rather than teaching….and I’m not good at promoting. I’m good at teaching people to shoot, not promoting things. Otherwise, I’d have gone into marketing.
One of the greatest things I was able to do was build up a Shooting Range and do it for free. Swissland Diary Farms has a range and they let me use it whenever I want. It was a few cement slabs put together under a leaky metal roof with berms every 50 yards out to 200 yards. People would come out and shoot from a picnic table, which would let two people shoot…or one person with some gear. Don’t let it seem like I am ungrateful, a 200 yard shooting semi-private shooting range is awesome!
The range was suffering a bit, though. So, I asked permission to spruce it up some and the Oesch family granted it. I got a friend of mine to build some shooting benches with lumber donated by Big L Lumber in Clarksville. I built some tables to hold people’s gear and accessories, paid for by Brick’s Alto Marathon Gas Station, with Pizza and Mexcian Food! Smilie’s Armory in Clarksville donated a nice Rifle Rack. Alto Auto Repair donated the new removable target backings. I put up a list of Safety Rules, a place for waivers, etc, along with every business’s logo that supported the endeavor…paid for by Backwoods Archery and Trading Post in Freeport. I couldn’t have done any of this without these businesses help. But until I came up with the idea and got these businesses together, made the sales pitch, got some volunteers to help, nothing would have been done.
It reminds me of when our former President Obama made a fateful speech where he said “You didn’t build that!” What he meant to say is that someone helped your business and you should help others out. It didn’t come out that way, though. No, Mr President, us small business and big business owners are the ones building it. Yes, we help each other out, but it’s up to us to ask for the help and negotiate the deal getting done. None of these other small businesses would make it on their own if their owners weren’t the hardest workers or the ones that are the most invested in the business. What the President failed to see was that it’s in the interest of all businesses to truly see everyone succeed. If an employee makes more money, they are a happier more productive employee that has more money to buy more product that the company makes. It’s that simple. If a company helps a person out of poverty, that person will be a loyal customer. If a small business is willing to chip in just a little to help another small business, it creates a partnership where good deeds will come back to you. Basically, businesses shouldn’t need welfare to survive.
But the funny thing is….after I spent about a month last September getting the range ready, I was all set to enjoy the fruits of our labor this Spring, which is the busiest time of the CPL year. I had a lot more room for students, plus it would showcase a range that is open to them to train for the future. Unfortunately, as often happens, nature set in. It’s May and since February the range has been under water. Flooded. Not just with water, but dirty swamp water with runoff from a Dairy Farm. Yeah, it’s gross water. It stinks. I haven’t been able to use the range, let alone showcase it to students. This area has never flooded this much for this long in forever. But it did. I’m a little sad and a little frustrated.
And yet, I’m still glad I did it. The relationships I established and lessons learned that I went through were worth it. I didn’t build that range, a team built it that was put together by me.
And now our website here is going to be sponsored by Michigan Farmhouse Pizza in Clarksville, MI. Let me tell you, Michigan Farmhouse Pizza is an avid supporter of the 2d Amendment and they have some dang good tasting pizza! As soon as the manager at Big L Lumber heard the idea for the range, he enthusiastically supported it. Brad Yonkers isn’t exactly a gun lover, but he threw the support of Bricks Alto Marathon to help a local business and loved the idea of creating a range that was safe for hunters to get ready for hunting season and a place for people to practice gun safety. Randy at Alto Auto Repair loves firearms, freedom and hunting, he was one of the first ones to chip in. Backwoods Archery is a wonderful family owned business that did a great job in getting our printing jobs and signage looking beautiful.
Barracks 616 in Cascade supports Brimstone Firearm Instruction with free range passes to our students and in turn, I do readily inform all students of what firearm accessories I prefer and where to buy them. Smiley’s Armory in Clarksville has the best FFL processing fees I’ve ever heard of and I freely tell people this.
If you are in the Lakeshore area, I refer people to my good friends at Center for Tactical Studies for their firearm training needs…and I don’t do that lightly. Those guys are good and they have great hearts, too. PJM Designs did a wonderful job on this website for a price that beats the competition. Now Cleon Brown is joining Brimstone Firearm Instruction….so I can’t say I build this anymore! No….we built this. Me, my family, my friends, my partners, and most of all, my students. We built this. And we will continue to build this.
We will not need help from the government, no welfare, no handouts. In many ways, this form of government is the enemy of good business. Success doesn’t come from hand outs. Handouts from the government often come with many strings attached. Too many regulations, taxes, permits, fees, rules, etc. No thank you, I’ll continue to rely on my fellow businessmen who don’t give with strings and regulations attached. Thank you.
And maybe sometime this summer I’ll be able to start showing off the new range. Maybe. Until then, stay safe out there, folks! See ya next time.