The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Gun shop owner marks shipping issues, less business


April 5, 2020

Peter Stein

Dan Coleman, owner of DC Tactical gun shop in Clovis, wears a surgical mask while assisting a customer on Thursday afternoon.

CLOVIS - The coronavirus has forced businesses into action, or in some cases inaction.

Some have had to close after being deemed non-essential. Some have had to close because the reduced business from virus fears and Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham's stay-at-home order have made it difficult to remain open for now.

Those staying open have seen business that is far less robust than before the pandemic, which is not surprising.

Dan Coleman's store, DC Tactical gun shop in the middle of Clovis, is still open. But he has all of the common challenges facing businesses these days, including a big one.

"I'm finding it's hard for me to get stuff," Coleman said at his store on Thursday. "The problem is shipping, so warehouses are backed up. It's not the shipping carriers – UPS, the Post Office, everything's running like normal. It's getting stuff out of the warehouse; that's taking quite a bit of time. What used to come overnight is taking three weeks."

That's some difference. Why so late?

"Because there are employment restrictions by county that are having problems getting everybody to work," Coleman explained. "They're having issues in the parts (of the region) that my warehouse is at."

Coleman says he gets most of his supplies from Texas.

"I don't know if they're considered essential, not considered essential," Coleman said, "but they're having a hard time with getting workers at work. They issued a statement (Thursday) stating it was due to man restrictions and time allowed to work."

Aside from the time it takes for Coleman to get supplies, he has seen the expected changes to his business, as in less of it.

"We're much slower," Coleman said. "There's just not people out; people are staying home. ... And that's a good thing; people should be listening (to the governor's order) and stay home."

Coleman, though, knows it could be much worse.

"What I feel bad for is the restaurant community," he said. "It's got to be killing them."

How the virus has affected people's livelihoods seems all about perspective. For Ryan Elliott, who is a friend of Coleman's and sometimes helps him out at the gun store on days off, his regular job has remained one of his constants.

"I drive a truck to pick up milk," Elliott said Thursday while seated behind one of the counters at DC Tactical. "And we're essential, so it hasn't slowed down for us. ... It hasn't slowed us down at all."

While he hasn't been any slower, Elliott says he isn't busier than usual, either. "It's the same for us, really," he said.

But both businesses have made their adjustments. For Coleman, there are restrictions on how many people can be in the gun store at a time, employees included.

"No more than five people," he said. "There are five of us right now, so no one else can come in."

Customers, he says, have been adhering to that rule.

"Yeah," Coleman said, "because it's not as busy as it normally is. I had the door locked for a while just to keep it (to five), but (the limit) started because I still have a business to run."

As for Elliott, there are adjustments too.

"We have requirements," he said. "Every truck we get into we have to spray it down and wipe it down to sanitize it. Stuff like that."

What has remained the same for Coleman's business is what customers are requesting. They're not running out to buy extra weaponry, they're not in end-of-the-world mode.

"No, no one's really said any of that," Coleman said. "They all ask for ammo; I've had everybody in the world ask me for ammo. We don't have it."

Ammunition, Coleman said, is in short supply because of those shipping issues. "It's just taking too long to get it," he said.

A big change for Coleman is the surgical mask he was wearing around his neck as he sat behind the counter of his store on Thursday, a mask he later put over his face when assisting a customer who walked in.

Those masks are more and more becoming a sign of the times. But for Coleman, they are vital.

"I have stage 5 kidney failure," he said, referring to a disease that causes the kidneys to function below 10 to 15 percent of their normal capacity. And people with pre-existing health conditions are considered at the highest risk for COVID-19.

Which makes the masks a crucial part of Coleman's life.

"I have to wear it," he said, also noting that he wouldn't be wearing one if it wasn't for the coronavirus.

Strange times we've been living in. Maybe not the end of the world, but a new world for sure.


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