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Old November 12, 2012, 07:14 PM   #1
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Peabody's Sports in Centerville, Ohio

A lengthy report, but I hope worth your time if you are in the Dayton, Ohio area. I include the details about finding the store to help any who decide to make a visit.

A week or two ago while traversing the Dayton job market I found myself stopping into a few gun shops. You know to break up the normal "You have to fill out our proprietary application online and you need to have spent 5 years doing this job in the military AND have a TSC to be considered," with a few "Sure, we can get that for you and we'd love to sell it to you."

One of the store I was able to visit was the new Peabody Sports store. I visited this store several times when it was located in Kettering. Not many times because it was a decent drive over and the store was not in an area I passed through all that often. I never had a bad experience there and was never fed a line of BS by any of the counter people or had any of them try to rip me off in any way I was aware of. The time I purchased a firearm at Peabody Sports I was shown the distributors site, including dealers price and shipping, then told what they were going to mark the gun up, and then asked if I wanted to purchase. That has never happened in any other store, even the ones I frequent regularly. I was impressed and they probably would have gained my future business, but that rifle was the last new firearm I purchased.

I was passing through the Centerville/Kettering area, so I decided it was time I made a stop at the new store. I looked the store address up and used my GPS to get there without looking at a map. I was surprised at how far out the store was. When I heard the store moved to Centerville I assumed it would be right on the border of the two cities. It wasn't. The store is actually 2.5 miles south of the last shopping center in Centerville in an area with some light industry/construction/autoshop type businesses. As my car approached the location I didn't see any Peabody Sports signage, then I saw a tall yellow banner which stated "Guns" and decided that must be the place. Around the time Peabody Sports moved I heard through the grapevine they were upset at Kettering blocking their parking lot entrance for 3+ months during road construction on an intersection and they needed a larger store anyways, so they moved out of Kettering tax district. Land in this area was probably relatively cheap, so it would make a good location for a larger store. As I brought my vehicle to a stop in the parking lot I began to prepare myself for a gun warehouse superstore.

I took a quick look at the building and realized it was marked with the signage of an IT security firm. I exited my vehicle to take a look around. After a few minutes I saw a sign on a nearby chain link fence indicating Peabody sports was located in back, so I walked around the building. When I saw the Peabody Cruiser around back I knew I was in the right place. The building was big and there were no other businesses listed, so I was getting a little excited. Through the door I went, and I was a bit surprised. A small 6X12 foyer hallway breaking off to three rooms. One marked employees only, one unmarked and closed, and the third door led to a SMALL gun shop. Maybe 12X18. The smallest gun shop I have ever visited.

Walking through the door I was immediately struck by the organization of the shop. Many gun shops are disorderly, cluttered, and simply have too much inventory in too small a space. Despite the size limitations Peabody's was very well ordered following the principles of merchandising. Decent breadth, but limited depth. Even the lighting was for retail instead of the usual office/warehouse lighting found in most gun shops. The result of this was two fold, not only were products easy to find and more attractive than when over crowded, but the store was not full of low quality or slightly damaged firearms and accessories. No used SKS stocks leaned on the wall or pallets of picked over ammo boxes littering the floor. The shop appeared as professional as any I have visited.

Prices immediately stood out to me. In a small boutique shop the expectation is high prices and this was not the case. I went in without intent to buy, but I was tempted by several used firearms. I did not inquire as to pricing on any new guns as I was not in the market.

Only one staff member was in the store during my visit, John the owner. Three people came in one after the other with only a minute or two overlap in between. John was very helpful and knowledgeable about their questions on a broad range of subjects. One requested information on a new gun and he showed the distributor site just as he had when I purchased my rifle from him. The questions he didn't have answers to he responded to with names, numbers, and cards of people who would. Even though I was obviously "kicking tires" he was also helpful and patient with me. I asked him several "having an FFL" related questions, and he was very willing to discuss business issues with me. John is simply much more open with customers than most shops.

He admitted the signage out front was a problem and he just added the yellow banner to increase visibility. He would be taking additional action shortly. He indicated he was not planning to expand the shop and was quite happy with the business he was doing. Peabody's promotes their store as a "concierge" service. That claim is easy to make in writing, but John backs it up with service far better than competitors and still maintains lower prices.

Last edited by johnwilliamson062; November 12, 2012 at 07:40 PM.
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