Dealing with Success

Red’s Makes More Green on

Red’s Trading Post — The oldest gun shop in Idaho.

Red’s Trading Post, the oldest gun shop in Idaho, has purchased and sold used firearms for more than 70 years. As with many dealers, seasonal hunting meant Red’s staff spent the majority of the year receiving an influx of used guns while selling relatively few of them. In other words, supply exceeded local demand.

“Like clockwork, shotguns and rifles start coming in the week after hunting season ends in January,” said Ryan Horsley, marketing director for Red’s. “Typically, the guns would sit on the shelves and we’d accumulate more and more guns until September when the season was about to start up again. If the used gun was rare or an odd caliber, we often had to wait until the right customer came in. It could be a year or more in some cases.”

After speaking with a customer looking for a unique firearm, Horsley learned about an online auction site that could offer a solution to his seasonal woes — That one conversation would completely change the way Red’s did business. allows third-party sellers to list items, and potential buyers to bid in online auctions. Every buyer or seller must be legally allowed to own firearms. Ownership policies and regulations are followed using licensed firearms dealers as transfer agents.

“It was really sort of remarkable—each of the guns brought in higher profits than we had originally priced in the store.”

Ryan Horsley, Red’s Trading Post Marketing Director

“I was intrigued by what [the customer] told me about So I decided to test the waters by putting a few of our rare and unique caliber guns up for auction,” Horsley stated. “It was really sort of remarkable — each of the guns brought in higher profits than we had originally priced in the store.”

Since registering on in 2000, Red’s Trading Post has seen an increase in annual sales of more than 600 percent. According to Horsley, the online sales via now comprise roughly half of the store’s total business.

Ryan Horsley, Red’s Trading Post Marketing Director

“Our presence online gives us 24-hour operations even though the store hours are 9-6,” Horsley added. “What was really surprising was that our in-store traffic has also risen as a result of —

there’s a steady flow of people bringing in guns to sell. In fact, there have been times when we had to turn people away because we’d tapped out our budget for buying.”

As an unexpected effect, Red’s no longer needs to seasonally cut its workforce. Horsley attributed this to an increased need for shipping, firearm cleaning, photography, product descriptions and other tasks that arose as a result of posting items on

“More big box stores are popping up every day,” commented Horsley, “but most have an Achilles heel by not selling used firearms. Combining the site’s 3,000,000-plus visitors each month and our increased in-store traffic, we never worry about moving inventory. With, we’re confident we can liquidate any firearm — it’s not a gamble anymore.”

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