ROSWELL ‒ Christian Ervin has expanded his gun store, Bullzeye Tactical and Hunting, LLC, a business he started 12 years ago as a side job while he did computer programming and web design.
The construction project that was finished in May gave the store at 115 Barnhill Road SE a 1,200-square-foot showroom and 1,800 square feet for shipping and receiving. Previously, the store’s showroom totaled 540 square feet.
Ervin, 48, said he is doing more business online now. Whenever he sells a firearm to a remote buyer, the merchandise is delivered to another federally licensed firearm dealer. Ervin said the buyer has to go to that store; the name and phone number must match the information Ervin has about the customer.
Bullseye sells handguns, rifles, shotguns, ammunition and accessories. Ervin offers services such as installing scopes, cleaning, engraving and applying ceramic coatings. He has a federal firearm manufacturing license.
Bullzeye buys guns on consignment, taking 10% of the sale price, or will buy outright from owners.
The store has one employee, Becky Seevers, who works four days a week.
“She’s extremely knowledgeable,” Ervin said. “The customers love her. She’s very, very integral to the growth of the business.”
Thad Dessecker, a friend of Ervin’s, helps in the store, but not as an employee.
Dessecker says he helps in any way that’s needed, whether that be customer support or shipping. He said he is retired and lives close to Ervin’s store. Dessecker is very knowledgeable about old guns, Ervin said.
“He’s a great guy,” Dessecker said of Ervin. “We have a lot of fun.”
‘He’s a survivor like me’
Ervin’s admirers include Matthew Indermill of New Philadelphia, who started as a customer and became a friend.
They met when Indermill went to Bullzeye to take the eight-hour class Ohio previously required for a permit to carry a concealed weapon. They learned they shared a common bond. Each had their lives altered by a motor vehicle crash.
Indermill was seriously injured in a fiery motorcycle crash that killed his wife Jeanene in 2017. The crash was caused by a drunken driver who crossed the centerline of road and hit the couple head-on; the perpetrator is serving an 18-year prison sentence. Ervin broke his back in a four-wheeler all-terrain vehicle accident when he was 18 years old. He uses a wheelchair and can walk with canes. Ervin stands well enough to reach over a display case to shake your hand, although he sometimes needs family or friends to get items on high shelves.
The first time Indermill went into Bullzeye and saw Ervin stand up and lean against the counter, he wanted to know what happened to him.
“We got talking after I took my class and it just kind of really went from there,” Indermill said. “He told me his story. I told him mine. We have a mutual respect there. I have admiration for him because of his determination. He’s a survivor like me.’
Indermill said they bonded further by going off-roading together.
“He’s a very strong willed, independent individual,“ Indermill said. “I think his store kind of reflects him and you know with the determination and because he started out small and now he’s expanding into a big full-time shop.”
Indermill characterized Ervin as “very strong on safety education. I wouldn’t be afraid to take my small boy in there for his first gun.”
Ervin, a National Rifle Association-certified instructor, still offers the classes in carrying a concealed weapon. He said the classes have been fuller lately than they had been for a while.
“We have a lot of customers that are first-time gun buyers,” Ervin said. “I think it’s important that they learn all the safety, the functionality of the gun, just the basics, especially safety. Also, I think it’s important because we go over laws. A lot of people don’t know what the laws are. And they don’t take the time to look it up.
“We try to make people think, so they’re not being a vigilante. They need to think before they use their firearm. If for some reason you would have to use it for self-defense, then that’s one of the better things if it goes to court. Having a CCW is just one thing showing that you’re responsible.”
Indermill said Ervin provides very good customer service, and is able to find a rare gun. If Ervin can’t find what you want, he will find you the person or other resource you need, he said.
“We’ve had people drive a couple hours to get here,” Ervin said. “I try to get hard-to-get guns.”
Bullzeye stocks Henry Repeating Arms rifles and shotguns, Ervin said they are collectibles made in the USA.
“They’re reliable. They shoot good,” he said.
Serious injuries: Man describes life-threatening motorcycle crash as ‘God appointment’
Bullzeye is also a Glock Blue Label dealer for members of the military, veterans, law enforcement and other first responders.
Ervin said two years ago he had an ammunition shortage due to supply chain issues caused by COVID-19. Certain calibers are still hard to get.
Reach Nancy at 330-364-8402 or email@example.com.
On Twitter: @nmolnarTR