Even the Italian Cosmi semi-automatics adhere to the conventions of shotguns for gentlemen as articulated by owner and financial backer, retired banker Barry Rich. Cosmis actually crack open to expose the chamber. The magnificent specimen I handled in their wood-lined safe was a 16-gauge beauty with a titanium receiver priced in the neighborhood of $20,000 (Double Guns of Nashville also stocked a 20 and 28 gauge Cosmi, compiling perhaps the most comprehensive assortment in the country).
Barry Rich with one the incredible Italian Cosmi hand-made semi-autos at Double Guns of Nashville.
Mr. Rich and his business partner Terry Hetrick started Double Guns of Nashville in a single-wide trailer located at the Nashville Gun Club. Their plan was to build a rustic retail emporium for shotguns and accessories on the property – letting customers try a sporting clays, skeet or trap gun before writing the check. They ultimately realized that the arrangement was more limiting than originally expected. Even though the Club is open to the public members received preferential pricing. So Mr. Hetrick and Mr. Rich opted for a new store on Nashville’s West End where they could reach more people with their inventory of about 90 distinctive shotguns.
“We realized we need a more accessible retail space,” said Mr. Rich.
Terry Hetrick and Barry Rich in the gun vault at Double Guns of Nashville.
The storefront lets Double Guns of Nashville capitalize on the city’s blistering growth rate driven largely by banking, transportation, health care and higher education, notably Vanderbilt University. With its explosion of modern housing and trendy restaurants, Nashville recently made the cut to the top 20 finalists of Amazon’s second headquarters location.
Nashville’s unemployment is about 3½ percent, college attainment is 33 percent and the median household income is slightly over $54,000. In the last five years, 16 hotels have opened in Nashville to capitalize on the breathtaking growth in tourism for Music City favorites such as the Country Music Hall of Fame, the Grand Ole Opry and the so-called “Mother Church of Country Music,” Ryman Auditorium. All the fiscal trends point to an increasingly affluent population that can more easily afford the lovely inventory now in closer proximity to Double Guns of Nashville.
Inside the gun vault at Double Guns of Nashville.
The timing is optimal. Mr. Rich pointed out that a bespoke side by side from Spanish gunmaker Grulla, for example, “can be surprisingly affordable” at about $11,000.
The highlight of Double Guns of Nashville is the 20 by 16 foot, wood-paneled vault from Julian & Sons that’s home to exceptional shotguns. What I found interesting though, is that for an American gun store the only semi-autos they sell are Italian Cosmis that cost about $20,000 (I got to handle a 16-gauge titanium Cosmi and it was dreamy).
Complementing the quality shotgun selection, the floor space is populated with accessories and clothes from Barbour, Allen Payne, Boyt Harness and Artipel Leather (Double Guns of Nashville has been the exclusive U.S. importer of the long-gun cases and bags for the past three years.)
Artipel Leather gun sleeves are hard to find in the U.S., but feature at Double Guns of Nashville.
Mr. Rich and Mr. Hetrick will keep their location at the Nashville Gun Club, where in fact Mr. Hetrick spends most of his time. He’s the club pro with a full schedule of lessons from first-timers to the highest level of professional competitive shooter. Mr. Hetrick capitalizes on his own clays tournament titles and local hero status as former eight-time Tennessee State Skeet Champion.
“The teaching is a great, never-ending source for prospects,” he said.
Opening Double Guns of Nashville at the Nashville Gun Club was part of Mr. Rich’s hands-on interpretation of shotgun sales that remains in place. The Club location has a rotating stash of about 15 demo shotguns that people can try on the 10 skeet fields, 13 trap fields, covered five stand, international bunker trap and 20-station sporting clays course. Plus the club is only a 10-minute drive from the new store.
“We always knew this store would be a bigger part of our market,” said Mr. Rich.