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Home  >  Woburn Advocate  >  Local News  

 
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Gun shop bucks trend
By Megg Crook/ Staff Writer
Thursday, July 27, 2006 - Updated: 02:02 PM EST


Nestled in the back of a large office building, with the police station as their neighbors, is Four Seasons Firearms. Filled with every type of gun and accessory imaginable, the store possesses a welcome and friendly atmosphere when gun connoisseurs can get together and discuss all aspects of the sport they enjoy.

    Four Seasons originally opened in 1989 and was owned by the Fishlin family, long-time Woburn residents. Rather than give the store up when he became ill, they sold it to Carl Ingrao, a family friend. Ingrao, who has been working in the gun industry since 1975, so it was an easy transition for him to take over.

    It has not been a struggle for Ingrao to stay in business, but he said other firearms stores around Massachusetts are giving up and slowly going out of business.

    "Massachusetts has the toughest gun laws in the country," Ingrao said. "There were more stores, but as laws got tougher, they went out of business."

    It is a complicated process to purchase a handgun, with many checks along the way, Ingrao said. There are four main steps. The first is to fill out a federal form that requires everything from your address and whether you have committed a crime to your height and weight. Ingrao is required to keep this record on file, just in case.
 

    Next, Ingrao calls the FBI for an instant background check. If that comes up clear, he will enter the customer in the Massachusetts Instant Record Check System. This system, which has only been in place since the end of 2004, was originally tested out in Four Seasons Firearms. Eventually, all firearm stores in Massachusetts will have it.
 

    The system requires verification with a fingerprint, which helps to determine if a customer is clear to buy the gun, and also to make sure their license to carry a gun is valid. After that, Ingrao gives the purchaser gun literature.
 

    The fines for not obeying are severe, Ingrao said, but not a hardship on his business.
 

    "They tell us the rules and we follow them," Ingrao said simply.
 

    While the gun industry may seem like a formidable place to be, Four Season Firearms is anything but. Ingrao makes a point of knowing and greeting customers by name. The atmosphere of the store is relaxed and laid back, and Ingrao said he knows this is what has kept him so successful.
 

    "It’s a tight-knit fraternity, people with the same interest talking about the guns," Ingrao said. People may come in to chat with each other, he added, talking about the products, or competition successes.
 

There is something else that sets Four Season Firearms apart from other gun stores, and that is a dog named Holly.
 

    "She’s been coming since she was a pup, and people started to really like the dog," Ingrao said. He began to have "Holly specials," and even put her picture up on the Web site.
 

    "She’s kind of like the mascot of the store," Ingrao explained. "She comes to greet new customers, and it kind of breaks the ice."
 

    Ingrao said a common misperception is that gun stores are for men. Many women come in for various reasons to buy a gun for themselves, whether for self-defense or target practice. There are so many different aspects of shooting: target, protection, hunting, collection or competition, to name a few. When a new customer comes in, it’s Ingrao’s job to determine what they want a gun for, and which one would be most appropriate for their needs.  [continue]

 
Gun shop bucks trend
[continued from previous page]

Ingrao’s customers travel from all over the North and South shores, he said, as far as Danvers, Gloucester, Mansfield and Worthington.
 

    "It all comes down to one thing," he said. "We treat customers like we would want to be treated ourselves. We treat them all with respect."

     Four Season Firearms can be reached at 76R Winn St., Woburn; 781-932-3133; or www.fsguns.com.

 

 

 

About US

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