Slim Randles' Home Country
The gas station gun shop
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[October 24, 2016]
The sign in front of the gas station says “Unleaded,
2.39, special on Colt .357 Magnum, six-inch barrel.”
Visitors here in the valley do a double take when they see
Vince’s sign there at what we all know as “the gas station gun
shop.” That’s because Vince doesn’t believe in being deprived of his
passion while earning a living. His passion: guns. His living:
We had all known of his passion for many years. He is the perennial
president of the local rod and gun club, plans nearly all their
annual spaghetti feeds to raise money for targets. If you want to go
hunting, all you need to do is pull up in front of Vince’s house on
the edge of town with some hounds in the back of the truck in the
evening and honk the horn. You don’t even need to call ahead.
The combination business began about three years ago when an
out-of-town customer pulled up to the gas pumps, walked inside to
pay Vince, and saw the owner sitting there polishing a 1911
Government Model .45 auto.
CPR wasn’t necessary, but it did give Vince some thinking to do.
“I looked around in here,” he said, “and saw all this wall space.
What did I have on it? Fan belts, stacks of motor oil containers,
those little air fresheners shaped like pine trees. What a waste! So
I put that stuff out in the repair side of the station and nailed up
this knotty pine. Looks pretty good, doesn’t it?
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“Then I got my federal firearms license, bought
a bunch of ammunition and some guns, and set it up.”
He says he’s always sure to put a gun ad up on the big white sign,
along with the gas prices, so people won’t be surprised when they
walk in and find him cleaning a Model 70 behind the counter.
“I actually do okay in the gun business here,” he said. “It isn’t
enough to be a gun shop on its own, really. We aren’t a big enough
And then he grinned and said, “And I’ve never been held up.”
[Text from file received from
Hunter in the
family? “Backpocket Guide to Hunting Elk” by Slim Randles. On