After three years and over 6,000 orders, we have decided to indefinitely shut down the e-commerce website AKCollectors.com. We want to personally thank each and every customer for their support over the years.
But why ?
With the rush of 2020, as we were building our supply chain and growing the e-commerce footprint, inventory availability started to crumble while at the same time we had just launched a local firearms store and needed to immediately ramp up inventory of firearms for the panic buying so that we could support our local community by supplying as many arms as we could. We made the store a priority while trying to keep the e-commerce alive. Placing orders, sending payment and waiting for several months to receive inventory is a tough place to be in for a business that is just starting out. It took over 6 months for some purchase orders to be fulfilled from US based companies. We had a good idea of what would sell and products we wanted to carry but getting those products in our hands was a huge challenge.
I went through a rough period during the second half of 2020 recovering from surgery and trying to operate essentially two businesses at once – the e-commerce site and the gun store all while working a separate demanding full time job. It was a lot to try to juggle with very limited help.
Good help is hard to find so it was a constant struggle to try to keep up with all the demands. There were too many nights to count that I stayed late preparing orders, shipping, working customer service, working with vendors, etc. It was a tough decision to turn the site off, but for the time being it is the best move for the business and for my personal longevity.
We were also burnt a good number of times by foreigners, local US based companies and importers. The firearms industry really is like a bunch of small clubs that you have to try to get into, for instance Arms of America and Atlantic Firearms. AoA repeatedly promised to fulfill an order on an incoming import of Mini Jacks, but as soon as the items were imported, we were never notified and they were sent to Atlantic Firearms and sold online without fulfilling our order after waiting half a year and being promised many times. We tried working with RS Regulate but their demand was too high to fulfill our orders – they had enough customers and enough business that new getting new resellers taken care of was a challenge – but kudos to Scot – awesome products and great guy.
Companies in the firearms industry that were established before the record setting rise of 2020 were in an amazing position to clear their inventories and get a lot of cash in the first and second quarters of 2020. With huge amounts of cash on hand they started expanding into new product lines and really anything they could get a hold of. One of my vendors went behind my back and stole one of my biggest wholesale customers, which cut a percentage of our sales volumes, although he claims the conversation we had never happened. During the peak of 2020, international business was cut as many countries completely stopped imports and exports. We were left with scraps for the remainder of the year and tried to start stocking US based products but the sales volume just wasn’t there to keep us afloat. By the beginning of 2021, we knew that the e-commerce site was on its way out, but we tried a few last attempts with ALG and US Palm products – but when working with the US Products it has to be a numbers game for volume, which led us to shipping 50+ orders a day – while running a gun shop – which was just too much for too little revenue.
In 2018, I really got exited about AK magazines. I joined akfiles as that was the only real place to find parts and accessories on a regular basis. I get addicted to my habits, and this one took me down the rabbit hole pretty deep. After 2 months on akfiles, I had spent over $20,000 on ak magazines. From all my purchases, I started making contacts and finding volume buys. Volume buys were great because I could cherry pick a few mint items for myself and sell the rest at a small profit to pay for the items I wanted to keep. As I started getting more and more items in, I put a few on Gunbroker and people went crazy. I took apart every magazine, cleaned it, oiled it and bagged it for preservation. Customers really seemed to like the care we took. I also started grading magazines from NOS (New Old Stock) to Grade A, B, C and researching the exact model information or generation of magazine, for example a Grade A Izzy Ridgeback Bakelite ( which some other vendors started to do after us 🙂 ). I really enjoyed touching every single surplus item I could get my hands on and wanted more so one night I did a domain search and found ‘akcollectors.com’ was available so I jumped on it right away and in March 2019, launched the e-commerce site. We initially launched on Shopify but very quickly moved over to BigCommerce because FUCK Shopify and their anti-2A policies. We launched our Instagram and Facebook accounts and got up to over 10,000 followers who really helped support us and move forward.I have put my hands on a huge variety of surplus magazines, furniture sets and even firearms now and I will forever be grateful for the opportunity that I had because of my customers.
Justin, you really helped in time of need, I just wish you would have prioritized this so we could have made something more of what we had.
Thomas, man dealing with you was such a pain in the ass but well worth it – thank you.
Jordan, you are the man.
These guys from AKFILES can choke on a fat one:
Steelmonkey, reddot, HEELS357, czarslayer, ratmil, boutcha, Kazzbomb9, 17 Vive liberatum 76, gaigeboyd, hdskumm, Kalashnikovologist, Fjordforder, But Its A Dry Heat