You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Wed, Oct 3, 2012 : 2:59 p.m.

Ann Arbor Arms: New gun store targets personal safety and sport markets

By Laura Blodgett


Holli Pinon in her new store.

Laura Blodgett | For

A new gun retailer called Ann Arbor Arms recently opened on the west side of Ann Arbor.

With the tagline "Defense: Now it's personal," the store is focused not just on guns, but personal safety and preparedness.

Bill Pinon, whose day job is president and CEO of Terumo Heart Inc. in Ann Arbor, and Holli Pinon, his wife, decided to open the store after determining there was a market in Ann Arbor for their niche product.

"One of my passions has always been sport shooting, and there are no gun stores within 45 minutes of here that cater to the type of shooting that I like to do," said Bill, who likes to fly fish and target shoot with a group of local friends made up of business owners, professionals and law enforcement officers.

Located at 5060 Jackson Road in Independence Plaza, east of Zeeb, the Pinons selected the site for its access to I- 94 and affordable lease. They have been pleasantly surprised by the reception since the store opened.

"Everybody told me that Ann Arbor is such a liberal town that is why there are no gun stores here," said Bill. "I was concerned about that."

However, Pinon shares that Washtenaw County has the highest number of applicants in the state for concealed pistol licenses, and 20 percent of the homes in Chelsea have one or more people with a license to carry a concealed pistol.

"There's a lot more awareness about personal protection than people would let on," said Bill. "We really expected to run into some level of resistance, but everybody has said this is great. We've had all walks of life in here."


Laura Blodgett | For

The Pinons are quick to point out that theirs is more than just a gun store. They are planning on guns accounting for roughly 30 percent of revenue, while the rest will be made up of sales of merchandise used for survival, hunting and camping.

Specialty items at the store include Eberlestock hunting bags and a Scottevest jacket with 37 pockets, "good for concealment, or for people that like to carry around flashlights, cell phones and car keys," said Bill.

Another big draw will be the classes led by certified instructors held at the store. Upcoming courses in October include Basic Handgun, Concealed Pistol License and "Less than Lethal," which covers how to protect yourself using means such as flashlights, pepper spray, Tasers and even a whistle.

"There are so many things you can do besides guns," said Holli. "A flashlight can be very powerful weapons when shined in someone's eyes."

Teenagers and others who sit and text in cars or walk around with earphones in with their iPods could benefit from a personal safety class, said Holli.

Other future classes will include How to Build a Bug-out Bag which contains equipment that would sustain someone for a certain amount of time such as a pair of boots, socks, gloves and water.

The Pinons, who lived in Florida before relocating four years ago for Bill's position at Terumo Heart, have always been geared to preparedness due to the recurrent hurricanes down south.

"We were down there when [Hurricane] Andrew came through," said Bill."When we moved up here I was surprised by how many people who don't keep a bag in the car even with just some hand warmers and a couple of Clif bars."

In addition to Holli working on site full time, two managers have been hired--one that has a focus on compliance issues and another who has worked in several local retail outfitters. In addition, three part-time workers have been hired who have military or law enforcement backgrounds or are gun enthusiasts. The Pinons are hoping to hire more as business grows.

The store had a soft opening in September, and a Grand Opening with vendors on site will take place at the end of October. John Evans of Swisher Commercial brokered the deal.

The Pinons are not trying to convert people to be "gun people" but to cater to those who want a place to get an education.

"My father was career military and I grew up in Oregon," explained Pinon. "For me, guns have always been something that you are educated properly about. It's like any other tool you would use - you've got to be safe and aware of what you have."

View Larger Map



Thu, Oct 4, 2012 : 4:40 a.m.

I'll certainly be one of those visiting Ann Arbor Arms in the near future. I'm also heartened by the numerous expressions of joy over the opening of a gun store "nearby" to Ann Arbor. Some of the first things you learn about starting your own business is that (1) It's hard and (2)it has little chance (statistically) of succeeding. And one of the chief reasons for the high percentage of failures is: poor or inadequate "business planning." Not many years after moving here, I was gladdened by the news that a new gun store opened on Main Street. Joyous I was, a customer I never was. And we had several gun stores around town then - all of them have disappeared. And that's due to lack of business (i.e. actual patronage, lack of customers). Likewise, we've seen the fabled Jacobson's women's apparel store vanish into the mists of time and it won't be long before Borders Books will join "Jake's" as an example of a fondly remembered ghost. So the natural question about the new gun store is: do they really have a good business plan and something which will prove a strong attractor (partly because they're way out on Jackson Road).? I could joke around, or misguidedly introduce my political views, but any business, to succeed, will need strong customer support. And to have strong customer support (it's proven beyond doubt) that business must cater to its actual market rather than just say "we're here to educate" (etc.). The question is: after everyone's visited to satisfy their curiosity, will those people be back? If ?Ann Arbor Arms is around two years from now: we'll have our answer.

Fat Bill

Thu, Oct 4, 2012 : 1:46 a.m.

Some of us can be described as pro gun liberals....


Thu, Oct 4, 2012 : 1:07 a.m.

Finally. I got my first Glock from the long lost Ann Arbor Firearms over on Main St. Think local first!


Thu, Oct 4, 2012 : 12:46 a.m.

Since 90 people are killed by cars every day in the U.S. and any lunatic can buy a car on-line, I fail to see the logic of selling even more cars in our community.

G. Orwell

Thu, Oct 4, 2012 : 12:40 a.m.

Too funny! Proves why guns are essential. Without guns, criminals would have a field day every day and they would be the only ones with guns.

G. Orwell

Thu, Oct 4, 2012 : 12:35 a.m.

I am glad to see far more positive comments than negative. Which makes sense since gun ownership among democratic households are rising faster than republican households. I think democrats and progressives are waking up to reality. Guns in the hands of well trained and law abiding citizens reduces crimes. Not to mention it deters government tyranny. The true intention of the 2ND Amendment. The more people that own guns, less chance our government will attempt to confiscate guns. Crime is rising. Home invasions are on the rise and someone died today from gun shots in Ypsi. As the economy deteriorates, crime will rise. Get trained and arm yourselves. Gallup Poll

tom wilson

Wed, Oct 3, 2012 : 11:13 p.m.

'Bout time. May they fare better than Al Whiteman.

cornelius McDougenschniefferburgenstein jr. 3 esq.

Wed, Oct 3, 2012 : 10:54 p.m.

welcome+good luck!!!


Wed, Oct 3, 2012 : 10:32 p.m.

Sounds like a winner. America is supposed to be a free country. Also glad to see diversity in Ann Arbor. This business should do very well.

Kyle Mattson

Wed, Oct 3, 2012 : 10:11 p.m.

I've added a map to show the location of the shop. I'd also like to reinforce RedSchwinn's comment that this article is about a business and not a debate about gun control, please do your best to keep the conversation on topic so our moderators do not have to remove your comments. Thank you.

Kyle Mattson

Thu, Oct 4, 2012 : 2:55 a.m.

tdw/jcj- From the one person hot dog cart to Costco our reporting staff works hard to cover as many retail developments around the county as possible. We realize that rabbit trail conversations will appear on articles that are related to hot-button issues like gun control; however, we want to maintain the approach of providing an outlet for our readers to discuss what is going on here in their community. At times we do run articles focusing on bigger picture topics that are suitable for a hearty debate therefore, we just ask readers to consider the scope of what they are posting and makes sure it is fitting for the topic at hand.


Thu, Oct 4, 2012 : 1:55 a.m.

If you thought the comments would not go this way we would not have seen the story!


Thu, Oct 4, 2012 : 12:26 a.m.

Kyle....common....Please tell me that you REALLY didn't think comments would not go this way


Wed, Oct 3, 2012 : 10:07 p.m.

First, a linguistic point. If you really "needed" a gun store, presumably you would have moved to a community which had one, before you perished from the lack of access. Wanting to have something is not a need. I don't know much about guns, and I don't care to learn. That said, I find it encouraging that the Pinons expressed great dedication to education about guns and personal protection, and hope that they really do live up to that commitment, for those who want to own guns. My fears are my fears, and I don't believe that I can calm them by owning a firearm., but I know that's not true for everyone. Hope we're all safe. Play nice, folks.


Thu, Oct 4, 2012 : 3:35 a.m.

jcj, Agree that "need" is overused, and would add that the usage is rarely accurate.


Thu, Oct 4, 2012 : 3:32 a.m.

Suspect, Never said that I don't do anything to calm or confront my fears, only that firearms are not part of my solutions. Clearly my fears are different than your fears.


Thu, Oct 4, 2012 : 1:53 a.m.

Red First, a linguistic point. If you really "needed" a gun store, presumably you would have moved to a community which had one. Using that logic all of the do gooders that thought we "needed" a new cross walk ordinance should have MOVED to a community that had a crosswalk ordinace that fit their needs!


Thu, Oct 4, 2012 : 1:32 a.m.

Suspect......I don't think there is any question what I think about the issue.I think Red's comment was quite decent.In fact,I actually respect him for his comment , he did not disrespect anyone.

Unusual Suspect

Thu, Oct 4, 2012 : 12:21 a.m.

"My fears are my fears, and I don't believe that I can calm them by owning a firearm" Then I assume you have also never calmed fears of a test by studying for it, calmed fears of giving a speech by practicing it, or calmed fears of a job interview by preparing for it. Must be a tough life.

Boo Radley

Wed, Oct 3, 2012 : 9:50 p.m.

A firearm is like a parachute ... if you need one and don't have it, you are not likely to ever need one again.

George K

Wed, Oct 3, 2012 : 9:25 p.m.

This is awesome! I recently bought a .38 special (I'm one of those CPL holders...) but I had to drive all the way to Cabela's to get it. I would have much rather supported a local business! I hope they sell self defense flashlights; I would definitely buy one of those soon.


Thu, Oct 4, 2012 : 3:13 a.m.

I bought my first Glock pistol at Mill Creek Sporting Center and my second I got from (first rate gunsmith) at B. McDaniel Gun Shop (straight North on Pontiac Trail about 16 mi. from A2). Cabella's: might as well be in Ohio by comparison. :-)


Wed, Oct 3, 2012 : 9:15 p.m.

FINALLY a dealer in Ann Arbor. The only thing that could possibly make it better would be to include a shooting range.

Laura Jones

Wed, Oct 3, 2012 : 10:46 p.m.

Come out to Dexter and shoot at Mill Creek. Then have dinner at one of our great restaurants!

Roger Stutesman

Wed, Oct 3, 2012 : 9 p.m.

Since 34 people are killed by guns every day in the U.S. and any lunatic can buy a gun on-line, I fail to see the logic of selling even more guns in our community.


Thu, Oct 4, 2012 : 1:57 a.m.

Since everyone is big on asking for "facts", George can you provide any for saying that it only takes one confrontation with a gun owner to put a thief on the straight and narrow? I kind of figure thieves are idiots and not quick to learn. Or they might just return to your house and steal your gun when you aren't home. That is my biggest concern with guns. It always seems to be reported that a gun is stolen in a home invasion. I realize a responsible person would lock it up, but there just seem to be so many irresponsible people.


Thu, Oct 4, 2012 : 1:45 a.m.

how many are killed by alcohol in the United States each day? Where is the logic in that?

George K

Wed, Oct 3, 2012 : 9:29 p.m.

Maybe we wouldn't have such a problem with break-ins in Ann arbor if more responsible people had guns. It only takes one confrontation with a gun-protected homeowner to put a thief on the straight and narrow.


Wed, Oct 3, 2012 : 9:29 p.m.

Thanks for supporting my statement that not one anti has shown any knowledge of guns whatsoever

Tom Dalton

Wed, Oct 3, 2012 : 9:15 p.m.

You do realize that to buy a gun online you have to have it shipped to a dealer who is going to run a background check (NICS) on you before you get the gun, right? I fail to see the logic in blaming an inanimate object for crime "Quemadmodum gladius neminem occidit, occidentis telum est." - Lucius Annaeus Seneca


Wed, Oct 3, 2012 : 9:13 p.m.

Facts please? Links to facts? Educated and informed? Nope, didn't think so.


Wed, Oct 3, 2012 : 9 p.m.

Welcome to Ann Arbor!


Wed, Oct 3, 2012 : 8:42 p.m.

Good....I've been thinking about selling my almost mint model 28.I wounder if I can get a decent price for it


Wed, Oct 3, 2012 : 8:39 p.m.

It's funny how the anti's are showing their paranoia about gun owners paranoia.( and so far not one has shown one bit of knowledge about guns or how most are used )


Thu, Oct 4, 2012 : 12:22 a.m. are assuming about me assuming.I said nothing of the sort, not even close.And for what it's worth, I agree with you about the morons. ( just like anything else ie: cars, alcohol etc..)


Wed, Oct 3, 2012 : 11:56 p.m.

You assume that just because someone is a college educated liberal that he or she doesn't know anything about firearms or how to use them. It's not guns that are a problem, it's morons with guns. Unfortunately, there is little that can be done about that.


Wed, Oct 3, 2012 : 8:34 p.m.

Hopefully they will have available more prepper gear other than bug out bags.


Wed, Oct 3, 2012 : 8:30 p.m.

I applaud the braveness of the individuals here. Opening a retail establishment that isn't a hookah bar, smoke shop, thong store, burger joint, sub shop, yogurt place, pita palace, kabob hut, pizza place, head shop, bar, or franchise. >snicker< There really IS hope for Ann Arbor!


Wed, Oct 3, 2012 : 8:53 p.m.



Wed, Oct 3, 2012 : 8:24 p.m.

This is great! I will be bring my father by when he gets to town for a visit. The closest decent gun shop is over 40 mins away. Hopefully they will add a gun range soon. I need/want a shotgun for Christmas :)


Wed, Oct 3, 2012 : 8:20 p.m.

Just went and its a place to go!! Hope they do AWESOME!


Wed, Oct 3, 2012 : 8:20 p.m.

Yes!!! Long overdue, now my friends and myself can spend the thousands of $$ on our shooting and hunting needs locally! Best part, it's not actually in AA, no traffic!!!!!!!!! Happy man here!!!

Ann English

Wed, Oct 3, 2012 : 11:50 p.m.

No traffic? Smooth traffic, for sure. Over there, Jackson is a boulevard, with left-turn islands to keep through traffic moving.


Wed, Oct 3, 2012 : 8:19 p.m.

Where is the closest INDOOR range to this place??


Wed, Oct 3, 2012 : 9:49 p.m.

take some extra earplugs to mill creek, put them under their supplied ear me.


Wed, Oct 3, 2012 : 8:54 p.m.

THANKS!! thats actually pretty close to there shop :)


Wed, Oct 3, 2012 : 8:23 p.m.

MillCreek in Dexter.


Wed, Oct 3, 2012 : 8:15 p.m.

When will people learn that a gun is just a tool? Just like a butcher's knife, or a harpoon, or an alligator!


Wed, Oct 3, 2012 : 8:25 p.m.

What waiting period is that?


Wed, Oct 3, 2012 : 8:25 p.m.

or a big hat?


Wed, Oct 3, 2012 : 8:21 p.m.

And what about that waiting period! That is the hardest part.

New One

Wed, Oct 3, 2012 : 8:11 p.m.

Welcome to town, Ann Arbor Arms! I just earned my CPL and am especially excited about the classes you are offering and what looks like a professional environment that's not just about 'camo. I like to shoot at the range and be safe walking the neighborhoods. Thanks for choosing Ann Arbor, there's lots of smart girls out there, just like me. :)


Wed, Oct 3, 2012 : 8:08 p.m.

"For me, guns have always been something that you are educated properly about. It's like any other tool you would use - you've got to be safe and aware of what you have." I guess Ann Arbor liberals equal uneducated? (Sounds about right, they like emotion not education) "Everybody told me that Ann Arbor is such a liberal town that is why there are no gun stores here,"


Wed, Oct 3, 2012 : 7:40 p.m.

Long overdue..Good news ..I'm sure the obamacrats are peeing their pants ..thankfully it not in the city limits ..hasn't been a good gun store since fisher hardware and Fox tent..look forward to their success...

Unusual Suspect

Thu, Oct 4, 2012 : 12:16 a.m.

Ypsi is also good for learning to evade shooters.


Wed, Oct 3, 2012 : 10:01 p.m.

as a very liberal, democrat voting person.....I have to tell you I love target shoot. AND I have taken my concealed permit class. And Im voting for Obama. Don't categorize us. And yea, I live in A2...for 30+ yrs. If I had the money I'd even own more than one gun. Rifles are fun too! And Ypsi has a great sportsman program.


Wed, Oct 3, 2012 : 9:16 p.m.

We missed you David. But your time away would have been worthy of a better comment. Is everyone that shoots competitively full of fear? NOT Is everyone that hunts full of fear? Not Your generalizations expose your lack of knowledge!

David Briegel

Wed, Oct 3, 2012 : 8:04 p.m.

It is the people who are "peeing their pants" that are full of fear and feel the need for a gun. Which many times is used to harm them!

Jim Edwards

Wed, Oct 3, 2012 : 7:36 p.m.

Great news! Welcome to the Ann Arbor retail community! We don't have to go to Cabela's anymore.

Ann English

Wed, Oct 3, 2012 : 11:44 p.m.

Sounds like we just got more competitive with The Firing Line in Westland, with this new store opening.


Wed, Oct 3, 2012 : 8:31 p.m.

point of order! "as often" not "anymore"


Wed, Oct 3, 2012 : 7:35 p.m.

Scottvests are the best -- my son has traveled the world in his, and I need one myself. My husband is an avid gun collector/shooter and will appreciate having a new store to peruse. Welcome!


Wed, Oct 3, 2012 : 7:25 p.m.

Delighted to hear it! I'll be by soon.


Wed, Oct 3, 2012 : 7:22 p.m.

Great news. The Ann Arbor area has needed something like this for a long time. MC Sports is a "joke" when it comes to what they carry.


Wed, Oct 3, 2012 : 8:10 p.m.

But when you need a gun quick MC Sports is centrally located.


Wed, Oct 3, 2012 : 7:21 p.m.

Welcome Holli and Bill! Thanks for opening a store that we NEED in this town! I'll be over soon to say hello and introduce myself. Good luck! Everyone else, we should now have a local store with people who actually KNOW what they are talking about, unlike Dunhams..


Wed, Oct 3, 2012 : 7:17 p.m.

Cool. There are some backpacking supplies that are hard to find locally. A shop like this might carry them. It always blows my mind how many people head into the backcountry without a decent survival kit.

Billy Bob Schwartz

Wed, Oct 3, 2012 : 8:27 p.m.

Like the kid in "Into the Wild?" (Book by Jon Krakaueer; film directed by Sean Penn.) I never could understand how he could have come to the conclusion that you just needed to go there and survive. The American Indians who lived there (Alaska) in the olden days had many centuries of family background to draw on. Just going there is not the same. What a tragic story that was. Wherever you are going, and whatever your adventure, for Pete's sake Plan and Prepare.


Wed, Oct 3, 2012 : 7:22 p.m.

you mean an iphone doesnt count? But But it has a compass! LOL!

Just Be Nice

Wed, Oct 3, 2012 : 7:11 p.m.

Best of luck to the Pinons! I will be visiting the store soon.


Wed, Oct 3, 2012 : 7:10 p.m.

Is there an indoor range?


Wed, Oct 3, 2012 : 10:37 p.m.

Asked about the class they're having at the end of this month. Shooting portion at Tri County.


Wed, Oct 3, 2012 : 8:38 p.m.

They mentioned to me that there might be a virtual range installed at some point.


Wed, Oct 3, 2012 : 8:29 p.m.

And my understanding is Mill Creek is indeed where the shooting portions of the classes will be held.


Wed, Oct 3, 2012 : 8:12 p.m.

Mill Creek in Dexter has a indoor range.


Wed, Oct 3, 2012 : 7:49 p.m.

Hopefully they decide to build one in the future


Wed, Oct 3, 2012 : 7:11 p.m.

Unfortunately no


Wed, Oct 3, 2012 : 7:10 p.m.

Huzzah! Thank you can't wait to get over there. I have my eye on a pink set of ear protection for my 7 year old little girl who is just starting out. And yes there is a strong community of gunnies here in Ann Arbor, despite it's "liberal" reputation.


Thu, Oct 4, 2012 : 12:52 a.m.

I'm not a conservative and I believe in gun rights and have served in the military. I resent your representations of 'liberals' as misguided, innaccurate and bigoted. Hope your aim is better than your ideas about Ann Arbor residents.

Homeland Conspiracy

Wed, Oct 3, 2012 : 8:29 p.m.

Aim man


Wed, Oct 3, 2012 : 7:59 p.m.