The most anticipated event in Australia firearm retailing happens this weekend, when Abela’s Sydney Superstore officially opens in Campbelltown, NSW.
The doors have been open for a few weeks already, but this Saturday’s opening sale will add the fanfare and fizz now that David Abela and his staff have got almost everything sorted out and settled in to the huge 1200 square metre shop.
“The response so far has been outstanding,” David says. “Customers walking in the door have been wowed by the size of the store, plus to actually see so much stock on display is fabulous.”
The last major task David had to overcome was getting firearms into the freshly built shop, after approval of his dealer’s licence lagged behind the rest of the project, but guns and ammo have been rolling in and more is on the way.
“The great wall of firearms is shaping up nicely,” he says, adding that the red tape of setting up a gun shop these days was a real headache.
“But the thrill and challenge of opening and running the now largest store in Australia, with a whole new concept of retailing in this trade, far outweighs the red tape,” he says.
“I thought long and hard on where to put my superstore and have had years of experience and have travelled the world collecting ideas – good and bad – on how to set up a real gun shop. I think I have nailed it!
“Joe Amoroso, our store manager, is taking his position with passion and I am very pleased with the results so far.”
David said there were a few lighter moments during the months of establishing the shop – as you might expect when that included ‘flying’ a helicopter in!
He laughs when he remembers asking his wife to come for a drive to buy the helicopter, “and the massive job to get it ready and sitting it up on a 3.5m stand in the middle of the shop – now that was a great effort and a few late nights!”
What you’ll see on Saturday is still not quite the finished superstore, though, with a café planned for early next year and what David’s calling the High Grade room.
“It will house some of the finer firearms that are not usually seen in gunshops, a little like a gun library seen in the US and Europe,” David explains.
Abela’s Campbelltown Superstore employs 14 people, and one of David’s main goals has been to ensure they offer excellent customer service.
Like all large shops, Abela’s will be able to keep prices down, but David is putting on extra discounts for the opening. Santa is going to be there for the kids, too, and two firearms will be given away, a Howa 1500 and a Webley & Scott Model 900 12ga sporter.
“I invite everyone – shooters, hunters, archers and outdoor people – to come and see an amazing store unlike any other, even just to say hello and see what we have to offer,” David says. “I am sure you will find it hard to leave without a huge smile on your face.”
David’s next ambition is to open a third superstore, this time in Brisbane, but all he’ll say on that score is stay tuned while he ensures the Campbelltown shop is performing the way he wants it to.
Abela’s Sydney Superstore opening
When: Saturday, 24 November, from 8am to 5pm
Where: 13 Watsford Rd, Campbelltown, NSW
Parking available, and it’s a few hundred metres from buses and the railway station
More info: (02) 4626 3222, www.abelasgunshop.com.au