Selection, Quality, Price and Delivery - all covered masterfully by Boyds'.
By STAN PIECHA.
Gun Trade World - Covering the Shooting Business Globally - January 2011
Quality, Selection, Delivery, Price - all covered masterfully by Boyds'.
A naive business deal, a sudden family illness and spending his honeymoon visiting a rifle factory have all played a huge role in helping Randy Boyd become head of one of the world's largest wooden gunstock manufacturers.
From struggling to making one unfinished gunstock a DAY Randy's company - Boyds' Gunstock Industries Inc - now ships out hundreds of thousands of stocks and forends each year from their modern 50,000 sq ft factory in Mitchell, South Dakota. Boyds' is able to make stocks for every major American gun manufacturer and proudly boast the different makes and models they manufacture run to almost 2,000 - a figure which can be increased by cross referencing various - parts.
The path Randy took to becoming the leading stock maker on earth is as eccentric as some of the eye opening stock designs his team of skilled craftsmen produce.
Randy is from a weapons background because his father was a gunsmith in the small town of Geddes - population 280 - and just 70 miles from his current headquarters but had no real intention of carrying on the family trade until he was duped into exchanging his old Plymouth car for a pair of battered military Mausers.
Randy told GTW: "There's no doubt the guy took advantage of me and my father was certainly none too pleased. I decided to restore the guns and ended up selling them back to the guy for a profit. That really kick started my interest in the gun trade."
In 1981 he could be seen going door to door to local gun shops soliciting stock repair and checkering work but two years later his father suffered a massive heart attack forcing Randy to move back home and become more hands on in the family gunsmithing repair shop.
He recalled: "The shop was located in an old grain storage building. I will never forget my first day because it was ten below zero and the only source of heat came from an old wood burning stove. Initially I did things such as blueing, rifle building and gun repairs but it wasn't enough to support the family so I bought a two spindle duplicating machine and began making custom gunstocks as a side-line, although I was lucky to produce one unfinished stock a day."
But the real turning point to fame and fortune came in 1986 when Randy and his new bride Sheila decided to combine pleasure with business by travelling to Oregon for their honeymoon. The destination was chosen because Randy had been in talks with rifle makers Chipmunk Arms.
Randy, who will this year make his 23rd appearance at SHOT, adds: "They were interested in buying 100 stocks a week but there was no way we could handle that. But they had three higher volume stock machines which they had obtained from Winchester and were not using. It didn't look like they had ever been turned on and although I had no idea of how to operate the machines I agreed to buy them.
"From the start I had been mentored by my father but I had to teach myself how to make the stocks. It was a hard process and I was often working 18 hours days but gradually the stock manufacturing side of the business over took the gunsmithing."
It wasn't long before Randy was forced to take on top craftsmen who could not only help meet the orders but also produce the quality needed as the company quickly evolved from custom work to producing stocks for the gun makers themselves. The business invested in a multitude of machines - including the latest CNC equipment -and by 1997 when rival stock makers EC Bishop and Reinhart Fajen closed their doors Boyds' found themselves at the very top...
However, what really blasted them to the giddy heights they now find themselves in was the decision to become the first company to make eccentric shaped stocks in high numbers. It was a move most people in the industry - still seeped in tradition - sneered at. In fact some even thought it would be the company's downfall - probably the ones who now follow what they do.
Randy revealed: "There is no question we are instrumental in the eccentric shaped gunstocks available in today's market. Most people I spoke to warned me they would never take off but I think I have proved them wrong. The shapes we produce do not just have to look cool, though - it is vital they are totally functional and improve the performance of a weapon.
"We have our own designs but also take on board any that customers request. It means we are continually adding to our list of designs but we will only do so if it is functional. There are some designs we have never released because we just don't believe in them. Our workforce is highly trained and well aware that the smallest detail can make the difference between a good stock and a bad one."
The four most important words which echo around the Boyds' factory are selection, quality, price and delivery. The latter is one they have worked extremely hard on after suffering a few teething problems when they first embarked big time on the retail market. While they used to struggle producing lower volumes along with all the different makes and models Boyds' now say they have 90 per cent of their products on the shelves or can deliver within ten days. Their ultimate goal is to have ALL their products available for same day shipping!
Randy said: "Price is also a major area where we score. My father always told me that if you make a quality product and sell it at an affordable price you'll always stay busy. It's critically important to us to offer customers a fair price and that means continually improving on what we do. We are proud of the fact that we are selling finished gunstocks today cheaper than other stock makers were in 1982."
Boyds' cheapest stocks retail for a mere $30 and are made from white birch or maple. The customer is given detailed instructions on how to sand it down before applying Tru oil or a polyurethane satin to give it the perfect finish. And the most expensive will only set you back $100.
They are all made from hardwoods - birch, maple and American walnut or birch laminates which can give customers such exotic colour combinations as Applejack, red and black or Royal, violet and black. But whatever you do don't mention synthetic stocks.
Randy says: "Makers of plastic stocks are our main competitors but as far as I am concerned there is nothing that beats wood. In the past some wooden stocks may have warped but that's no longer the case. The technology we apply when drying, machining and finishing wood means we can make stocks which not only feel better but are more durable and stable than most synthetic stocks."
Boyds' goes into 2013 preparing to toast 32 years in the gun trade while confidently predicting their business is set to grow and grow thanks to their 'stock' motto: 'Quality, Selection, Delivery and Price.'GTW
|Boyds' Gunstock Industries, Inc.
25376 403 rd Ave.
Mitchell, SD 57301