Manola Gunn, the long-time mom-and-pop gun shop owner, will be retiring after 23 years in the business on Saturday.
She came into the gun shop business kicking and screaming, but no one would know that now decades later. The “family gun shop” has been a Hobbs staple for years, and Gunn hopes that will continue.
Gunn is retiring from the gun business and selling the shop to longtime customer William Wood.
“It’s just time,” Gunn explained. “We’re not spring chickens anymore. It was just time, time to sell.”
As a child, Wood’s father would bring him into the store. Now he’s ready to own his own gun store.
“His dad was one of my very best friends,” Gunn said of Wood. “He was a fixture in the gun store since it opened. There were a lot of people that showed interest in the shop and I just didn’t entertain that idea, until William approached me about it. It just seemed right. It seemed right because of his dad, of history.”
Although Wood’s father passed, he still visited Gunn’s Guns. All the fond memories in the gun shop, Wood wants to keep it running the same. Gunn said Wood will bring some added knowledge of guns and hunting.
“(I plan) to keep the family atmosphere and keep the friendly store,” Wood said. “I know guns, I know the calibers.”
Gunn’s Guns has been a staple in the Hobbs community since 1997 and Gunn is one of the few female gun shop owners in New Mexico. Gunn explained when the shop first opened, she knew nothing about guns and didn’t want to open the shop. It was her previous husband’s dream, but Wood’s father, a gun enthusiast, taught her how to trade for guns.
“I had a lot of fun,” Gunn said. “The first few years were really hard. I look back and think how did I do it. Then it got to be fun, and I made so many friends. We had so much laughter in the store.”
The store was always a place where people could come, people could talk while sitting in a rocking chair in the back of the store and regulars have formed over the years, like Wood.
“Some of them used to come in with their mom and dads when they were little, and still shop here,” Gunn said. “We have all ages that come in here, but they like the atmosphere and it’s just a hometown gun shop.”
Something Wood will change is the name of the shop. The Gun Shack will be the official name starting January 2021. Wood explained hunting is an important aspect in his family and his son is even a hunting guide.
WIth their new free time, Gunn looks forward to working on renovating parts of her home and her partner Robert Coy wants to do some fishing.
Gunn looks back at her time at the gunshop with laughter and appreciated the community’s support through the years.
“I felt that they always have (supported Gunn’s Guns),” Gunn said. “I have enjoyed every minute of it. It has been a trip.”