Niles gun store closes after 30 years

Published 1:19pm Tuesday, June 4, 2013

After being in business for nearly 30 years, Farr and Sons’ Sporting Goods in Niles closed its doors last week.

Robert Farr, owner of Farr and Sons Sporting Goods in Niles, closed up shop May 29 after nearly 30 years. Leader photo/CRAIG HAUPERT
Robert Farr, owner of Farr and Sons Sporting Goods in Niles, closed up shop May 29 after nearly 30 years. Leader photo/CRAIG HAUPERT

Owner Robert Farr, 74, said the decision to close May 29 was not influenced by economic factors. In fact, Farr said he sold more handguns this year than at any time during the past 30 years.

“My wife (Agnes) and I want to travel and do other things,” Farr said. “We never had the time to do anything else other than run the shop around here.

“I’ve got a lot of ‘honey-do’ projects around the house here. I’ll stay busy.”

Farr opened the business in the spring of 1984 at 1302 Airport Road after retiring from the Niles Township Police Department.

Although most of Farr and Son’s business came from gunsmithing, Farr said they did well in sales and service of various guns and ammunition.

Farr said he’s been gunsmithing for 56 years. He built his first gun — a .22 — when he was 12 years old.

Farr said his father, a mechanical and electrical engineer, liked seeing his kids doing things rather than sitting around the house.

“I was never a sitter anyhow,” Farr said. “Back then, we didn’t have a TV so you found stuff to do and that was one thing I loved to do.”

Farr said he had steady business throughout his 30 years in Niles, despite doing little advertising.

“Word of mouth is the best advertising,” he said. “If you treat people right, do right by them and be honest with them, then the word gets around.”

Farr always guaranteed his work and backed it up if something went wrong.

“If we repaired one of your guns — your fault, my fault — we repaired it for no extra charge,” he said. “There aren’t many places that do that now. They find something you did or whatever and then they don’t have to guarantee it. That’s not right.”

In March, Farr and Sons was robbed of around $8,000 in guns and merchandise. Farr said the robbery played a small role in his decision to retire.

Farr’s son, Stephen, who helped run the shop, has taken a job with the railroad, Farr said.

Farr thanked the community and his customers for their support over the years.

“I’m going to miss most my customers,” he said. “I really enjoyed talking to people and, you know, sometimes we do more talking here than we do work. I enjoy my customers and they know I care for them and I do my best.”

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