EDMOND — After failing to turn a profit for the past five years, owner Barry Bryant decided to close the doors of Heartland Outdoors on Dec. 31.
The gun and archery retailer at 1444 N Kelly never was able to become economically viable and Bryant personally had subsidized the business since it opened in 2009.
But Bryant has a message for his customers.
“Don't feel sorry for me because the store is closing — because I am very blessed,” he said.
An avid outdoorsman, Bryant started Heartland as a second business. He also owns the successful oil field services company and tool manufacturer Magnum Drilling Services, based near Houston.
Although Heartland has closed, Bryant is giving customers items they had placed on layaway and waiving the outstanding balance.
“I don't really have an answer for why I'm doing that,” Bryant said. “That's just my character — I'm a Christian man.”
Heartland is giving refunds for all of its customers who had gun club memberships. The store also is redeeming gift cards for merchandise at the store by appointment until Jan. 15. Workers at the store Monday were busy dealing with high volumes of phone calls from customers with questions, Bryant said.
All of the remaining merchandise from the store — including more than 700 firearms — will be auctioned off via PowerPoint presentation at Dakil Auctioneers, 200 NW 114 on Jan. 24-25.
Auctioneer Louis Dakil thinks the event could be the largest new gun, ammunition and archery auction ever to be held in Oklahoma.
“I've been in the auction business for more than 30 years and I've never seen anything like this,” he said. “There is surely over a million dollars in inventory.”
Items to be auctioned include a 14-station gun range system that is worth about $1.5 million, Dakil said. The store's fixtures and furnishings also are to be sold to the highest bidder.
Editor's note: An earlier version of this story misstated the date that Barry Bryant decided to close Heartland Outdoors as Jan. 31. Heartland Outdoors in fact closed on Dec. 31.
Don't feel sorry for me because the store is closing — because I am very blessed.”
Heartland Outdoors owner