Local entrepreneur Brendan Dalley shows off his wares: FMJ 9mm ammunition in St. George, Utah on March 22, 2021 | Photo by David Dudley, St. George News
ST. GEORGE – Local entrepreneur Brendan Dalley had what he said was the perfect setup: He and a friend had their own brand of ammunition made, and they sold it in a truck by the side of the road.
Dalley told St. George News they are doing pretty well.
“We were selling between 2,000 and 5,000 cartridges a day,” he said. “Until the city sends a cease and desist letter.”
Dalley said he and a friend came up with the idea a few years ago. They wanted to start their own business, but they didn’t know what type. So they thought about two things.
“We both love golf,” said Dalley, “and we both love guns.”
With that, they decided to build custom putters – and craft hunting gear, including ammo.
“That was before the ammunition shortage,” said Dalley. “Since then, our business has grown steadily.”
The current ammunition shortage was sparked by the national gun conversation, said Dalley, which only became more urgent following two mass shootings in the past week.
“There is an irony,” he says. “Every time Democrats start talking about gun laws, gun sales go up. When gun sales increase, it follows that ammunition sales also increase. “
According to FBI reports, which tracks arms sales to National instant criminal background check system, nearly 40 million firearms were sold in the United States in 2020. In January 2021 alone, more than 4 million firearms were sold, the highest monthly sales since 1998.
“Because of that, a lot of the ammunition shelves were empty,” said Dalley. “It gave the effect of toilet paper. People don’t see ammo on the shelves, so they buy it wherever they can get it. “
Dalley said it wasn’t just the people who joined the militias who were sweeping ammunition off the shelves and in their baskets.
“These are the ones of us who still believe in – and appreciate – the Second Amendment,” he said. “We just want to protect ourselves from criminals and, if we need to, from the government.”
While they started sell their ammunition online, Dalley had another inspiration.
“We saw a guy selling pine nuts one day,” said Dalley. “We thought, ‘We should set ourselves up to sell our ammunition like this guy.’ We took our position wherever we could install it and sell directly to the community. “
This is how the Pew Pew Pine Nuts brand and strategy was born, Dalley said. Although he is currently Vice President of Business Development and Loan Officer at Envision Home Loans, he is also an entrepreneur and professor who taught behavioral communication at Dixie State for 10 years.
So he had a little fun with the marketing copy. The 9mm FMJ (full metal jacket) ammunition box that he showed to St. George News advertises that the bullets inside are “organic” and “farm-to-bedroom” fresh.
“Not all ammunition is created equal,” he said. “These are great for target practice, while our other brand, the X-Truder, is home defense ammunition. It’s a hybrid hollow point, which means the bullet will make a cavity in the wound but then stop, so you don’t get an innocent bystander hit.
When Dalley got his license from the town of St. George, he was excited to connect with people in the gun community. He settled on a dirt court at the intersection of Mall Drive and Dino Crossing. And, says Dalley, they’ve done pretty well.
“The community was there almost immediately, because there is trust between people who love guns,” he said. “There is instant camaraderie. And if they know you have ammo, they’ll come back.
However, it wasn’t long before Dalley got into trouble. First, it was about the business owners in the area, said Dalley.
“I’ve received feedback from the community that these business owners are upset,” said Dalley. “They were insulting us, but I don’t understand why.”
Dalley said that when a first-time gun buyer looks for a new weapon, that person also expects to purchase ammunition.
“Because some stores in town were running out of ammunition, they couldn’t sell their guns,” Dalley said. “But if these future gun owners could get us ammunition, then they could go to the store to buy their gun. I actually help businesses in the region. “
Next, Dalley said he received a call from a police officer who learned of growing complaints against his roadside ammunition sales business.
“He said I should know about the complaints,” said Dalley, “and then we talked about guns for a few minutes. He said I was not in trouble.
But about three weeks later, the City of St. George’s cease and desist letter arrived in the mail.
“The letter said I had violated an order,” said Dalley. “I thought, ‘Okay, great. But why wasn’t I told this when I applied for my business license? “
When St. George News contacted the city of St. George, David Cordero, the city’s director of communications and marketing, said Dalley’s license was still valid and in good standing.
“The license allows you to do business online, sell to wholesale retailers and trade shows,” Cordero told St. George News. “The cease and desist letter concerned his street sale, which is not allowed. “
Dalley said St. George was not friendly to small business. He also feels he has been unfairly targeted because of complaints from business owners. Still, he tries to stay positive and keep moving forward.
“I just want to find a way to be compliant,” he said. “If I can’t sell here, I’ll check Washington City and Hurricane. It’s really about building community and creating prosperity. “
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