Dale Dixon, who with family members recently opened D-C Guns & Sport on Broadway Street in Aurora, talks with Randy Richards, holding and admiring a shotgun, one of many in the shop's inventory of shotguns, rifles and handguns. Photo by John Kubal/Register
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When starting a family business, having a name or names that can be tied to the enterprise is a plus. So it is for D-C Guns & Sport, located on Broadway Street in downtown Aurora.
The up-and-running new shop is owned and operated by Dale Dixon; Cindy Dixon, his wife; Cody Clifford, Dale and Cindy's son-in-law; and Shannon Clifford, Cody's wife and Dale and Cindy's daughter.
The family already owns and operates a successful hometown business: Aurora Auto Body & Glass. So why open a guns and sports shop?
Dale explained, "Guns have been a hobby of mine since I was a kid. I grew up hunting with mom and dad, brothers and sisters. Kids grew up hunting with us. Cody's been a lifelong hunter."
Laughing, Dale added, "I had too many guns in my own collection, so we decided we should do something. It's something we had to try."
For now the D-C inventory includes a large selection of rifles, shotguns, handguns, ammunition and men's and women's outdoor wear for hunting and shooting. Over time the inventory could be expanded to include fishing equipment.
Used guns in demand
"Our main thing is sports shooting," Dale explained. In reference to handguns, he added, "But self-defense is a big part of it, too. I think people have decided they want to protect themselves." A handgun for sport-shooting or self-defense can be purchased for pretty much whatever the buyer can afford and is willing to pay.
"You can start out as low as 160 bucks," Dale said. "There's really no top. Your average gun, $300 to $700 covers an average. But you can get some specialty presentation guns for three, four or five grand."
As for other guns, a used rifle can be had for as low as $120. Dale said that while there were gun shops close to theirs, they did not carry large assortments of used firearms.
"We're going to try to keep a good assortment of used firearms on hand," Dale said. "If people can buy a used one, they will.
"We've been trying to get this put together for over a year. We've been working on the building and trying to build inventory." The family could make a good case for having succeeded quite well on both fronts.
'Log cabin, home feel'
The slightly-below-ground shop that is entered via a descending set of stairs has been completely made over. Rough, wood-paneled walls give the shop's rustic large open area the feel of a hunting lodge. Rifles and shotguns of all makes and models are displayed on the walls; handguns are displayed under glass in a long, antique-looking, wooden display case. The atmosphere is a welcoming one for the outdoorsman.
Over many years in the past, this building has housed businesses that included seven or eight bars, a pool hall, and a pet-grooming parlor.
"We wanted the log cabin, the home feel," Dale explained. "I guess our main thing is that we love to promote family fun. I know if you're not from South Dakota that sounds weird. Kids and guns sounds weird; but in our area there's nothing better to teach them than respect for a firearm. They're not going to get curious and get in trouble with them.
"It's pretty special when kids grow up learning about guns, how you respect them, what you do with them, what you don't do with them. We try to promote that."
Additionally, the owners want to attract some young hunters and target shooters. The shop has guns "for target shooting all the way up to safari rifles."
Bear not bagged near Aurora
Of course, preserved and mounted hunting trophies are appropriate for display in a shop like D-C Guns and Sport. For now the largest trophy is a 5-foot-tall black bear, which was "bagged" by Cindy: how she got it is an occasion for family humor and laughter.
Smiling, she explained, "I bought that at an auction; I got into a bidding war and I wanted it."
Looking to the future with a hint of embellishment, Dale said, "I would like to claim it. Someday, the story may be that, 'Yeah, we shot it south of Aurora.'"
The family's present plan is to keep the shop open 4 to 9 p.m., Monday through Friday. They'll "be open while most people are not working." Weekends, the shop will be open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays and noon to 4 p.m. on Sundays.
"We've had such a nice reception by people," Cindy said. She added, "Our town is very excited to see what this has become. It was a very old, shacky looking building. Now it's one of the nicest buildings on Main."
The family's looking forward to a bright future of business on Broadway; but, at least for now, Dale and Cody aren't quiting their day jobs.
Contact John Kubal at jkubal@brookingsregister.