A Fast 30 Years!
To say things were financially tight would be understating the obvious! I worked full-time as a cop, plus two part-time jobs, and there was Kristi’s job and we still were barely getting by. We had clothes and food and paid all the bills, but it was a challenge. We were eating on around $20 a week, and thank goodness Kristi’s folks supplied our beef from their farm. We were tired, broke and wondering what to do,” said Jeff Hoffman, President of Black Hills Ammunition. “In 1982, we had an opportunity to buy into Black Hills Shooter’s Supply and Kristi said, ‘Let’s go for it.’ We borrowed $12,000 and bought into the new company. The company did relatively well not only loading and selling ammunition, but also selling reloading components. In 1988 we parted ways, separating Black Hills Ammunition from Black Hills Shooters Supply, and Kristi and I took Black Hills Ammo ourselves. I laugh now, but then I thought the money was in selling loaded ammo, but really it was in the components. The ammo part of the business wasn’t making money and we nearly went broke!
“That first year we were pretty stupid about how we had structured the corporate separation and had a hard time with cash flow, and virtually no profits. Then one night, I was working late, and got a phone call.”
“You probably don’t remember me, but you sent me some sample ammo and I want to place an order,” the voice said. Jeff said he grabbed his order pad. The caller was the ammo buyer for a major police department. “I want to order 700,000 rounds of 9mm ammo and I need it now.”
Jeff’s heart stopped.
“Um … I can’t make ’em that fast,” said Jeff slowly. “It’d take me a while to get you that entire order.” Jeff wanted the sale, but was also terrified of getting it!
“I don’t care,” said the gruff voice on the phone. “I’m ordering them, going to send you the money, and you’re going to make ’em for me.”
“But it will take time; I can’t just take your money up-front like that. That’s a lot of trust from you,” explained Jeff. He needed the cash, but didn’t know how to handle this situation. He was sort of marking time — trying to think.
“No son, there’s no trust at all,” the voice explained carefully. “If you mess this order up, I will personally come over there and break your legs.”
“Um … er … yes sir,” said Jeff. That answered that. “I promise I’ll get the ammo delivered as fast as humanly possible … and I appreciate what you’re doing for us.”
And, as Jeff explained, “That solved our temporary cash flow problem.”
Story By Roy Huntington
Photos Courtesy By Black Hills Ammo
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