Middlefield: Outdoor stores are rationing ammo

6:45 PM, Mar 5, 2013   |    comments
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MIDDLEFIELD -- If bullets are what you're buying, don't expect it to be easy.

"You can't find them. This is the only place that we checked that had them," said Phil Ferro.

"I called in advance and it's kind of a day-to-day thing. I'm just coming out here daily and calling daily to see if they have it in," said Lisa Locanti.

Great Lakes Outdoor Supply is trying to keep the shelves stocked and customers happy at their three Geauga County stores. Bound by a shrinking supply, the local chain is rationing the ammo.

Some rounds, like .22 caliber, .223, .556 and 9 mm, are limited to one box per customer per day. Other rounds, like those for semiautomatic rifles, are limited to three boxes per day.

"People are at a point of hoarding. They're just trying to buy everything that they possibly can buy," said Ralph Spidalieri, who owns Great Lakes Outdoor Supply.

While small retailers are feeling the pain and pressure, buyers say it's a supply issue across the board as people stock up before the laws could change.

"Walmarts, Gander Mountain, Kmart, there're all sold out," said Richard Anfante.

"All we do is target shoot. We just want to have some fun with them, that's all," said Ferro.

Ferro and his buddies drove from Niles, to buy the allowed one box each. And as the laws of supply and demand say, they've noticed the prices are up too.

"A year ago we bought them for $15 for 525 rounds, now we're paying $27 for 400 rounds," said Carmen Brunelli.

"The prices are starting to go just where we never thought that they would be for just simple .22 ammo that you would buy for 99 cents a box, those days seem to be over with," said Spidalieri.

Manufacturers have raised prices from five to 20 percent, he says. He's even had to pre-purchase some items, like high-capacity magazines, before they were produced.

Spidalieri, also a Geauga County Commissioner, says that while Washington contemplates gun control, people are making their purchases.

Every day he sees dozens of new gun owners, booked concealed carry classes, and enthusiasts aware of the effects politics could play on their hobby.

"It's great when it comes to making deposits in the bank. But when it comes down to what we really got into this business for, we never really got into the business for this kind of chaos," said Spidalieri. "It makes it really tough for us to be able to service our customers."

"If things change, you might not get them at all," said Ferro.


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