Gun shop bucks
By Megg Crook/ Staff Writer
Thursday, July 27, 2006 - Updated: 02:02 PM
in the back of a large office building, with the police station as
their neighbors, is Four Seasons Firearms. Filled with every type of
gun and accessory imaginable, the store possesses a welcome and
friendly atmosphere when gun connoisseurs can get together and
discuss all aspects of the sport they enjoy.
Four Seasons originally opened in 1989 and was owned by the
Fishlin family, long-time Woburn residents. Rather than give the
store up when he became ill, they sold it to Carl Ingrao, a family
friend. Ingrao, who has been working in the gun industry since 1975,
so it was an easy transition for him to take over.
It has not been a struggle for Ingrao to stay in business,
but he said other firearms stores around Massachusetts are giving up
and slowly going out of business.
"Massachusetts has the toughest gun laws in the country,"
Ingrao said. "There were more stores, but as laws got tougher, they
went out of business."
It is a complicated process to purchase a handgun, with many
checks along the way, Ingrao said. There are four main steps. The
first is to fill out a federal form that requires everything from
your address and whether you have committed a crime to your height
and weight. Ingrao is required to keep this record on file, just in
Next, Ingrao calls the FBI for an instant background check.
If that comes up clear, he will enter the customer in the
Massachusetts Instant Record Check System. This system, which has
only been in place since the end of 2004, was originally tested out
in Four Seasons Firearms. Eventually, all firearm stores in
Massachusetts will have it.
The system requires verification with a fingerprint, which
helps to determine if a customer is clear to buy the gun, and also
to make sure their license to carry a gun is valid. After that,
Ingrao gives the purchaser gun literature.
The fines for not obeying are severe, Ingrao said, but not a
hardship on his business.
"They tell us the rules and we follow them," Ingrao said
While the gun industry may seem like a formidable place to
be, Four Season Firearms is anything but. Ingrao makes a point of
knowing and greeting customers by name. The atmosphere of the store
is relaxed and laid back, and Ingrao said he knows this is what has
kept him so successful.
"It’s a tight-knit fraternity, people with the same interest
talking about the guns," Ingrao said. People may come in to chat
with each other, he added, talking about the products, or
There is something else that sets Four Season Firearms apart from
other gun stores, and that is a dog named Holly.
"She’s been coming since she was a pup, and people started to
really like the dog," Ingrao said. He began to have "Holly
specials," and even put her picture up on the Web site.
"She’s kind of like the mascot of the store," Ingrao
explained. "She comes to greet new customers, and it kind of breaks
Ingrao said a common misperception is that gun stores are for
men. Many women come in for various reasons to buy a gun for
themselves, whether for self-defense or target practice. There are
so many different aspects of shooting: target, protection, hunting,
collection or competition, to name a few. When a new customer comes
in, it’s Ingrao’s job to determine what they want a gun for, and
which one would be most appropriate for their needs.
Gun shop bucks trend
Ingrao’s customers travel from all over the North and South
shores, he said, as far as Danvers, Gloucester, Mansfield
"It all comes down to one thing," he said. "We treat
customers like we would want to be treated ourselves. We
treat them all with respect."
Four Season Firearms can be reached at 76R Winn St.,
Woburn; 781-932-3133; or www.fsguns.com.