John Herlitz is the owner of Carroll’s Guns Shop where, since October 2019, he has been serving the fine people of Wharton, Texas guns, and ammunition. To be clear, Carroll’s has been an institution in the town of Wharton since John Carroll opened it in 1960.
After serving Carroll as a sales rep for 20 plus years, Herlitz got the chance of a lifetime to take over the shop in 2019 and he didn’t pass.
We caught up with Herlitz to talk about what makes Carroll’s special, how Guns.com helps move inventory, and why Texans love guns.
Guns.com: What makes Carroll’s Gun Shop unique?
Herlitz: Well, 60 years of business in Wharton County. We have over 1,200 guns and a huge used gun department and we handle everything from police supplies to hunting stuff. We have probably a thousand knives in stock at any given moment. We have everything firearms-wise. We just sold a serial number one Gatling gun for $48,000 through Guns.com in May. We probably have close to 75 WWI/WWII era 1911s. Everything from carried-issued Colt 1911s to some A1s to Union Switch & Signal. Just sold a 1912 U.S. Navy-marked gun that was untouched.
Guns.com: You recently sold a Gatling gun through Guns.com, what made you buy that?
Herlitz: It was actually on consignment. It was really cool, it worked like it’s supposed to. I put it up on Guns.com, then one of your writers did an article about it in February. In April a gentleman, who’s a collector of U.S. field artillery pieces, read the article and decided that he wanted to own it. I mean, it’s exactly out of the manual on how that’s supposed to work.
Guns.com: So great. What would your customers say they love about working with you guys?
Herlitz: Our customer service, our knowledge, and our selection. We’ll try to special order just about anything if we don’t have what they need. So we have a great collection. In the store, I have a combined 100 years of experience with Carroll’s. I have two employees that have been here since the mid-seventies. A couple of other guys’ve been here between 7 and 10 years. Couple that with my 20 plus years just in firearms experience, and we’re 125, 130 years of gun industry experience, and I only have five employees.
Guns.com: Wow, that’s incredible! What do you like about working with Guns.com?
Herlitz: It’s just everything. We touch so many more people than we do just with our doors. And then we’re on a main artery between Houston and South Texas, so between Houston and Mexico. So, every single day, a half dozen or more people walk in that say, “Well, I just was driving by and never been here before” or “I’ve been driving by for years and I just never had time to stop” or something like that. With Guns.com I can touch just so many more people and 24/7. When the sale is made, for the one flat commission rate that I pay Guns.com, they handle the payment, absorb the credit card fee, and chase the FFL — which is probably the biggest pain in the butt of all internet sales. Then they email me the FFL and the shipping label. I just slap it on the box and go, and I’m done. It can’t get any easier.
Guns.com: The guns that you sell through Guns.com, do you find that you sell a lot local, or are they going all over the country?
Herlitz: They’re going all over the country. Every once in a while, we ship one 20 miles; but usually, it’s all over the country.
Guns.com: Do you feel like people who live around you like shopping local more than shopping online?
Herlitz: I think so. I say that because I don’t get a lot of requests to receive guns that they’re buying online. Typically, it’s when somebody, and usually a regular customer, has found some used gun online or some rare new gun online that I can’t get or haven’t been able to get. They usually try to buy from us first.
Guns.com: All right. Last question for you here. And it’s a little bit more abstract, I thought I’d end with a fun one. Why do you think Texans love guns so much?
Herlitz: The Alamo.
Guns.com: Nice. That’s a good answer. I haven’t heard that one.
Herlitz: I mean, it’s in our DNA.
See all the guns that Carroll’s has to offer through Guns.com by checking out their unique page.