"Gun enthusiasts have a new place to shop in Colby, the Colby Country Trader, located at the intersection of Court and Fourth in the building that used to house CrossFit.

The store opened its doors April 14, and owner Lance Bolyard said he believes the business will draw people to this "progressive" community.

Bolyard grew up south of Bird City, but he has called Colby home since 2005. He serves on the city council and is a volunteer firefighter.

"The community builds the company," he said, adding that he plans to expand his store's offerings to meet his customer's needs.

And Bolyard has the connections and experience to meet these needs, he said, combining his store's inventory and buying power with the Country Trader location in Bird City, owned by his father, Vertie Bolyard, who opened that store in 1960. Using their connections, the two owners can help their customers track down hard-to-find guns.

Colby's store carries new guns but also sells used guns, adding a sense of history and nostalgia for customers. They may see something their grandpa used to shoot or something they remember using as a youngster, said Bolyard. He likes providing that sense of history for people, as well as helping them find rare and limited edition items, some of which he carries in the store.

Inventory is always changing, he said, so something a customer sees in the store today may not be here next week or something new might be in its place. The store also makes custom leather holsters, molding them to fit the gun and meet the gun owner's carrying needs.

Ammunition supplies are still tight, he said, so the store limits ammunition purchases to three boxes per customer per day. He wants the store to do its part to help supply chains even out so ammunition can become more available for folks who want to shoot their guns, he said. Some ammunition he saves for guns he has in stock so that people who buy a gun in his store can also get the ammunition to shoot that new weapon.

Bolyard, who carries his own handgun in a holster on his belt, believes in helping youngsters learn to respect firearms and teaching people to be responsible with their guns.

He plans to have a two-lane firing range inside the store within the next year. The area is already stubbed in for the range but will have to clear some regulatory and insurance hurdles before it opens. Bolyard said he will hire an instructor and full-time employee for the range, which is intended to help owners of small arms become more familiar with their weapons.

The store at 280 E Fourth St in Colby is open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday; 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday; and 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday. Customers can contact the store at 785-460-0476 or colbygunshop@st-tel.net."

© 2014 Colby Free Press