Scott Helmer is not afraid to pull the trigger when it comes to change.
From a dairy farmer in South Dakota to now a gun shop owner in Payson, Helmer’s choice of businesses is as varied as the collection of new and used guns he carries.
Earlier this summer, Helmer sold off his last dairy cow in favor of a new “Pink Lady,” a Charter Arms .38 Special revolver that is.
Helmer opened Rim Country Guns, at 513 S. Beeline Highway, earlier this month and is already seeing a tremendous response from the community.
“Everyone in Arizona loves guns it seems,” he said. “The used guns especially are selling really good.”
Although new to the gun business, Helmer said he has always had an interest in firearms.
This took a backseat, however, when he decided to buy his own dairy farm several years ago.
Growing up in an agricultural family, with his father a cattle rancher, it wasn’t a total stretch, however, Helmer admits he had never milked a cow a day in his life.
With his wife’s approval, Helmer bought a small farm and built it up.
They sold this farm off after maxing it out in size and moved their herd 400 miles to eastern South Dakota where they expanded to a 4,500-acre dairy farm with another local farmer.
“My wife played a huge role in helping with the dairies. In fact, she went to artificial insemination school and taught me to breed,” Helmer said.
Five years later, everything came to a screeching halt when the economy took a hit and the dairy business went sour.
Helmer sold off his share of the business and wondered what he would do next. After working in mining, logging, cement and overseeing 40 employees at the dairy farm, Helmer had spent a lot of time away from his family over the years. Helmer knew he wanted something that let him spend more time with his two sons and wife Tammy.
“So I thought about doing a gun shop,” he said. “We decided we wanted to go somewhere warm.”
A few mouse clicks on the computer led Tammy to Payson.
The family visited in February and a month later, Helmer returned to put an offer down on a home.
The charm of Payson captured Helmer and his family almost immediately. From the beautiful surrounding landscape to the friendly residents, Helmer said he never “dreamed Arizona had all this.”
On June 15, Helmer bought the building for the gun shop, the former Democratic headquarters.
You won’t find any mention of President Obama in the store today or archery for that matter — Helmer is strictly into selling guns.
And he knows to compete with online retailers and several other local shops, he has to price his guns right.
So far, Helmer is doing something right, with a steady stream of customers since opening.
The shop carries a 50/50 mix of new and used firearms and a wide selection of ammunition.
Prices range from $150 up to $3,000.
Rim Country Guns is open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. Helmer is closed Sunday and Monday. For more information, call (928) 474-8000.