Corpus Christi and the Coastal Bend of Texas | We Investigate

End of an Era: Smith Guns closing doors after 4+ decades

A family owned business that has served the citizens of Corpus Christi for more than four decades is closing its doors.

Smith’s Guns was opened by Phil Smith in 1977 at the old Padre Staples Mall after a long career as a Navy Aviator. From a tour of duty as a weapons officer aboard USS Intrepid, Smith had a fondness for firearms.

Phil Smith aboard USS Intrepid.

When he retired here in Corpus Christi, he wanted something to keep him busy.

“He didn’t want to sit at home so he just said let’s open a gun shop, and would you help me, and I said sure, and my brother helped,” Tim Smith, Phil’s son, said. “I used to come over and work for him after school and it just took off from there and got bigger and bigger. It was just fun working with my father and my mother and my brother, a family affair… a family business.”

While it was fun, it was also very demanding as the business grew far beyond Smith’s wildest dreams. Tim says he once went seven years without a real vacation.

“At first we were closed on Sundays, the mall was closed on Sundays. But then right after we started, they decided to open on Sundays,” Smith said. “So we worked everyday all day except for Christmas, Thanksgiving and Easter, that was the only 3 days off (every year?) every year.”

About 10 years ago, after 33 years at the mall, the shop was moved to the Village Shopping Center at Doddridge and Alameda. Business was good there, too. But, in the past few years, Smith noticed a decline in traffic through the shop.

“Well, Hurricane Harvey had a little bit to do with it and then the oil field moved out, but I think the biggest reason is the internet,” Smith said. “Everybody’s buying stuff on the internet, you don’t have to pay shipping you don’t have to pay sales tax and it comes right to your house.”

Smith plans to close the doors to the shop at the end of the month. Until then, everything in the store is on sale.

Knives for sale at Smith Guns.

“Anybody looking for deals on knives or Christmas presents, especially knives, I’ve got some guns left and some ammo left, and then I’ve got to sell these 42 year old counters if anybody’s looking for those,” Smith said.

Smith Guns firearms for sale.

Smith said the past 42 years have been a real joy and he has no regrets, but he is not sure what he will do next.

“You know, I’ve always been a talker,a salesman but I don’t know,” Smith said. “I have no idea — I’d… I’d like a job where I have Saturdays and Sundays off and maybe a little insurance, that’d be nice.”

If you want to check out the sale, the shop is located at 3845 S. Alameda St. Smith said he would also love for customers to stop by and say hello before the closing.

KRIS 6 News

KRIS 6 News

The team at KRIS 6 News brings you the latest news, weather, sports and traffic information in Corpus Christi and around the Coastal Bend.
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