August 20, 2007

Habisch Outdoors to have grand opening Saturday

By Linda Scherer
Staff Writer

The large rattlesnake in the glass display case is not alive at Habisch Outdoors, but if you don’t like snakes, it can still be a heart-stopper.

The huge buffalo head, deer, wild turkey and antelopes hanging on the wall, plus the lynx resting on a shelf are real attention-getters, too.

The wildlife is just one of the attractions drawing avid hunters to Habisch Outdoors, just south of Winsted – a business that has grown from the firearms repair business once known as Frank’s Gun Repair that started in Frank Habisch’s garage in 1995.

Because Habisch Outdoors has expanded its business, it is planning an open house Saturday, Aug. 25 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. to show off its new building and merchandise.

Besides gun repair, the business offers gun cleaning, certified gunsmithing, some custom work, hunting and fishing licenses, hunting supplies and accessories, trading and selling guns on consignment, and even wildlife prints.

“We are catering a lot to the hunters and shooters. The difference between us and some of the big places is service. It is hard to compete price-wise, but not service-wise,” Habisch said.

Future plans for Habisch Outdoors is to add fishing supplies and archery equipment.

“This fall we would like to work on some live bait tanks that offer minnows and live bait. We have some work to do there. Hopefully, we get some decent freezing weather this winter and we will be ready for ice fishing,” Habisch said.

Another hunting line that Habisch is working toward is archery.

“We have setup bows and helped people get started, but Habisch Outdoors is not set up for archery yet. We will want to be able to do that in the future,” Habisch said.

Habisch, a 1976 Holy Trinity graduate, is married to Debra and they have three children: Blake, who lives in Winsted; Alicia, married to Rick Heimerl, lives in Lester Prairie with their three preschool children, Paige, Brooke, and Jessa; and their youngest daughter, Jessie, who recently graduated from Lester Prairie High School.

Frank has always liked hunting and fishing. He started the gun repair business as part of his hunting and fishing hobby.

“When the kids were younger and I didn’t have a lot of money to buy good guns, I would buy used stuff and fix it up,” Frank said.

After he decided that fixing guns would be something he would like to do when he retired, and that he did not know as much as he thought he should about them, he went to Pine City Technical College and got a two-year degree in gunsmithing technology.

Frank and Blake, who are both certified gunsmiths, have been working toward expanding the business. They began working on the new building more than a year ago.

Besides weekend help from friends from Ram Buildings, and hiring contractors for the wiring and flooring, Frank and Blake have been doing most of the labor themselves.

There is still lots of work to complete before the open house this weekend, but all of their plans seem to be falling into place as the business continues to grow.

Blake, who is currently working for Ram Buildings, in Winsted, has been helping his dad since he was about 14 years old. He also attended Pine City Technical College for a degree in gunsmithing.

“I have been around guns my whole life and I like hunting and anything that has to do with the outdoors,” Blake said. “It all ties in with this business. When I went to school, the plan was to eventually get the business to support all of us.”

“All of us,” includes Frank’s daughter, Jessie. She plans to attend college in Hutchinson for a degree in business and marketing.

Jessie, who wants to run the store, is just exactly what Frank has been looking for.

“I am excited to get someone to work the store. Then I can just do the gunsmithing. I like to get my hands dirty; not the paperwork part of it,” Frank said.

With the open house, the family is hoping to get the word out around town about Habisch Outdoors’ location and what the business offers.

“There is always merchandise coming in new, and young kids coming up that will need something,” Frank said.

“Basically, the business has just been word of mouth, but now we will start doing a lot more advertising. We want to start branching out.”

Habisch Outdoors is open Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

For questions about Habisch Outdoors, call (320) 485-4867.

A grand opening at Habisch Outdoors

Habisch Outdoors gunsmithing & outfitting is located at 21948 Babcock Avenue, one mile south of Winsted on McLeod County Road 1.

Habisch Outdoors welcomes patrons to stop by its open house Saturday, Aug. 25 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Food and drink will be provided by Ram Buildings, Inc.

Register to win a Mossberg 835 12-gauge shotgun. Registration is free, subject to background check and must be at least 18 years or older.

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