- FORT THOMPSON: Ample weaponry.
I was a bit disappointed to discover that Don's Weaponry, a runner-up in the best gun shop category, did not take top prize. Though I've never been to the store, I appreciate how the name confidently states its purpose — it has the refreshing honesty to say, ‘Hi, I'm Don, and I'm here to sell you stuff that will help you kill things.' But then I went into Fort Thompson and discovered why gun lovers — at least those among Arkansas Times readers — have made it their retailer of choice. If you want to buy a gun or hunting gear, I can't imagine a much better place to do it than in the comfy wood-paneled confines of the Sherwood store.
Fort Thompson has been in its current location, a former tractor supply building at 5802 Warden Road, since a 2006 move from Broadway in North Little Rock. (One of the reasons for the move was that the old neighborhood had become unsafe.) Tom Denniston, who has converted Fort Thompson from a general store to a hunter's haven since he bought it in 1985, said business has almost doubled after relocation to an area thriving with commercial activity. Plus, the new store is huge — there's plenty of room for clothing and hunting gear as well as bows and firearms. Denniston even has room to display his collection of stuffed animals, which includes an alligator, a bear and numerous buck heads.
But weapons are what this category's all about, and Fort Thompson has plenty. In addition to myriad hunting rifles, there are also pistols and semi-automatic shoulder weapons. (The proper in-house nomenclature for the latter is “black guns” or “tactical weapons,” not assault rifles.) Sidearms have been a particular draw — Fort Thompson tripled its pistol line after moving, and sales have shot up as of late, one employee said, because people are nervous that the next president will restrict their ability to buy a gun. Get ‘em while the gettin's good, folks.