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Years of loyalty trigger milestone for Rich's Gun Shop

by: LINDSAY KEEFER - Lee Richeson took over the family business when his father died in 1987. Now, he's celebrating 50 years in business, 13 of which have been in Donald.Rich’s Gun Shop in Donald is celebrating 50 years in business with a block party Sept. 21.

Family-friendly activities and specialty vendors will be on hand, as will Michael Berry, 1190 KEX radio talk show host, for a meet and greet. Among the activities at the event, lasting from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., will be carnival games, giveaways and even a fastest shooter competition with wax bullets.

Open since 1963, Rich’s Gun Shop has been focused on customers and providing them with a “knowledge” first attitude before the sale.

The family business started with Al Richeson in Lake Oswego. He apprenticed from an old school gunsmith, Chik Hawk.

Lee Richeson, Al’s son, took an apprenticeship when he was 16 till he turned 21.

“There are not many good gunsmiths around anymore, let alone gunsmiths, period,” Lee Richeson said.

They opened Rich’s together as a full time business in 1978.

When Al died of cancer in 1987, the company was passed on to Lee, who moved the shop to Donald in 2000. There, he established the Western-themed store.

“I was just going to do a basic design, but a high school buddy of mine took a look at it and said, ‘We need a theme,’” Lee Richeson said. “So we built it all by scratch.”

The Western theme includes a boot cleaning post and a train track, which Lee’s four sons helped him put together.

“I have good memories of that,” said son Kent Richeson, who joined the staff in January.

With 50 years under his belt, Lee Richeson is hoping to expand his company, with a live fire shooting range and class rooms available for concealed handgun license, general safety, gunsmithing and specialty classes. The shooting gallery will be an old-fashioned 17-foot display, with fake ducks, bison and more animals to knock down.

“People ask for a range all the time,” Lee Richeson said. “It’s been my dream since I was a teen to build a live shooting gallery. As far as I know, here are no functioning galleries like this one. We have to build it from scratch.”

With Kent Richeson’s expertise in graphic design, his father is hoping to unveil the shooting gallery next year as part of the company’s shooting range.

In a time when many businesses are struggling, Rich’s Gun Shop is going stronger than ever.

“We’re in the right industry at the right time,” Lee Richeson said.

“Because we provide good customer service, we have a loyal following and customers who hear about us through word of mouth.”



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