A Platform For the Gun Industry

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A Platform For the Gun Industry

Coreware is a software company that was founded in late 2016, providing solutions for nonprofits and various industries. In mid-2019 the company’s focus narrowed on the shooting sports industry, starting with its e-commerce and website solution — coreFORCE — followed by the point-of-sale solution coreSTORE.

Coreware CEO Ezra Weinstein is a 20-year veteran of the shooting sports industry, having served for years as VP of Technology at Sports South. He previously worked as a systems analyst for IBM, a position he left to form his own software company where he wrote a point-of-sale system. His customers included a few professional sports teams, including the New England Patriots, Indianapolis Colts and Cleveland Indians. 

In mid 2019, Weinstein decided to leave Sports South to focus entirely on building Coreware. Over the past couple years the company has experienced tremendous growth, now serving nearly 300 customers with a staff of 25 employees. 

Shooting Sports Retailer recently caught up with Weinstein to talk about the company and how it’s helping retailers operate more efficiently.

SSR: Can you give me a brief overview of Coreware and its capabilities?

Weinstein: Our products and offerings include e-commerce, point of sale/inventory management, and merchant processing services. These solutions were born out of the needs of many dealers in the shooting sports industry that for many years while I was at Sports South would seek my recommendations on e-commerce and point-of-sale systems.

When I left Sports South I realized there was still a large gap in the marketplace. That provided us an opportunity to release a fully customizable e-commerce platform geared for larger retailers, and an affordable, fully featured point-of-sale and inventory management system that included all of the features needed to run a gun store of any size.

SSR: What differentiates Coreware from the average inventory management system?

Weinstein: The “average inventory management system” was not built for the shooting sports industry and therefore lacks the features that are required to help FFL’s easily and accurately track their firearm inventory. For a gun store (and most hard-good retailers), inventory control is paramount to successfully running their business, and in the shooting industry, the dealer’s bound book is actually the most accurate representation of their inventory.  

A big differentiator for us is that our bound book is not a third-party product, it is baked into our whole system. As soon as a dealer receives a firearm into inventory the acquisition record is immediately created, and they can quickly review that entry without having to access another system.

Another differentiator is that our inventory management system directly integrates into the dealer’s website. Whether they are using our e-commerce solution coreFORCE, or AmmoReady, the store inventory is completely integrated so as soon as an item is received, if it is marked as available online it will show up on the website. 

A final differentiator is the price and level of service that we provide. Most industry point-of-sale systems cost thousands to set up, and thousands to maintain. Our system, which includes everything needed to run a gun store, costs either $99 for a small store with one register or $199 a month for larger stores, with no setup fees, no training fees, no contracts, unlimited 24x7 support, unlimited stations and constant updates and enhancements. We pride ourselves on offering the most feature-rich solution at the lowest price with the best service. 


SSR: You serve a variety of clients. How did the shooting sports industry become a focal point?

Weinstein: As vice president of technology for Sports South for 18 years, I developed specific skills and solutions for this industry while heading up all of their technology initiatives. In fact, together with Bud Wells, formerly of Bud's Gun Shop, we pioneered the entire concept of drop-shipping firearms. As a distributor, we were the first to facilitate the drop-shipping of firearms and, therefore, the consumer's ability to order a firearm online. Throughout the years at Sports South, I assisted many of our dealers with their technology initiatives so when I decided to leave Sports South it was a natural progression for me to focus my skills and abilities on creating the best software solutions for the shooting sports industry.

SSR: How do the different components — CoreStore, CoreOutdoor and CoreFFL, for instance — work together?

Weinstein: Sometimes our customers get confused with all of our different names, but we're trying to simplify things. To clarify, Coreware is our company name. We are working on four primary product lines. Our enterprise-level e-commerce solution, coreFORCE, is a solution geared for shooting sports dealers that want to have a fully customized, enterprise-level website that competes with the likes of a Magento site and other enterprise e-commerce solutions. For the shooting sports industry we set up the website www.coreoutdoor.info where dealers can learn more about our website offering.

Our point-of-sale system, coreSTORE, was built specifically for the shooting sports industry. It has an integrated bound-book, E-4473, work orders, and for e-commerce it integrates seamlessly into either coreFORCE or AmmoReady. It also handles all the different transaction types that firearm dealers use including sales, layaways, returns, exchanges, trade-ins, rentals, consignments, repairs, memberships, classes, shipping labels and more. 

Our latest offering, coreFFL, is essentially coreSTORE without the point-of-sale functionality. It includes a powerful bound-book and electronic 4473 and work-order module, and full inventory control including purchase orders and receiving. Many FFLs don't have a retail storefront, but they still need all the other components, so we decided to release this comprehensive bound book/inventory management solution. And at $49 a month, there is nothing like it in the marketplace. 

For any retailer to conduct business, they need merchant services. That’s where coreCLEAR comes in. We have found over the years that the merchant processing world is full of a lot of smoke and mirrors, false promises, and the cost is usually much higher than what the dealer was expecting when they first signed up with their provider, due to a lot of hidden fees and costs. 

Our goal at Coreware is to provide affordable and transparent merchant processing without the hidden costs and surprises. As a software company, merchant processing is not our primary source of revenue, so we can provide dealers with highly competitive rates and good products. You don't have to use coreCLEAR with our products and you don’t have to use our products to sign up with coreCLEAR. Dealers can optionally sign up to our flat-rate program with the added benefit of getting coreSTORE totally free. 


SSR: Explain the process once a retailer comes to you for a new system.

Weinstein: For coreSTORE customers, it's a quick online signup process, and we can have them up and running in short order. You can register today, and literally, within a few minutes, you'll get your information to log in to the system. As part of the signup process with coreSTORE we offer free data conversion and free training. We personally call every customer that signs up to welcome them properly. The hardest part of getting any new system implemented is that change is hard no matter how good the new system is. Our goal is to help with the entire transition process every step of the way. We offer unlimited free training and free data conversions. So we try to minimize those pain points. 

With coreFORCE, there's a whole design phase; it's a lengthier process. So in terms of a retailer coming to us, the first thing we do is ensure this is a good fit and the right solution for their needs. If a retailer asks about our e-commerce, we make sure that we vet them, meet with them, and go through demos to ensure this is the solution they're looking for. At Coreware, our mission is to help small businesses survive and thrive. We've enjoyed a year where the name of the game is "Who Has Inventory?" So it was effortless to sell anything that was in your store or on your shelf. But what happens when things slow down? That's where you want to get a system that will help you manage your inventory, manage your inventory cost, and give you the information you need to run your business better.

SSR: What sort of training does the company provide?

Weinstein: We provide hands-on training. With our coreFORCE customers, many times, we go on-site. I'm a big believer in face-to-face, so I haven't stopped traveling. We really enjoy meeting our customers and seeing their operation and then helping them through the setup and implementation process.


While coreSTORE was built from the ground up as a very easy-to-learn system, we still provide an unlimited number of online hands-on training sessions. Customers typically can go live after having just one or two training sessions. This is an easy system to learn and operate. Ongoing support is another essential component for ensuring the success of any system, and we pride ourselves on offering the best support in the industry.


SSR: What do you say to the small shop owner who isn't sure if the investment in this system will provide a return?

Weinstein: Implementing any system at any price is a costly and scary proposition, which is why we don't hold coreSTORE customers to contracts and don't charge setup or training fees. We further minimize the risk to a customer by offering a 60-day money-back guarantee. If for some reason we are not a good fit, then we don't want to take someone's money. The coreSTORE system isn't just there to run a transaction; it's there to help you manage your business better and save you time. Time is money, and I can promise any retailer that signs up with us that we will save you a tremendous amount of time, because we've taken the time to make sure that we program anything we can think of that will help them succeed.


SSR: What has you most excited about 2021 and moving forward?

Weinstein: First and foremost the end of COVID, at least COVID version 1 which seems to be over, and we're most excited about the upcoming trade shows where we will get to meet and greet many dealers. We will be attending the Range-Retailer Business Expo in July in West Palm Beach, and of course, attending SHOT Show in January. We were extremely disappointed when SHOT Show got canceled, and we're ready to meet dealers face-to-face. The dream of normalcy has me excited. 

What also has me excited is continuing to focus on growing, improving, enhancing and adding features and functionality that make our customers' lives easier, and, you know, when I stop hearing about a feature request, that's when I'll start worrying. When we hear a request that excites us, we wish we could move faster, but Coreware, right now, is 25 people strong. We have employees all across the country, and basically, for us and me personally, providing good solutions and good service is what gets me excited about 2021. We know that no matter how good a product is, without the right team to back it up and provide high-level service and support, we will not succeed. 

What excites us the most is all of the new features that we're planning to introduce, additional products that we will be rolling out and of course, growing our customer base and expanding into other areas in the shooting industry.


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