55SIX is part of the NZ Hunter Group Ltd started back in 2009 by the Rountree family. When we first opened our eCommerce store we specialised in importing optics and accessories that were either not available or severely overpriced in New Zealand.
Fast forward a couple of years AR15’s became the choice of firearm for hunters, pest controllers, collectors, sport shooters including service rifle and 3 gun. The NZ Hunter group created a new business called NZAR15 specialising in semi-auto firearms, their parts and accessories. We redefined the price point for these previously unobtainable products.
With the realisation that New Zealand firearm owners were poorly represented politically, we set up an advocacy group with other like minded individuals called Firearm Owners United NZ. This group was finally able to provide a voice that had been lacking in the community. FOUNZ went on to politically activate and force the discussion of firearm owner rights successfully with New Zealand First, National and Labour.
In 2019 after sweeping law changes, we closed up shop and had a rethink about how we would survive in a modern socialist society. At the time we lost virtually everything with a law change ensuring dealers didn’t get an equitable payout in the ensuing firearm confiscation. Suffering a $250,000 loss and getting by with the support of family, friends and customers we decided to have another go at providing sporting equipment for the hobby we all love.
So in mid 2019, starting from scratch with empty pockets, we approached our bank with a business plan. The bank and their business manager could see we had previously built a successful business and believed that we could do it again. So with a large loan we took the leap of faith and started a new retail business called “55SIX” – a play on one of the most popular calibres at the time the 556 nato cartridge.
Getting back into business hasn’t been easy. One of the requirements for business finance was to set up a bricks and mortar store. This in itself was a new challenge in how to minimise fit out costs and the overheads associated with retail. We searched extensively for a warehouse that we could use for firearms. We were turned down several times due to the nature of our business but finally found the perfect spot with superb security in an old automotive workshop that was built from solid concrete. It also lent itself well to the modern industrial style fitout we wanted to present to the customer.
We were lucky to have a group of friends (Al, Shane and Athol) do the full industrial fitout for us. The end result is a place we hope customers go wow over and enjoy visiting.
With a fair bit of government forced debt hanging over us we have managed to rebuild a profitable business, mostly due to the fantastic goodwill of our very loyal customers. You guys rock!
However as in any business there is always new challenges to face. The first came after the gun confiscation of 2019 when couriers stopped home deliveries of firearms. Putting our thinking cap on we came up with the idea of a network of independent dealers (The Firearm Dealer Network) to enable the transfer of firearms around the country. 55SIX and Serious Shooters help administer the network and enable the transfer of guns. This has been a business saver for many independent dealers and gunsmiths. Please be sure to support your local independent and bypass the green box franchise who threw gun owners under the bus at the first chance of law change.
The other major challenge we face is the anti-competitive activity by NZ importers. We have always sought to obtain the best possible price and service for our customers. This means that those monopolies that control the import of certain goods will do anything they can, legal or not, to stop us from sourcing products. We are not afraid to standup against the industry bullies and will continue to do so.
If you want to buy the most interesting gear at seriously good prices, we think you have found the right place.
Thank you for visiting 55SIX.
Ken Rountree & Family