New outdoor shop opens in Tarboro

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Jay Allen, left, and his wife Jessica Allen work on the Pelican coolers display Thursday at Allen Outfitters in Tarboro.


Staff Writer

Friday, April 13, 2018

TARBORO — Local resident Jay Allen is giving people in Tarboro, Edgecombe County and the surrounding areas another option to purchase outdoor sporting equipment instead of going to big box chain stores like Walmart.

Allen, 36, is the owner of the newly opened Allen Outfitters at 310 N. Main St. in downtown Tarboro, which is also being ran by his wife, Jessica Allen. The locally-owned outdoor equipment store has been open for the past two weeks and a grand opening ribbon cutting is slated for April 21. 

“For someone like myself that loves being outside, this store is like a dream,” said Allen, who was traveling around the state organizing gun shows for about a year before opening Allen Outfitters.

Allen said the store has been well-received in the community with town officials, Tarboro police officers and Edgecombe County deputies visiting Allen Outfitters. The location is a couple doors down from the Tarboro Police Department.

“We get like 30 to 50 people a day coming into the store,” Allen said. “We’re still not fully stocked, but we plan to be by the grand opening. As fast as I’m bringing in stuff is as fast is it’s going out, which is showing how good things are going. We’re really staying busy.”

The store’s merchandise features large Pelican brand coolers that are made for hunting, fishing and camping. Allen Outfitters also has camping, fishing and archery supplies and custom deer stands and handicapped deer stands.

Allen Outfitters sell AR-15 style rifles, pump rifles and hunting rifles and a stock of handguns is on the way. Allen said he will have a gunsmith on hand at the store to repair, modify, design or make guns.

Allen said he has access to the local firing range to help train people on how to properly use one of his firearms. Jessica Allen said they want to help in the responsibility and the sensibility of people carrying guns.

“If an 80-year-old lady wants something for home protection, I’m going to make sure she knows how to use it before she leaves the store,” Jay Allen said. “I’m not going to send her out with a gun and box of bullets.”

Allen said Allen Outfitters is going to offer a more personal experience than going to a Walmart, especially when it comes to gun sales.

“You go to Walmart, first of all, they’ve moved their age for purchasing a gun to 21,” Allen said. “We’re still at 18 for someone to purchase a gun, and the law is 21 to buy a pistol. But it’s a good chance that my wife and I know you before you buy a gun. I can look at mobile patrol and for example, see that this person has three domestic (charges) in two weeks. I can’t tell them they can’t buy a gun, but I would say no, ‘I am not selling you a gun.’ You go to Walmart, they don’t look at none of that. They just want to coach you through, help carry (the gun) to the door and you are on your own after that. They don’t show you how to use it and they don’t tell you what you got.”

In addition to the merchandise in the store, Allen Outfitters is offering guided fishing trips for $75 per person, and the town of Tarboro has allowed the store to rent canoes for people to go canoeing on the river for $35. 

“With the canoeing, we drop you off and pick you back up, while the fishing we stay with you the whole time,” Allen said. “We provide a cooler in each boat. We’re going to be providing some snacks and some soda drinks for people to purchase in the store. “We’re looking to get our beer and wine license, and that will allow people to get a six-pack, live fish bait, a snack and go out fishing. We’re going to provide what you need to go outside and have fun.”

Allen Outfitters is open from 8 a.m. to 5:30 Monday through Friday and 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday. The hours may vary. Contact the store at  252-557-5852 for more information.