|© J. Adrian Wylie|
by Sally Mitani
Zingerman's is everywhere this month: when a reporter walked into the new Ann Arbor Arms store on Jackson in September, the man behind the counter was wearing a "Camp Bacon" T-shirt.
Its wearer, Bobby Thompson, is an Iraq war vet, an expert on firearms, and the store's ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms) compliance manager. And though Thompson himself hasn't actually been to Zingerman's three-day annual bacon fest, his wife, C.C., is a manager at Zingerman's Roadhouse.
Ann Arbor Arms--"or A3, as we like to say," says store owner Holli Pinon--opened in September, tucked into a small strip mall next to the Arthur Murray dance studio. Pinon (pronounced Pin-yon), who owns the store with her husband, Bill, emphasizes that it's not just a gun store, but has a broader mission: "a combination of personal defense, protection, emergency preparedness, and survival," which also describes their life history. "My husband grew up in Oregon in a military family. He's always been around guns. We lived in Florida for twenty years, and we've had to be in tune with hurricanes and preparedness. Then coming up here we realized Michigan has the same needs because of ice storms, blizzards, [heat waves], anything that's going to knock the power out."
The Pinons built a classroom upstairs where they'll be doing firearms training, including classes for CPLs [concealed pistol licenses]. "In addition to that, we'll be doing survival and emergency preparedness classes, basic defense classes, situational awareness, how to protect yourself."
Pinon knows "survival" is a loaded concept, freighted with not only political connotations but various goofball ones. The threats her store is equipped to deal with "could be anything--as absurd as zombies, EMP [electromagnetic pulse], or financial crisis, to just the [heat wave] we had this summer where people didn't have electricity for three days. Zombies are not a major concern of mine. We're a little tongue-in-cheek on the zombies and EMP, but, well, maybe not so much on the financial crisis." In October,
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