Oxford resident Donny Guest, 64, lost his father at the age of 5. A family friend, who lived near Guest, taught him to to bow hunt
“Ever since then, I fell in love with the sport of hunting,” Guest said, “and when I turned 20, I decided I wanted to open my own hunting store.”
Today, Guest is owner of Hunters Hollow, an Oxford store that carries clothing, guns, bows, ammunition and more.
Guest began his business by creating an archery shop in his Corinth garage while working as a manager for the United Parcel Service. He later moved to Enid Lake and opened a bait shop, but kept his archery equipment.
He operated the bait shop four years before moving to Water Valley and renting an old Coca-Cola plant to house his archery shop while he worked at a lawn mower store in Oxford. At night, he crafted arrows, and business began to grow.
Guest moved the store to Oxford in 1988 and named it D & B Outfitters. He ran it with a partner, who later bought his part of the business. That led Guest to open Hunters Hollow on West Oxford Loop in 1991.
“I kept thinking I would not be able to keep selling at the same volume, but I’ve been blessed, and business has never had a yearly decrease,” said Guest.
As the business grew, Guest moved the store again, buying property on Highway 6 to build a new store that opened in the summer of 2014. Guest designed the store with archery lanes and a firing range.
“Family is very important to me, and I set this up so family can enjoy shooting guns and bows,” he said. “We’ve even done birthday parties at the firing range for 10-year-olds.
“I personally enjoy just helping the community by doing charity work, giving scholarships, helping the university, and even taking kids hunting that are not fortunate enough to have a father in their life to take them.”
Hunters’ Hollow doesn’t have a lot of competition in the area.
“I don’t mind competition at all,” said Guest. “I hope the best for other businesses. Price-wise, we are now at a point where we are stable enough to compete with anyone.”
Guest said the firing range helps the store compete.
“We don’t make anything off the range itself,” he said. “Most of our sales have increased with ammo and guns to use in the range.”
Guest said he’s received many compliments about the range and the conference room at the store. He said customers have told him that the firing range is one the best in the country.
Hunters’ Hollow attracts many of local and out-of-town customers.
Matt Trigg, a junior at Ole Miss, is from a small town in south Mississippi. He buys hunting gear at Hunters’ Hollow.
“Being from a small town surrounded by woods, I’ve just grown up loving to hunt, and it’s the most common thing people back home do,” he said. “The one thing that worried me about coming up here was wondering if I would be able to hunt, and how close stores would be for me. With Hunters’ Hollow nearby, I’m able to buy my gear and ammo in a easy manner.”
Guest believes in the 2nd Amendment. A few Hunters’ Hollow employees have been properly trained to carry a pistol. The store even allows customers to bring their guns.
“Customers can bring in guns,” Guest said. “I only ask that they keep them in a holster and only take them out on two occasions. One, being that they are in the firing range beyond the red lines, set up and shooting target. And the second, being that they only pull it out if their life is being threatened.”
Broadcast Journalism major at Ole Miss. Twitter: @jdison92