Nestled along State Route 23 in Ohio where the great flat glacial plains of North-Central and Western Ohio begin is the village of Waldo. Waldo is a sleepy little town of a little over 300 inhabitants existing where SR 23 intersects with SR 98 in Marion County. It's claim to fame in and around these parts is the home made bologna and bologna sandwiches that can be found in the few dining spots to be found in town, most notably, the G&R Tavern. It also sits aside of the Delaware State Park system and close to the state firearm range I often shoot at during the Spring to Fall. In what I would call the "Southern Suburb" of the town you will find a little bait shop and gun store called Norton Sporting Goods.
Most people know Norton Sporting goods as "that store up by the range that you buy your range pass at". This is largely true. Being the closest business that sells state hunting, fishing and range liceneses many people do stop here to buy that range pass and maybe some targets, ammo or other items that they may have forgotten at home. But the store is much more than that. In addition to the gun store they also have a rather larger bait and tackle shop in the same building as well. But fishing isn't really my thing, I'll leave that to my friend Brandon over at his site Ohio Game Fishing. For me, I am all about the things that go BOOM!
Question.... what do fishing stories, hunting stories and military stories all have in common?
Answer...They start with either "This is no shit...." or "Once upon a time...."
The gun store itself is rather "old timey" in its feel with the exterior, wood floors, pictures of hunters will their kills on the wall and such. They have a good selection of targets and target stands (one even locally made by a craftsman in the area) as well as magazines, holsters, cleaning supplies and all the other accessories that go along with using a firearm. They have the normal assortment of pistols and long arms from names such as Glock, Smith & Wesson, Ruger and the like. Matter of fact, this is the store that my friend Rhonda got her SR9 at that I reviewed last year. In addition to the "usual suspects" in this regard the store also seems to carry a few "eclectic" varieties of firearms that you don't really expect to find in a gun store like it. An example would be the Draco AK pistol, which sells out fast online and is not available in the larger gun store that I normally frequent in Columbus. They had one. Not only did they have one but it was on a display pedestal on the counter for anyone to meat paw. That is something you DO NOT find at that larger gun store in Columbus I frequent. This attitude of openness permeates the store as many items that are normally behind the counter at other shops are within easy grasp here. They even have a rack of long guns right their on the floor to include all types of rifles and shotguns that you can pick up and examine. That to me is like being a kid in a candy store. That is where I found my CAI CETME rifle that followed me home one day.
Firearms right out in the open to handle and examine...hope to see this at a gun store in Columbus? You'd have better odds on Terrelle Pryor being reinstated as a Buckeye or "Hail To The Victors" being played on the radio....
Overall, I was very happy with my experience at Norton Sporting Goods and would (and probably will at some point in the future) do business with them again. Friendly staff, welcoming atmosphere, a state range a few minutes away and arguably the world's best bologna sandwich right down the road, what's not to like? It may be out of the way for many of us in Central Ohio, but if you happen to be driving on SR23 in Marion County and get a hankerin' for a slab of bologna and some hands on gun shopping, its worth your time to stop by.
Tell them Huey sent you...I doubt that they will remember me, but what the hell!