Shop Visit: Platoon Stores
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- Last updated: 25/10/2017
Tactical gear shops and suppliers are the folk we rely on to keep us well kitted-out and up-to-date with new innovations in kit and clothing. We have a lot to thank our local, and not so local, gear suppliers for, so why not take the time to get to know a few of them a little better? Perhaps next time, you won’t have to order that obscure but essential bit of kit from a nameless company online, as maybe somebody down the road has it! This month he’s be stopping by his local shop, Platoon Stores.
GM: Hello, Platoon Stores! Before we launch into the main body of questions, we thought we’d let you introduce yourselves! So, in your own words, what is Platoon Stores and what do you specialise in, in the wide world of airsoft, tactical gear and clothing?
PS: Hi! We’re difficult to pigeonhole, as we serve so many different types of customer, each with their own requirements. We are military and outdoor suppliers and Kent’s friendliest gun and airsoft shop. We’ve either got or can get what the customer needs, or find a solution at the very least; that’s what we try to do here.
GM: What does the daily routine entail at Platoon Stores?
PS: At Platoon Stores, it’s mostly coffee and talking! Each customer has a different idea of what they want and our job is to identify that and make sure we can satisfy them.
GM: Do you have a website as well as your walk-in shop; if so, what’s it like?
PS: Yes, we’ve recently had a revamp but it’s pretty good at the moment. It can be a bit of a trial with so many products on it keeping stock levels right. We hate buying something off a website if they haven’t got it in stock, so we make certain that ours is up to date, so it’s a true reflection of what we have. As part of our big change in the airsoft section Bill Thomas is heading out on patrol…
GM: What question do you get asked most often?
PS: “Are those real guns”, and mostly the answer is yes (Platoon Stores are also an RFD!)!
GM: What’s the best thing about your job?
PS: Meeting such a variety of great people, getting to try out new kit, and getting to shoot so much.
GM: Dare we ask, what’s the worst thing about your job?
PS: Dare we say meeting “internet experts” who know everything from YouTube and Wikipedia 😉
GM: Do you sell just gear and clothing, or do you sell the whole package, accessories, and all?
PS: We do everything from boots to bayonets, although there’s not a lot of call for bayonets in the airsoft world hopefully!
GM: Do you have any main brands that you stock? If so, what are your favourites?
PS: In terms of gear and clothing, VIPER, Disciple OST. 5:11 Tactical, and Blackhawk to name but a few for tactical use. Directly for airsoft we have- Nuprol, ASG, Valken, Cyma/Cybergun, G&G, WE, but we can get most things worth getting. We also stock a large range of accessories and consumables from ASG, Valken, Nuprol, Abbey, Earmore, GK Tactical, Black River and loads more.
GM: I know you support a number of airsoft sites in Kent with your mobile shop; could you tell me more about that?
PS: We directly support with the mobile shop: InvictaBattlefield at Marden and Cool Under Fire at Teynham, and occasionally STORM Tactical. We indirectly support a few others through our wholesale dept. We’re always up for other opportunities if anyone is looking.
GM: What’s the oldest thing you have laying around in the stock room?
PS: A real 1939 K98 rifle with bayonet and sling.
GM: Do you offer a customisation or repair service; if so, what kind of jobs can you carry out?
PS: We can do lots of different things, but most commonly it’s fitting scopes and optics and recently magwell conversions.
GM: What’s the single most commonplace repair/custom gear job you carry out?
PS: Fitting scopes and optics correctly
GM: Do you carry out your own product testing?
PS: Yes, most certainly we do.
GM: How often do you get to do this?
PS: All the time really; we’re always trying kit out when we’re out and about.
GM: What do you enjoy most about testing gear?
PS: Knowing that if it breaks we won’t stock it, and challenging suppliers to let us test it. It gives us great confidence when recommending kit to customers.
GM: What bugs you most about the airsoft gear market?
PS: Cheap kit that breaks, and bedroombased shop owners and discounters that punt it out as fit for purpose.
GM: If you could change one thing about the tactical gear market, what would it be?
PS: To see more UK made kit to support the UK economy.
My thanks to Pete and his team at Platoon Stores for putting up with my questions! To conclude, I asked him about how he sees things developing in the future and he told me:
“Social media plays a big part in our marketing plan and we use it to launch new products and events as well as interact with our local customers and the wider airsoft community. We are a very accessible company and are often involved with conversations and discussions well beyond our hours of business.
We are a community that lives online, so it makes sense for us to embrace that and enjoy it at the same time. Although, as a firearms dealer, we do have our issues with the Facebook police from time to time, who don’t always understand us. @platoonstores @platoonairsoft are our main facebook pages and @platoonstores on instagram where you can find the adventures of Little Bob (who you met).
I’m a keen supporter of Airsoft Nation as well as MLA and Formula5 whose ideals are based in bringing the community together.”
Address: 70 High Street, Rochester, Kent, ME11 JY
T: 01634 829 063
Opening hours: Mon 1-5pm,Tues-Fri 10am-5pm,Sat 9.30am-5pm, and some late ‘Special’ evenings.