Leo Bradshaw, who estimates he has sold 225,000 firearms during his career, is reducing his inventory but not closing his popular shop on Wooded Acres Drive.
He is sharing it with a longtime friend.
Bradshaw and Hani Sidarous have become partners in arms, with Bradshaw continuing to run Bradshaw/Cogdell’s while Sidarous and his family are selling merchandise under the name Unique Guns.
“Instead of selling 1,700 to 1,800 guns a year, I want to sell 300,” said Bradshaw, 77. “If I want to go to the restroom, I can. There have been times it was so crowded I stood at the counter two hours.”
Bradshaw now occupies only 600 square feet at 1001 Wooded Acres Drive.
Moving from home
He offered 2,400 square feet to Sidarous, who jumped at the chance to move his shop out of his home and join Bradshaw.
Sidarous sells low- to moderately priced guns, most ranging from less than $100 to $800. Bradshaw said he will sell used and collectible guns typically priced between $800 and $7,000.
What Sidarous brings to the table are accessories and a thriving mail-order business.
Besides ammunition, he said, he sells scopes, stocks, magazines, shotgun barrels, grips and clips, “including some hard-to-find items.”
He also sells and repairs revolvers, shotguns and rifles.
Sidarous, 60, was born in Egypt but moved to the United States in 1969 to pursue a degree in geology from Baylor University.
He learned about rock formations, but preferred selling guns.
“The first person he saw in Waco was me,” said Bradshaw, who was operating his family’s sporting goods store and gun shop called Cogdell’s at New Road and Valley Mills Drive.
Outdoor enthusiasts loved the place, and it gained a loyal following. Youngsters enjoyed roaming the aisles with their parents, gawking at the stuffed wildlife, including a towering bear.
By 1980, Bradshaw said he had been in the gun business for 26 years.
“I was not as enamored with it as I once was,” he said. “I increasingly thought about getting into the collectible side of things.”
He signed a deal with a small chain called The Sportster to operate the front of the store while he sold firearms in the back.
But The Sportster failed and another sporting goods store, Sports Spectrum, was liquidated by its partners.
A pawnshop, sandwich shop and pharmacy now cover the space where Cogdell’s once thrived.
Bradshaw moved his gun shop to Wooded Acres Drive in 2003. He has done well there.
Sidarous, meanwhile, owned and operated Hewitt Gun Shop for a time before selling the business and signing a noncompete agreement with the new owners. When it expired, he worked out of his home.
Bradshaw said he has deep respect for Sidarous and approached him first about his plan to share space.
Carl Stobbe, 72, said he has shopped with Bradshaw for years. He owns 84 guns.
He used to visit the shop every day, but now goes twice a week. Sometimes he just goes there to socialize.
“I think the deal is pretty nice, but it doesn’t look like Hani has enough space,” Stobbe said, adding the shop used to have nooks and crannies for sitting and talking, but now merchandise fills every space.
Bradshaw said no one should think he has retired. He likes the give-and-take of buying and selling guns.
He said the most he ever made from the sale of a gun was $300,000, which “a gentleman collector from the East Coast” paid him for a Colt Texas Paterson revolver popular with early Texas Rangers.