East Brunswick Sportsman is located in a room in front of the . It’s got a small inventory, and what it sells isn’t for everyone.
But if you know what you’re looking for, and even if you don’t, then heading to the hunting shop on Route 18 might be the first place you go if you need a new gun, ammunition, hunting accessories, or just some information on the sport.
“Most people who come in have their stuff together and know what they want to get,” said owner Mark Marciano. “We get very few beginners coming in, but we tell them where to go and what they need to do to get started.”
Marciano, who owns the store with Eric Bellanca (owner of the auto center), has been hunting since high school, and wanted to give hunters a place to go that wasn’t a large, national retail chain and that was managed by someone who knew the sport, knew where to go and how to help everyone from advanced hunters to beginners.
“We have good customer service,” said Henry Mertens, who works at the shop. “We’re very beginner friendly. A lot of shops, they don’t give you the time of day if you don’t know exactly what you want.”
A regular at the South River Gun Club, Marciano can guide beginners through the process of getting a gun license, finding safety courses, and on where to go to learn to hunt. He even knows a few places to head out during the right season. He says there are about 20 wildlife management areas people can visit depending on the season, including Assunpunik.
“It’s about customer freedom,” said Marciano. “We start with your own ideas and then we come up with a plan. It’s a gamble for me, but hopefully it will pay off.”
East Brunswick Sportsman will help shoppers find the right gun, and if they don’t have it, can special order anything. From scopes to guns to rifles to ammunition, if you have a special request, East Brunswick Sportsman will find it and get you a quote for the item.
"We have a whole lot of shooters who rank nationally who are members of clubs in the area," said Mertens.
The shop even carries a few antiques, including bayonets, and will sell items on consignment for people looking to move product. Right now, Marciano has several compound bows he is selling for a client.
Even though the inventory is small, Marciano says safety is job one for the store. Like other licensed gun shops, every firearm is stored in a safe, and every piece of merchandise that comes though the store for sale or that is sold to a customer is tracked accordingly.
With the small game season here, and the summer and fall seasons fast approaching, and with other people interested soley in target shooting, Marciano said he expects business to pick up.
"We're slow because people just don't know whe're here yet," he said.
East Brunswick Sportsman is open on Mondays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Tuesdays through Fridays, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. It is closed on Sunday. To contact them call 732-387-2664.