A short drive into the hills outside of Chehalis is where Hobe Pannkuk owns and operates a small gun and hunting store out of his garage.
As a lifetime outdoorsman and avid hunter, Pannkuk has always loved firearms and the opportunity to get outside. That’s why he opened The Man Cave Outfitters three years ago as the first step to get paid for his passion.
“I don’t feed my family off my gun sales,” he said. “That is what my full time job is for.”
When he first got started, he would order one gun at a time. Because he holds a federal firearms license, he can purchase guns at wholesale prices. He then sells them to his customers at less than what a big box store would charge. Now, he has built up a stock of around 70 guns in his store as well as some hunting gear, fishing tackle and archery equipment.
“He is really knowledgeable about what he’s got,” Marcus Hite, a regular customer, said. “Anyone can open a gun shop. You have to be knowledgeable.”
Pannkuk was the firearms instructor for the Chehalis Tribal Police and has received tactical training.
One of the things Pannkuk enjoys most about his store is the opportunity it gives him to educate first-time gun buyers on proper safety and maintenance. He also loves just talking to people about guns and hunting.
Hunting is one of his favorite ways to bond with his family. Pannkuk said during hunting trips a father and son or daughter can have deeper personal conversations than they could at a baseball game. His father, Tony Pannkuk, taught him how to hunt, and he did the same for his five children.
His four daughters don’t care much for the sport, but he and his son go often.
“Even if I don’t get an animal, it is worth getting out,” he said.
Tony Pannkuk was a well-known local taxidermist and outdoorsman who died from a heart attack during a hunt in October. He guided hunts for moose, bear and wolf in British Columbia, which is something his son will continue to book and organize.
Each year, Tony had a booth at the Southwest Washington Fair, Pannkuk said. This year, a memorial booth will be set up in his honor.
During this time of the year, the most popular sellers are the AR-15 tactical style rifles. During the late summer months, hunting rifles will become more popular because hunting season is about to start, while handguns remain popular throughout the year.
In the future, he hopes to be able to establish a brick and mortar store in Centralia or Chehalis because where he is located at 175 Crego Hill Road is not the ideal location.
Despite this, business has been good, Pannkuk said. He has been able to promote his business through social media