When diamonds and gold are no longer a girl's best friend, there's always lead and blue steel.

The owner of Jewels Fine Jewelry, 1410 S. Main St., is getting out of the jewelry business to focus on what he really loves: guns.

Jack Davis is transforming his store into the Gun Room. He hopes to have his ATF license to sell guns within the next week or so. An opening will take place as soon as that happens.

"It's going to be a museum and gun store," Davis said. "On one side of the store, I will have guns that are 250 to 300 years old. I have nearly 100 guns that are over 200 years old. I also have collectible guns from the 1980s and ’90s that you can no longer find. On the other side of the store will be upper-grade guns that are new. This will be a rather unique approach to a gun store."

When COVID-19 came along, Davis closed his jewelry store of 14 years and decided to retire. But after three to four months of retirement, he became bored. It was time to do something different but still involving intricate workmanship.

Davis is using the jewelry display cases to show off his collectibles. He has purchased wall hangers to display his new guns.

He also will handle consignments. That can be important to people when a member of the family who collects guns dies. How do you dispose of the guns if no one in the family wants to keep them? How do you value them? Davis can work with the family to make sure that the collection brings what it is worth.

For Davis, the personal objective is to continue building his collection of guns. He has a blunderbuss, flintlocks and weapons from the Civil War in his collection.

The real challenge for Davis will be finding new guns for his store.

"There's no guns to buy. There's not a gun to be bought," he said. "The wholesale companies are sold out. They might have one out of 200 guns. There is no choice. It's not really a good time to open a gun store, but that will change in time. The demand is there."

According to industry experts, 2020 is on track to be the biggest year ever for gun sales in America. Overall gun-purchase background checks are up more than 69% in the first six months of this year when compared with the first six months of last year, according to FBI statistics. Background checks for handguns are up 80% over the same period.

Uncertainty about the pandemic caused sales to spike in March. A second spike occurred in May during demonstrations that were sparked by the death of George Floyd.

Off the path

It is the most frequently asked question that I get from readers of this column: When is the new Aldi grocery store, 2630 S. Maiden Lane, going to open?

I do not have this from an official source, but I have been repeatedly told by workers at the Aldi store, near 20th Street and Range Line Road, that the opening is slated for Wednesday, Nov. 11.

I checked on the progress of the new store last week. Everything on the outside looks ready. The place has been fully landscaped. The parking lot, which is large for a store of this size, has been striped. It appeared that some electrical work was still being done on the inside.

I can't tell for sure, but it looks to me that this store might be a little larger than the store on Range Line. I sure hope so. At times, it can be hard to social distance at the Range Line store. It's that busy, especially on Wednesdays.

The new Aldi store will prove to be an important asset for the community, but it represents more than that. It's another huge step in the recovery from the tornado.

If you have news about something that’s happening on Range Line Road or Main Street, call 417-623-3480, ext. 7250; or send an email to wkennedy@joplinglobe.com; or send a fax to Wally Kennedy at 417-623-8598.

Wally Kennedy is a reporter and columnist for The Joplin Globe.