Elk River Guns joins 'friendly competition'


Elk River Guns

Where: 1320 Dream Island Plaza, Steamboat Springs

Services: New and used firearms, gunsmithing, ammo and hunting accessories

Store Hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday to Saturday, with expanded hours during hunting season

Phone: (970) 879-7565


Firearms purveyor Ken Constantine, shown here near a display rack of new shotguns at his store in Steamboat Springs on Thursday morning, recently opened Elk River Guns.

— The former home of Golden Cue Billiards in the Dream Island Mobile Home Park has a new occupant. Elk River Guns opened Monday to what owner Ken Constantine called "a wonderful response."

Elk River will join Circle H Firearms and Sports Authority as a retail supplier of firearms in Steamboat Springs. Wal-Mart stopped selling guns earlier this year.

Constantine hopes his store can provide a level of service previously unavailable in the community.

"I saw a need in this town for a full-service gun shop," Constantine said. "I offer not just firearms, but a full range of shooting supplies, optics and gunsmithing."

Constantine's story is a familiar one in Steamboat. He moved here 31 years ago after graduating college, intending to take a semester off before graduate school, but he never left.

"This town just won me over. It has always felt like home from the first day I got here," Constantine said.

Constantine previously owned a construction company, ran the Pine Cone Day Camp in the 1980s, worked for TIC and is a former regional director of Ducks Unlimited, a waterfowl conservation organization.

Constantine said guns have been one of his passions since he was in the Boy Scouts. He was the captain of his high school's rifle team. Constantine has been a gunsmith for 19 years. Both the National Rifle Association and the National Sporting Clays Association have certified him as an instructor. He coaches 4-H shooting sports and has been a member of the Routt County Rifle Club since 1980.

Constantine said he chose his location on Dream Island Plaza because of its visibility from U.S. Highway 40, the quality of access and parking and because it is on the west side of town and in close proximity to the Routt County Rifle Club.

Constantine's 1,600-square-foot store had an opening inventory of about 75 guns. He offers brands such as Browning, Benelli, Savage, Taurus, Smith & Wesson, Ruger and Glock, among others.

"In addition to selling new firearms, I will be selling used firearms and taking guns in on consignment," Constantine said. "The used guns will be inspected for proper functioning."

Dan Holcomb, owner of Circle H Firearms, said he welcomes the competition from Elk River.

"I have no problems," Holcomb said. "I know the owner and wish him well."

Holcomb said "everybody has their own niche" and believes both shops will thrive by targeting different sectors of the market. Holcomb also said he has forgone a high-visibility location like Constantine's and prefers to let his customers find him. Circle H Firearms is at 1890 Elk River Plaza.

"We have a couple different philosophies," Holcomb said. "I'm a little off the beaten path."

Elk River Guns currently is a one-man operation, with Constantine keeping the store open 8 hours a day and also spending time in the mornings for his gunsmith work. Constantine said he was "swamped" in his first three days. It's a lot of work, but Constantine is embracing it.

"I have to finish putting my daughters through college," Constantine said. "I'm not ready to retire."


SteamboatJoe 9 years, 9 months ago

Congrats to a new business but the huge sign coming in to town is a bit much. The signs on the building are visible enough.


Matthew Stoddard 9 years, 8 months ago

Corduroy- There is a sign on the building, facing toward the highway. I hadn't noticed it until this thread and had to look further over, taking my eyes off the road.

I think Elk River Guns sounds better than Yampa River Guns. Not sure why, though. It just...does.


Matthew Stoddard 9 years, 9 months ago

SBvor- my God! Do I actually agree with you on everything you just wrote in that post...except making it a Leftist remark?shudders in a cold sweat


Lovesteamboat 9 years, 9 months ago

Two words....SIGN ORDINANCE.

Hard to believe that sign was approved by anyone, but I suppose anything can happen with our current city council.

As an alternative, how about a big, medival, two-wheeled cannon parked out in the lawn. They could kick off a round or two at Noon w/ the daily siren.


OnTheBusGus 9 years, 9 months ago

In case it hasn't been noticed, Steamboat is an "oasis" in an area of country where we have "rednecks" and other things "country". I suppose we could call it "diversity". I don't mind, keeps things real around here.


Lovesteamboat 9 years, 9 months ago

This thread isn't about diversity or classes...it's about compliance with local sign regulations.

Best of luck to this new business venture. I completely respect anyone's entrepreneurial efforts. Not everyone has the guts to open their own business, and there is considerable financial risk in doing this. At the end of the day, Elk River Guns will contribute new tax dollars to our community.

However, the billboard sign along Highway 40 has got to go.

Pretty sure Golden Cue would have had a similar sign if it were actually allowed.


OnTheBusGus 9 years, 9 months ago

I was referring to knowitall's comment about how it seems "redneck" to have another firearms store. However, it's interesting to see that I created a divergence. I didn't mean to do that but it was entertaining. Anyway, I'm glad we have another firearms store. I'll probably stop by and check out their selection. Yes, the sign is a little unusual for this town but it is an attention grabber!


JQPUBLIC 9 years, 9 months ago

lovesteamboat.... "This thread isn't about diversity or classes...it's about compliance with local sign regulations.".... did I miss something, I thought these forums were basically to discuss the articles and our opinions. Someone brings up a problem with the sign (which isn't even in the article) and that's what we are all supposed to discuss?


Malcolm_Reynolds 9 years, 9 months ago

I drove into town from the west side on Monday. What sign?


Penny Fletcher 9 years, 9 months ago

I wish Ken the best of luck with his new business, we all have the right to success in life and business. I however think that Ken has managed to create a negative impact upon the entrance to our city. This sign is chilling, negative and gives a very unwelcome feeling to the entrance to Steamboat Springs. I know that Real Estate signs have been taken down and restricted as well as garage sale signs and certain business signs haven't passed the sign ordinance downtown, How did this sign get approved? I hope that Ken will remove this sign so that the the entrance to Steamboat will be restored to the welcoming feeling we want all of our visitors and locals to experience.


dave reynolds 9 years, 9 months ago

the sign is pretty big but really it is no worse than all in F M Light signs which I find amusing and very clever..I had friends come up for my wedding the first place they wanted to see was F M Light..knowitall u seem fixated on this redneck fobia..maybe think about moving cause ya know its part of Steamboat and Routt countys Heritage neck you'll wanta put a sign if your from "The Hills" stay out..I wish Elk River Guns all the best..check ou tthe tread of Rednecks....I mean Pioneers Mueseum sometime..no dis respect intended


Brian_Bavosi 9 years, 9 months ago

Maybe some of you should read the sign code before shooting off at the mouth, every business in town, even on Lincoln is allowed a detached sign on a 20' tall pole, or a detached sign on a monument, It's all black and white.....I can't believe the lack of facts on some of these posts. This guy is filling a need in steamboat and he has already been badmouthed....signs, take a look at Romicks furniture sign.....imagine one of those in front of every business, and what about the strings digital sign, or the signage on the car wash (violates many sign code requirements) I think it only adds to our blending into anytown USA...It's perfect....let's allow billboards again!!!


dave reynolds 9 years, 9 months ago

Gus I drove by it yesterday its not gaudy tastfully done..basicl letting them know they are there..I till say the Tennis slug is one of the ugliest buildings in town and at the East entrance of Steamboat guess its ok ..considering all the hoops Mc Donalds had to jump through and not to mention the complainig about the fire stations piant job..can not make everyone happy..enjoy the fourth of July Holiday and be safe..God Bless America and those brave men and women who are defending her


OnTheBusGus 9 years, 9 months ago

What is so negative about the gun shop sign? I think that driving past the run down trailer park & mass construction, not to mention the pungent smell of fart park is negative in the "entry" to Steamboat. By the way, that car wash has HUGE signage and a HUGE ice cream cone, kinda weird for a car wash.


dave reynolds 9 years, 9 months ago

resorting to insulting me..be my guest..you posted awhile back you did not want to be surrrounded by "low wage" earners(affordable housing thread) now your saying we are becoming redneck...the sign is tastefully done you seem to be the one that has a problem with those you deam beneath you he is just advertising his business..so teach me something what exactly did you mean by " How Redneck can we get"..you are right I bet it does get broken into sooner or later..am antisapating your responce so I can become just a little bit smarter....have a nice day and hope you enjoyed the Fourth of July festivites


corduroy 9 years, 9 months ago

I think the sign is fine. Honestly I drive past it every day and I cannot see a sign on the building itself (assuming there is one from what others have said) If someone has no idea where Dream Island is the sign on 40 is a great help to find this new local business. It's not big or gaudy, there's no photo of a gun actually killing anything either.

The only thing I thought strange was Elk River guns... is on the Yampa River.. and yes, I realize the Elk River is pretty local too, but its a little weird anyways :)


ColoradoNative 9 years, 8 months ago

I wish him the best. It will serve this community well as there simply isn't enough competition and too many businesses over charging as it is.

Make the sign bigger for all I care. I'd much rather see a gun sign than 20 more paris hilton wannabe look a likes walking lincoln.


Radar 9 years, 8 months ago

Seeing that sign inspired quite a different reaction than any of the other commenters. It occured to me that it was one of the most telling proofs that we still live in a democracy where the government derives its right to possess guns from the people - not the other way around. I imagine that I can see faint lettering under that sign reading "We the People..." instead of "We the Sheeple," in a country that is rapidly heading for "e pleb nista." The very best of luck Ken, and thanks for posting the Bill of Rights where all can read it.


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