Woodstock’s Brenda Mason was miles ahead of the curve in 1994 when she opened NICA Shooting, an Internet retailing operation designed to fill a gap in the world of the shooting sports.
Back in the day, it was hard to find shooter’s supplies. Of course, gun shops carried all of the guns and ammo you needed, but accessories and clothing for gun hunters and target shooters was scarce.
Gun clubs and hunt clubs often carried a small selection of items and some of the bigger target shooting events featured vendors bringing in a wider range of products. The days of the big box stores was still in the future, so buyers had to leaf through catalogs to find what they needed.
Mason kicked off NICA Shooting by hauling tables around to smaller shooting tournaments and displaying limited wares. It was soon after that she realized the Internet was where the future of NICA Shooting lied.
The site has grown steadily while Mason has operated it out of her Woodstock home until recently, when it moved into a commercial building at 114 East Calhoun Street in Woodstock. While many businesses have transformed from brick and mortar businesses into e-tailing sites, Mason has done the reverse and has morphed the Internet NICA store into a brick and mortar operation.
The name NICA is taken from the names of the Mason children, Nicholas, now 27, and Caitlyn, 24. Caitlyn works with Brenda at NICA, while Nicholas is in the Army, based in Afghanistan.
“We couldn’t be any more proud of Nicholas,” said Mason. “My husband, Tim, and I are so proud of him and what he has given up to serve his country. We can’t thank him enough and we pray for his safety. He is a hero.”
Brenda and Tim are avid hunters, starting with guns and birds and graduating to bows, elk and whitetails. Nicholas is a hunter and Caitlyn prefers target shooting.
“There are actually more companies that are beginning to offer hunting clothing for women,” Mason said. “The big manufacturers are making more clothing, but there are a lot of small manufacturers that are realizing that the number of women hunters is growing exponentially every year.
“We don’t sell gimmicky stuff like T-shirts with goofy sayings on them. We sell quality merchandise that serves a purpose. We know our clientele and what they want.”