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Bob Farmer's Story

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      Bob Farmer in his gunsmith shopDrive the country roads through the rolling farmland of northwest Iowa east of Sioux City and north of Highway 20 and soon you will arrive in Kingsley. Cruise into the small town with quaint tree-lined streets and mom-and-pop shops, then drive up Burlington Street. Tucked away behind a little cream-colored house, The Shooting Shop is every gun owner’s dream. Most importantly, it is Bob Farmer’s dream that has been realized.

      At age 47, Farmer’s vision began to deteriorate from retinitis pigmentosa and he was forced to rethink his working life. He was laid off from his longtime job as a purchasing agent for Dean Foods.

      “I didn’t know what I was going to do,” he said. “There’s not a lot of job opportunities in Kingsley.”

      David Lenz, an employment specialist with the Iowa Department for the Blind, met with Farmer and had a frank discussion about his future. Farmer told Lenz about his dream of being a gunsmith. Once the seed was planted, the project was underway.

      When Bob held the Shooting Shop’s grand opening in September of 2010, more than 100 people came to explore the store and meet him. Local media also covered the shop’s opening and wrote about this blind man who is becoming a gunsmith. Farmer now keeps himself busy with the store 16 hours a day. He performs detailed and intricate work on the guns he fixes. He also creates custom ammunition and sells retail guns of all makes and kinds. Every day his business seems to grow, Farmer says. He recently had an offer to move his shop to nearby Sioux City or Moville, which he turned down.

      “I’ve got something to get up for now,” Farmer said.