Josh Ungier, CEO of Pyramyd Air, Talks To HAM.
As everyone knows, Pyramyd Air is the world’s largest dedicated reseller of airguns and associated products. But what’s the story behind the company and its great success?
To find out, HAM Publisher Stephen Archer visited Pyramyd Air’s headquarters in Solon, OH and spoke to Josh Ungier – Pyramyd Air’s Owner, Founder and CEO. Josh talked to me about his own background, the history of Pyramyd Air and where he sees the future for his business.
He Started Early.
Josh – as he describes it – “was bought up on guns”. As a child growing-up in Ukraine in the years after the Second World War, “firearms were everywhere”. They were just lying loaded on the ground as battlefield debris that had never been collected or made safe by the government or army. And, of course, like any child, he was fascinated by these guns and played with them.
Amazing as this might seem today, Josh says there were no accidents. His father taught him kindly, but thoroughly, to handle guns safely. So he learned from an early age to be proficient handling guns, to shoot safely and derive pleasure from shooting.
These early lessons have never left him. Even now, many years later, they remain at the core of his thinking at Pyramyd Air. Josh is dedicated to the shooting sports – particularly airgun shooting – and he strongly feels a responsibility to help others share and enjoy his passion. He shoots with his wife, his children and their families. And he’s proud to have taught them to shoot safely and enjoy the sport.
For Josh Ungier, education is key to helping his customers enjoy shooting safely. That’s why Pyramyd Air has always led in providing information about the products his company sells. He’s proud to have embraced Internet technology to spread this education. Pyramyd Air is famous for its blogs, videos and customer product reviews. All this is a result of this drive to educate safe and happy airgun shooters.
But Josh has also gone way beyond this “customer service” aspect of education. When needed, Pyramyd Air has stepped out into the political arena to protect and support all shooters. One example was their successful campaign in 2010/1 against California Senate Bill 798. That Bill would have mandated that airguns and airsoft guns in California be either brightly-colored or clear. Thanks largely to the efforts of Pyramyd Air, that crazy Bill died in committee.
From Then To Now.
Pyramyd Air grew out of Josh’s Ukranian background. These led him to explore the possibility of exporting US-made shotguns to the USSR. The project didn’t work out, but on a trip to Russia, Josh Ungier saw some interesting, Russian IZH air rifles that had never been seen in the US. The rest, as they say, is history…
Of course, Pyramyd Air was not always a big operation. Josh described how the company was founded in 1993 with just 450 square feet of space in the basement of his home. Growth happened fast and the company moved multiple times in the Cleveland area. Today Pyramyd Air operates from a 65,000 square foot building and has 70 employees!
Below, the huge packing area in the Solon OH warehouse where all your Pyramyd Air orders originate. (It was late in the day when we saw this, that’s why there’s nobody around!
Turn around and there’s airguns, pellets and other products arriving in great quantities to fill the demand.
As well as a strong focus on the then-emerging Internet (can you remember or imagine a time before this?), the growth of Pyramyd Air took some big steps with acquisitions. In 2006, Pyramyd Air acquired the well-known online airgun dealer Airgun Express of Montezuma, Iowa. And then in 2010 Compasseco, the Bardstown, Kentucky Internet airgun dealer also became part of the ever-growing Pyramyd Air empire.
In the Entertainment Business.
For now and the future, Josh sees a bright future for airguns in the USA. As he says, “Pyramyd Air is in the entertainment business”. He sees that safe, proficient shooting – as his father taught him – is a source of real entertainment and enjoyment for millions of people.
Of course his company is the supplier for many of the airguns, scopes, pellets and accessories used as entertainment across the country. And Josh has never let up on his drive to educate his customers – and all airgunners – in the benefits of our sport.
Being in the entertainment business means that Pyramyd Air has been proud to sponsor the annual Pyramyd Air Cup. “The Cup” combines Field Target, Silhouette and other competitive shooting competitions. It requires a huge commitment from his company but Josh Ungier is happy with seeing so many people enjoying themselves, shooting safely. And he’s there too, watching the action, talking to everyone and taking to the floor to make the formal speech at the Gala Dinner that’s a feature of every Pyramyd Air Cup.
Below. A scene at the 2015 Pyramyd Air Cup.
Into The Future.
With the increasing urbanization of the USA, more and more firearms shooters are turning to airguns, says Josh. Here is another group of shooters who need education and information on airguns and his company is happy to support them.
And Pyramyd Air is still pushing the boundaries…
Josh excitedly told me all about the – then still secret – Air Venturi Wing Shot PCP bolt-action shotgun and how he saw this new .50 caliber gun would appeal to a whole new group of hunters who may never have considered an airgun before. Now the Wing Shot is available and we can share his enthusiasm for ourselves.
Pyramyd Air is still growing and there’s more to come!