In 2009, Shepard Humphries took Don, a friend that had retired to Jackson Hole, out shooting in the forest. Don had recently moved from Chicago after selling his company, and had a stack of inherited guns that he wanted to learn how to use. Knowing Shepard’s background in executive protection, security consultation and law enforcement SWAT, including promoting through the ranks from the Perimeter team to the Entry team, then the Sniper team where he rose to Team Leader, Don decided to ask for guidance.
After shooting for a couple hours, Don made a suggestion to Shepard, “You ought to start a business teaching city folks like me how to shoot.” Thus it began.
Shepard began his research, and discovered that the term he and his wife thought would best describe their vision, “Shooting Experience” was only being used by one firm, a Jeep tour business in Arizona that offered a quick “get out and shoot” shooting excursion as part of their off-road experience. The only existing business that was performing shooting experiences similar to Shepard’s vision was Manhattan Shooting Excursions on the East Coast.
JHSE (Jackson Hole Shooting Experience) started with 4 guns, which Shepard would lay on a blanket on the ground, then have his guests shoot at paper targets attached to cardboard boxes. He sought out the counsel of luxury hoteliers Marcus Staffer and Stuart Campbell, learned some tricks of serving UHNWI from luxury fishing guide Bill Drui, began acquiring training certifications, added guns, made many right and wrong turns with marketing and by the end of 2010 had only served 10 groups and learned much.
In 2011, business more than tripled, Shepard received more hard knocks, learned from them, added more guns, and was recruited by the manager of a local range to make the Jackson Hole Gun Club the “home range” of the Jackson Hole Shooting Experience. Meanwhile, Shepard continued running his other business, where he also learned much about business.
Shepard’s wife Lynn “business brains” Sherwood, took notice of the shooting experience and began helping part time. Her experience starting businesses as well as buying and fixing broken businesses and previously as a charge nurse in a busy ER, lent to her skill in helping grow JHSE. Shepard and Lynn also leaned heavily on advice given over years by their mentors Ed and Shirley Cheramy. The vision of what a luxury shooting experience should look like was further honed.
In 2012 Lynn came on board part-time while still working her “hobby” business as a commodities trader. She continued growing the business and helping refine the offerings. Shepard sold his other most time-consuming company. 2012 was the year that JHSE changed from being a “hobby” to being a small business. Google searches of “shooting experience” began showing many copycats, first only in the US, then around the world. Some even copied JHSE experience descriptions and webpage design elements.
Each year since, JHSE management has carefully honed all aspects of the business, making operations more efficient, the guest experience even better and increasing sales. Shepard & Lynn have helped others seeking to start similar businesses and now offer professional consultation for luxury shooting experience business as well as unique partnership structuring that can include elements of financing, franchising, licensing and general consultation.
Shepard and Lynn are lifelong business development students, from reading books, attending Tony Robbins’ Business Mastery seminar and even in down-time watching entrepreneurial shows on TV, they love all things entrepreneurial! From seeking out the counsel of organization communications consultant John Morgan to attending business seminars by Tony Robbins and others, this luxury shooting industry duo have done much of the hard work so that your business journey will be easier. Now, they enjoy sharing what they have learned in their unique teaching style to help others improve.
Shepard looks back, “It wasn’t available back then, but if we could have spent $50k or traded a bit of equity to get great counsel and prevented wasted time and money inventing the wheel, it would have been such a benefit.”