Word on the Street: A touch of old West at Clovis gun shop

Fresno Bee staffAugust 4, 2013 

Co-owner Mark Wall, left, opened Clovis Old West Arms in the heart of Old Town Clovis in early May. With him are employees Brandt Weber and Wall's son, Andrew Wall.

TIM SHEEHAN — Fresno Bee Staff Photo Buy Photo

It's a little hard to find, tucked away behind a coffeehouse in Clovis' Old Town district, but Mark Wall said that doesn't seem to be hampering business at Clovis Old West Arms.

Wall and his partner, David Kroeker, opened the gun store three months ago in a building they own at 520B Clovis Ave., between Fifth and Sixth streets. The front of the building is occupied by Kuppa Joy, and Clovis Old West Arms has its own entrance out back, just off the parking lot for the old 500 Club cardroom.

Clovis already has its share of gun dealers — the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms lists 22 federal firearms licensees in the community.

But Wall and Kroeker, who are general contractors by trade, "have been sportsmen all our lives and we love to shoot," Wall said. "We've both always wanted to open a gun store ... so we did, and now it's kind of consuming all our time."

The store is an authorized dealer of Beretta handguns, rifles and shotguns and also stocks a variety of modern guns as well as firearms dating to the Revolutionary War, Wall said. "Dave and I are both collectors, and this allows us to do more of that, too," he said.

Business has been buoyed by a clientele that includes retired law-enforcement officers, and the store has a small lounge with a sofa and a couple of chairs, coffee and a TV where customers can hang out and relax. "We want to encourage people to stay in the store," Wall said.

Details: (559) 325-1965 or on Facebook at http://bit.ly/ClovisArms.

Bottle-popping phone

A recent Fresno State grad and several engineering students are hoping to launch an unusual product: an iPhone case with a bottle opener in it.

Nhia Moua and three current students have started the company CarbonForce. They have a prototype and are hoping to raise $12,000 on Kickstarter so they can manufacture and sell the cellphone case.

The case is made from carbon fiber, a material that is stronger than steel, with the opener embedded in the back of the case. It will fit the iPhone 5 and 5s.

Moua graduated in the spring with a degree in business administration and an emphasis on entrepreneurship. He was required to start a company his senior year and wondered how he could make a cellphone case more useful.

"What if it had some functionality?" he said. "In college, kids like to party — not necessarily us — but how about we use that idea and mesh it with the carbon fiber?"

The team, which includes engineering students Alex Johnson, Matthew Borra and Jose Delgado, is using the website Kickstarter.com to raise money.

They are not selling the case yet, but people can preorder it by pledging an investment on Kickstarter. The team won't get any of the money pledged by the public unless it raises all $12,000 by Aug. 30.

Details: carbonforcecase.com.

Zip through the night

Zip Yosemite is adding a new moonlight tour to its already popular mix of zip lines in the Sierra National Forest, just outside Yosemite National Park.

"The Sierra night sky offers some amazing diversity, especially when zipping high in the trees," said Wade Beane, of Zip Yosemite in Oakhurst.

Beane said visitors can choose between the glow of a moon shadow 100 feet below, or the crisp views of the constellations.

The Moonlight Tours are on Friday and Saturday evenings through the summer.

Tours run for about three hours and cost $125 per person.

Beane advises that guests check the lunar calendar if they're looking for a moonlit sail through the canopy, or a star-filled sky.

Zip Yosemite is located in Oakhurst at the Calvin Crest Retreat Center. The tour contains six zip lines ranging in length from 200 to 1,000 feet, three suspension bridges and two rappel stations.

Zip Yosemite is one of the more than 30 zipline projects designed by Experience Based Learning or EBL, which was the first commercial entity to install zip line tours in the United States in 2002.

Details: ZipYosemite.com or call 559-642-6688.


Tim Sheehan, Bethany Clough and Robert Rodriguez contributed to Word on the Street. It was compiled by Clough. The reporter can be reached at (559) 441-6431, bclough@fresnobee.com or @BethanyClough on Twitter.

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