Elk River Guns reloads with new owner
After nearly three decades working as a gunsmith and 15 years as the owner of Elk River Guns in Steamboat Springs, Ken Constantine wanted to retire to spend some time on his fishing boat in Maui.
However, before Constantine felt comfortable casting his line into the water, he wanted to find the right person to carry on his store’s role in the communities of Northwest Colorado. Last week, Constantine sold his business to Jae Seifert.
“I’ve shoveled all the snow I plan on shoveling for the rest of my life,” Constantine said last week after closing the sale of his business. “Our customers’ loyal support has made the business successful, and I’ve done my part. But boy, people in this town and the county certainly responded. This is among the most enjoyable jobs I’ve ever done.”
Constantine got his start 29 years ago when he began working as a gunsmith out of a small workshop in his home in Steamboat Springs. He also worked for TIC and as regional director for Ducks Unlimited.
When the Golden Cue closed its doors about 15 years ago, Constantine and his wife, Cindy, took over the space at 1320 Dream Island Plaza and completely renovated the former pool hall, transforming it into Elk River Guns. Constantine operated the store, and Cindy took care of the books.
Over the years, the store has become a place where gun owners in Steamboat and across Routt County could find hunting rifles, handguns, ammunition and gear.
Constantine took pride in helping families get their children into shooting sports, supporting 4-H shooting programs and being a member of the Routt County Rifle Club board for more than 25 years and a member of the Yampa Valley Educational Foundation board.
“This has always been a store for the hunter and firearms enthusiast,” Constantine said. “Jae is going to do great and take it in some new directions.”
Seifert moved to Steamboat from Bemidji, Minnesota, eight years ago and spent his first winter living in the basement of his aunt’s Steamboat home. He worked as a photographer at Steamboat Resort and at the Space Station downtown before eventually landing a job at the Mac Ranch. When the owner decided to sell that business, Seifert purchased it and ran it for eight years before closing in May to focus on the gun shop.
“Shooting and firearms have been a passion of mine for a long time, so I’m excited to be able to continue the legacy of this store here in Routt County,” Seifert said. “I’ve actually been running my own gun store out of the back of my computer store for a few years. I was constantly looking for ways to expand, but I just didn’t have the ability to grab a bigger store. Ken and I actually started talking a few years ago about this, and to finally be able to make a deal happen, I think we’re both pretty excited.”
Seifert is a competitive shooter, and he travels to Wyoming, Utah and the Front Range to compete in three-gun and two-gun competitions. He also is active in the shooting community and serves as vice president of the Routt County Rifle Club.
“The reputation of the shop is really awesome up here, and I think it can only get better,” Seifert said. “Ken has been serving the hunting and recreational shooting market for years. I’ve been more on the tactical competition side, so I’m really looking forward to getting more into hunting firearms and servicing that, because it’s such a big thing up here, and it’s such an important part of the heritage of Routt County.”
Elk River Guns offers a large selection of rifles, pistols and shotguns from names like Smith & Wesson, Glock, Ruger and SIC Sauer and optics from makers like Leupold, Burris, Bushnell and Swarovski. The store also has a full line of ammunition for target shooting, competition shooting and hunting as well as accessories including targets, hearing protection and holsters. Gunsmithing, gun repairs, scope mounting and custom stock work are also offered.
“People should expect the same great service you’ve always had from Elk River Guns,” Seifert said. “We may be expanding into some of the more modern firearms accessories. … But otherwise, I’m not trying to rewrite what Ken has done. Part of the reason I bought Elk River Guns is because Ken does such a good job.”
To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209, email jrussell@SteamboatPilot.com or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966.
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