Bright Lights, Big City and Beretta

By writes The Realblog with Stephanie Mallory

Ainsley Beeman is a guest blogger on The RealBlog. Ainsley is not only the 2009 Miss LSU, but she’s also a hunter. Ainsley is fairly new to the outdoor industry, although she’s hunted since childhood. She enjoys sharing with you her experiences as a woman in the outdoor industry and on the hunt.

There are a few things in life that I take seriously: First and foremost my relationship with the Lord, my family and friends; however, anyone who knows me can also tell you that I have spent a fair amount of time pursuing whitetails as well as toting my share of shopping bags. While I don't consider myself to be an anomaly, I do look at life through a different lens than many.  As much as I do love the glamour of the big city, I can truly appreciate the wilderness as well.

Recently I found myself strolling down Madison Avenue in New York City. As I perused through the designer stores, I came upon a beautiful three story stone building. Much to my surprise, there in the heart of NYC, the fashion capitol of the world, next door to Jimmy Choo and across the street from Chanel stood eloquently poised “The Beretta Gallery.”

Instinctively I drew a bead on the entrance and soon found myself visiting with Robert Booz, the international director of The Beretta Gallery, who was kind enough to spend some time with me during my stay in NYC. I was fortunate to observe him wrapping up a photo shoot on the traditional gun floor. Afterward, Robert was gracious enough to give me a tour of the store and many fascinating details on all things Beretta. From guns to apparel, Beretta is exceptional.  Tradition and sophistication are etched into every gun and stitched into every piece of clothing. It was obvious that Robert knew a thing or two about mixing fashion and the outdoor life.  Ladies, if you are looking for unique clothing tailored perfectly to your silhouette, this may be the place for you. Regarding rich tweeds, cashmere, and camouflage, you will find that this fall's collection has something perfect for your outdoor fashion needs.  As a woman, I was refreshed to see a company that truly believes there is a market for women in the outdoors. Robert contrasted the catering to the multitudes concept to the market of women’s outdoor apparel and left-handed shooters. He soon laughed when he learned that I am a left-eye dominant shooter as well.  We concluded that I was out to defy the odds.

In a state where gun laws are fierce, I soon discovered that Beretta respectfully paves the way for upstate outdoorsmen, housing various firearms. All are available to view with the exception of the handgun, which too can be viewed when presenting proper ID and your NYC pistol permit.  Robert further explained that because of the laws, every single gun that is brought in house has to be first cleared by the NYPD documenting serial number, caliber, barrel length and type, as well as an annual inspection. Beretta also houses the only gunsmith in New York City.

When asked what did he see for the future outdoor industry, Robert felt that more young people needed to get involved in order to carry on the tradition. We both agreed that media could be used to intrigue people from different walks of life and promote all the great outdoors has to offer.  For example, clientele at this particular venue range from the typical domestic NYC tourist like myself, to sports icons, musicians and movie stars.  In my opinion, it further proves that there is a longing inside all of us, regardless of how or where we were raised, to come back to nature and experience the good Lord's creation.

The Beretta Gallery is owned by the Beretta family and designed after their original home in Italy.  Robert smiled as he told me one of the greatest compliments he’s received was from a customer last Christmas exclaiming, “Wow! It’s like Ralph Lauren with guns.” and I can attest that at first glance while walking down Madison Ave it did strike me as an anomaly. The Beretta Gallery of NYC is quite unique, extremely interesting, and definitely has its place on Madison Avenue, further confirming my philosophy there is a place for everyone in the great outdoors!