Why adults are buying novelty guns
DESPITE multiple break-ins and the lockdown, a local sporting shop is continuing to thrive as more locals take an interest in the growing sport of gel blasting.
AusBlasters Hatton Vale owner Rocky Ballerini said despite the lockdown, interest in his products was growing.
"I personally think there's a lot more people coming in to have a look," Mr Ballerini said.
Gel blasters look like real weapons but fire water-filled gel balls.
Far from being just novelty toys, gel blasting has become a popular sport, similar to paintball.
And the types of people getting into the game aren't who you would expect.
"There was a survey out on gel blasters … and what they found the majority of people purchasing gel blasters are 30-55 (years old)," he said.
In the Lockyer Valley the sport is taking off and families are increasingly getting involved.
"We just had a family in the store … a lovely family, all girls and one boy," he said.
"It's definitely becoming a family sport, if it hasn't already."
With AusBlasters being the only supplier of the toys and parts, business is booming.
But it hasn't been an easy ride.
Starting the business in his garage, it quickly grew in size and moved into a shopfront at the Big Elephant shopping precinct at Hatton Vale.
The business has repeatedly been targeted by thieves and Mr Ballerini said the multiple attacks almost sank the business.
"On the second and then fourth break-in that we had I honestly nearly threw the towel in," he said.
But he credited his wife for keeping him going with his venture, and despite Covid-19 hitting not long after, the business is now stronger than ever.
Mr Ballerini also warned potential thieves the store was now locked up "like Fort Knox" but also asked locals to keep an eye out for anything suspicious and report it to police.