Growing Reno marketing company – which moonlights in antique gun sales – to fill more jobs in 2020
RENO, Nev. — John Dunlap felt in over his head. By 1999, the Sacramento native had already cut his teeth designing Flash-based websites for various entities, primarily law firms and lobbying firms. This specific freelance gig, however, was different — bigger.
Dunlap, completely self-taught, was hired to develop and design the website for the California Restaurant Association (CRA), not only the biggest trade association in the state, but also the biggest state restaurant association in the entire nation.
Oh, and Dunlap was not exactly long in the tooth at the time. He was 17 years old.
“I was in high school and suddenly hired to spearhead a $30,000 project and trying to figure that out,” said Dunlap, who, in-between class and homework, designed the expansive CRA site from his bedroom. “That was exciting for me. It’s what made a name for myself and led to subsequent work in Sacramento.”
ROAD TO RENO
It also paved the way for Dunlap, a graduate of the University of Nevada, Reno, to start his own company, D4 Advanced Media, which he launched in the Biggest Little City in 2005.
Starting as a one-man web design and information technology company, Dunlap’s startup, 15 years later, has evolved into a full-service digital marketing agency with more than 200 clients and a staff of 15.
In fact, to accommodate its growth, D4 recently expanded into a new location at 4865 Longley Lane in South Reno, boosting its office size from 1,500 square feet to 8,000 square feet. Further, over the last three years, D4 has enjoyed a 25% increase in revenue each year, Dunlap said.
“Northern Nevada has been a great place to start and grow my business,” Dunlap told the NNBW. “We see a void here in our area for providing a broad spectrum of product design by marketing, web design development and internet advertising services.
“So, we’re going to continue to grow, helping businesses in our area with those things.”
To that end, Dunlap said D4 is responding to a demand for helping businesses — from longtime companies to startups — create and develop products and improve existing products. For example, Dunlap said, D4 helped Reno-based financial services company ClearGate develop an app that enables service-based industries to take payments on site.
“We’re doing more than just digital marketing,” he explained. “We’re helping them develop new product ideas, craft the strategy behind them to help with the operation processes, launch the project, and continue to manage, market and develop it.”
MORE THAN MARKETING
An energetic entrepreneur, Dunlap’s company does more than web design and digital marketing. In 2013, the UNR graduate pivoted into the firearms industry, starting D4 Guns, a subsidiary of D4 Advanced Media.
According to the company, D4 Guns is a made up of a Nevada-based team of firearms curators on the hunt for rare and collectible firearms in an effort to keep their heritage alive and pass them down to the next generation of firearms enthusiasts.
Dunlap said he conceived the idea when he found out a family member had inherited an old deer-hunting rifle that they weren’t comfortable keeping in their home and needed to sell it in a safe and legal manner.
“A lot of people have this same problem,” Dunlap explained. “As an older generation who has collected firearms is now passing on, valuable guns are being passed on to the next generation who have very little interest in owning them.
“So, we created a website for people to get an appraisal of how much their firearms are worth. And if they would like to sell it, we navigate helping them through that process.”
And D4 Guns helps a lot of customers. In fact, in January, the company was recognized as a top-100 seller on GunBroker.com, receiving the official award at the National Shooting Sports Foundation’s Shot Show in Las Vegas.
“We sell anywhere between $20,000 to $30,000 worth of firearms a week on that platform,” Dunlap said.
Notably, according to the company, D4 donates 5 percent of its net profit to Project ChildSafe, a program of the National Shooting Sports Foundation to promote firearms safety and education.
As for the future of D4 Advanced Media, Dunlap sees nothing but growth on the horizon.
“I project this year probably doubling (our revenue),” said Dunlap, citing the company’s increased focus on developing products and services as a key factor. “We’ve had more and more of our clientele who saw us as experts in terms of creating ideas and then implementing them.”
As a result, Dunlap said he expects the company to hire up to six people over the next six months. In an email to the NNBW, Dunlap said the company’s salaries for current and prospective staff range from $38,000 a year to $125,000.
“I point out many cases of where privately owned companies do just as bad a job as publicly owned companies,” says Reno resident and former teacher Robert (R.D.) Gardner.