In my experience with Airsoft "large" and "retailer" should not be used in the same sentence.
Airsoft is growing in popularity, but it is still not large enough to support any 'super-retailer' yet. There are dedicated enterprises, some here, some in the US. The US is large enough that in some places you have brick-and-mortar operations (Airsoft Knoxville is one I have been to) but almost all of them rely in good part on an internet presence and internet sales. There also seems to be an ebb and flow to their success and failure, which is usually linked to the amount of interest that is shown in the operation by the principals involved, or, the financial state of the business. Many are hobbyists that have found a fun niche and are trying to make a business out of it (do what you know) and make it work until they get bored with it or it costs them too much personally. Some are paintball operations that have diversified. Others have businesses that work for a time and then fail because they were not financed properly. And some seem to go on forever, despite repeated bad experiences documented by customers (Evike for one). I suppose if you're around long enough and are large enough, you're bound to piss people off - but thats not necessarily a measure of success I would use.
Actually, my theory is that once Airsoft reaches a certain level of acceptance, you'll see it rival paintball in the way that it is retailed and you'll see more big-box stores selling popular airsoft 'brands' that they can stock on a shelf (witness the Kracken and Bass Pro for instance, or Canadian Tire and paintball guns).
The flip side of this is that some of the best retailers out there with the best prices and customer service, are not always the largest ones. When it comes to parts and specialty items, I think the smaller specialists have a leg over the big guys (guys like MadMax and Illusion for instance have YEARS of expertise in specific areas of airsoft and their customer service is based on a personal ethos, not a company policy.)
Last edited by Scarecrow; June 15th, 2009 at 09:29..