Wednesday, January 16, 2013
Upscale shooting range is like Neiman’s of gun stores
Investors suspect gun-control frenzy will bolster an already "recession-proof" industry.
FRISCO The word "luxurious" is not often used to describe gun ranges, but that could change when the Frisco Gun Club opens later this year.
The long-awaited club officially broke ground Friday at the corner of Eldorado Parkway and Research Road. Construction on the 43,000-square-foot facility should take seven to eight months, allowing for a late summer opening, CEO Christian Putnam said.
"Just the décor inside will set it apart," Putnam said. "It will be like shopping at Neiman's compared to shopping at Walmart. You are going to have an upscale environment with the club and training area."
The shooting range will be completely enclosed with 40 shooting lanes, including four 100-yard rifle lanes. In addition, the facility will feature nearly 7,000 square feet of retail as well as a members-only lounge with private dining.
The Frisco Gun Club will be Putnam's second range -- he also owns the Bullet Trap in Plano, which he bought in 2010.
"When I bought the Bullet Trap I was planning on building something up here in McKinney or Frisco," he said. "I have always been a gun enthusiast, but I bought the Bullet Trap because it was a great money-making opportunity. Ever since then, there has been a lot of demand and interest in a nicer, newer facility. We got all the pieces together and made it happen."
Bob du Fief, a Frisco resident and an investor in the club, said Frisco is the perfect location for a club of this quality.
"Frisco is one of the most underserved communities in the country since we have no firearms ranges or gun retail stores within the city limits," he said. "The nearest range is the Bullet Trap, which is about 20 miles away. The demographics of this city are amazing, so this was a no-brainer."
All of the perks at the Frisco Gun Club won't come cheap. Individual memberships range from $225 for the basic package to $7,500 for the top-of-the-line VIP membership. Non-members may rent lanes for $20 per hour.
While recent talk about increasing restrictions on gun ownership has caused many gun owners to stock up on firearms and ammunition, Putnam said business has steadily increased over the past few years.
"At the Bullet Trap, we did $5.2 million in sales in 2011 and we did roughly $6.5 million in 2012," he said. "It really wasn't related to what has occurred recently. It has been a very good business to be in since it is somewhat recession-proof. We grew 30 percent each year during the recession. With all of the talk about gun control, I think this year is going to be crazy."
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