Most of the time when one thinks of a gun shop, they imagine a fairly small and cramped space. At least, that’s been my experience with a majority of shops I’ve visited. Even the larger spaces I’ve seen (outside of the big box retailers themselves) aren’t actually terribly big. So, it’s rather amusing to read about a guy who wanted to open a gun range and gun shop who found an empty big box store to buy.
Perhaps the most unusual use of a former big-box store is William James’s Arms Room gun shop and shooting range, which opened last year in a former Circuit City store south of Houston. Mr. James spent nearly $5 million to buy the 20,000-square-foot space and convert it into a shooting range, a price he considered a bargain compared with building from scratch. The Arms Room offers handgun training courses in addition to traditional shooting practice, all in a popular shopping center anchored by Target Corp. and Home Depot Inc. stores.
“It was sort of providential,” Mr. James said in his Arms Room office, surrounded by antique swords and modern firearms. “I never dreamed of a place like this.”
The local PetSmart & Mattress Giant have both recognized the gun range for bringing in new customers. The Home Depot was willing to go on record before he opened that they had no problem with a gun range in the shopping center.
The only Pennsylvania example cited for a non-traditional use of retail space was a community theater in Harrisburg mall. It’s too bad. There’s an empty anchor store at one of our local malls that could use a gun range. :)