Need One of Them There Money Trees

The indoor range a stone's throw from my house has been closed for a while now.  It has also been for sale for a while now.  I drive past this range every weekday morning and see the for sale sign.  This has not been good for my long term planning.  Every time I drive past, I see the sign and think that I ought to buy the place and run it right for a change.

The thing about this facility is that, while it is likely the nicest facility in town it has never been the best run place.  Seriously, read the reviews.  My favorite has to be this one from Yelp:
I came with a group of friends, of which, several were not caucasians.

The owner and his staff referred to my friends as "terrorists". I said I did not appreciate that and let it go. We continued small talk and then I asked how much it was going to be. He (the owner) said; "For you, It's double." 
It typically isn't great business strategy to arbitrarily harass your potential customers and then kick them out.  I never had any truly terrible experiences there, but I was never made to feel welcome.  The staff always acted like they were doing you a favor by letting you pay to shoot there.

They did refuse to allow a group of folks shoot (seven of us) because they overheard one of the group mention that it was for our NRA handgun class.  Their stance was that since they taught classes there, no one else could.  I could understand that viewpoint if they were teaching classes weekly or more often, but since they only held classes at most once a month and charged $50 more than the average going rate I didn't get how that could make business sense.

Many new shooters end up shooting again and again at the range they learned to shoot at.  Why turn away seven new, potentially repeat customers?  Most of our group of seven never went back to that range and instead still shoot at the place we ended up doing our shooting for the class at.  After that experience, I stopped taking new shooters there.  We went to the outdoor range with the similar name halfway across town.  You need a State Parks Pass to even get to it, and the RO's are huge sticklers for their numerous rules, but they actually try and make folks feel welcome.  In addition, they try to help out any way they can, especially new shooters.  I've seen the RO's help to site in a rifle, give an AR-15 lesson, and help a father and son both learn to shoot safely.

I think I could run a range like that.  The problem is that I can't figure out where I planted that dang money tree.  Well, that and I don't really know anything about running a range.


  1. Gun stores are fun to run, but indoor ranges are lucky to break even.

  2. I would think that it would be even a bit harder out here. If they are charging enough to really keep the doors open, most people will look at the cost of gas and drive 45 minutes up into the mountains in order to shoot on forest service land.

    The other plus about forest service land is that there are no ammo regulations, and a rifle can be shot from multiple positions.

  3. Greetings from Texas,
    The last couple of years I was in Houston an indoor range opened two blocks from my apartment.

    I thought this was great, until I tried to go there. Since I didn't know the rules my friend and I left our firearms in our vehicle. Coming in the door the guy behind the counter demanded in a nervous voice, "Are you guys armed?!"

    I said no that we wanted to find out about the range. He would be with us in a minute.

    So we started to look around the sales room. In an even more panicked voice he again demanded to know if we were armed. Evidently we were suppose to stand in the doorway (hands on top of our heads optioinal) until he could stop visiting with the guy at the counter. I finally told him not to worry about it and left.

    I later found out they didn't allow
    handloads, lead projectals, rapid fire and frankly can't remember what else. It became known as 'Sara Brady's Gun Range' and was out of business in less than six months. I can't say they were missed.