Indoor Range Advantage

Cross-Selling Benefits Of Indoor Shooting.

If you have an indoor range as part of your retail operation, there’s a good chance you’re seeing increased business. With the growth of target shooting in the U.S., there are profits to be made by bringing shooters to your indoor range for target practice and training. However, profits aren’t just limited to the range side of your business — the spinoff sales into your retail side can be considerable.

In the fiercely competitive firearms market, diversification is the key to broadening your customer base for increased sales. An indoor range not only brings in new customers, but also boosts the frequency of your current shoppers. A few years ago, Hoover Tactical Firearms in Hoover, Ala., made a bold move when they added an indoor range.

“We built our indoor range in 2011; it’s approximately 10,000 square feet with 12 pistol and eight rifle lanes,” said Kerry Bradley, Hoover Tactical general manager. “Each pistol lane is 25 yards long and the rifle lanes are 50 yards. It has been a great success for our business. The range is very profitable and makes money through rentals, ammo, corporate events and membership sales.”

Bradley provided several insights on how his store’s indoor range operates — and the numerous perks available to members.

“For our range, the minimum age requirement is 10 years of age, and we require young people under the age of 21 to be accompanied by a legal guardian. We offer our customers a variety of different membership plans varying from six-month to annual plans. Corporate memberships are available as well. Membership also includes access to our Member’s Lounge. We offer our members a reduced ‘Happy Hour’ rate during the mid-day hours of 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Monday through Friday,” he said.

In addition to the range, Hoover Tactical uses another portion of its square footage to further generate income. “We have a large conference room, which we rent out for special events such as corporate parties and teambuilding exercises for groups to participate in,” Bradley said.

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Hoover Tactical’s Test Drive program can turn a rental into a retail sale.

Offer Your Customers A “Test Drive”

Imagine the benefit of allowing your customer to try out a range of firearms just as auto consumers do before they buy a car or truck? This is exactly what Hoover Tactical allows its customers to do. The company’s innovative Test Drive program affords their customers access to a wide range of firearms — both handguns and rifles — which they can rent and try out at the range.

“The Test Drive program provides profits for both our range and retail side,” Bradley said. “It gives customers the opportunity to shoot a firearm they’re interested in for a relatively inexpensive rate — which in turn helps them avoid the possibility of spending a lot of money that could lead to a case of buyer’s remorse. Afterwards, if they choose to purchase that model of firearm, we discount the price of the gun to cover the Test Drive cost.”

Hoover Tactical maintains a robust selection of firearms available for rental.

“We typically have 65 to 85 handguns for rent and up to 15 rifles in a broad selection of name brands and calibers. In addition, we offer an array of full autos and suppressors for rent as well,” Bradley said.

Generally, handgun shooters make up for the large majority of range customers, but the company had the foresight to accommodate rifle shooters as well. If you’re going to make the investment to build a range, why not accommodate both?

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Birchwood Casey Eze-Scorer

Make Access Easy

Everything about the complex’s layout is geared toward making it more simple for Hoover Tactical’s customers to get from the retail space to the indoor range. A broad passageway on the east side of the retail space opens up into a common area where the deli — yes, they have one of those, too — Member’s Lounge, conference room and range are located. The ember’s check-in area has a row of shelved display cases where Hoover’s wide range of rental handguns can be easily viewed. Long guns are displayed behind the counter. At check-in, the customer has a choice of targets for purchase to suit the type of shooting he or she planned.

The opposite wall has dark glass windows, which offer a view into the range. Shooting lanes are spacious and range officers are on hand to make sure firearms are used properly and safely. In addition to all of the standard range fees, Hoover Tactical offers firearms training classes ranging from basic firearms operation and safety to NRA certification — yet another income generator for the company.

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Training courses can be an income generator at an indoor range. Here, a Hoover
Tactical range instructor reviews target results with a student.

Indoor Ranges Enhance Sales

According to Bradley, retail sales of firearms is the biggest cross-selling category from the company’s range to the retail floor, but it doesn’t stop there. The symbiotic relationship between an indoor range and retail store can be a source of revenue from ammunition and firearms accessories sales as well.

“We obviously sell quite a bit of ammunition as a direct result of having the range — but customers also buy a lot of shooting-oriented accessories such as magazines, eyewear, ear protection, targets, sights and range bags,” he said. “Anything a customer needs can be found in our retail store just steps away from the range.”

In essence, your retail store can be a buffet for range members.

The merits of offering an indoor range to your customers are many. You’ll need dedicated space for an indoor range and there will be start-up costs, but it’s an investment that can add to your cash flow immediately. It provides long-term profits from both the range and the sizable spillover in retail sales. If you’ve been wanting to set your store apart from the competition, an indoor range could be just what you need to target more profits!
By Pat Covert

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