STURGEON BAY – Not solely is Door County getting maybe its first full-service gun retailer, it is also getting an modern indoor capturing vary and modern protecting show circumstances. And, it is in a visual constructing on a busy metropolis hall that is been ready for redevelopment.
Virlee Gunworks Capturing Heart quietly opened Thursday within the former Palmer Johnson store on Egg Harbor Highway. Proprietor and gunsmith Scott Virlee and his employees plan to make an even bigger splash with a grand opening from 10 a.m. to eight p.m. Saturday, July 31, that featured free meals, representatives from quite a few gun and accent producers, in-store specials and gun giveaways.
The greater than 10,000-square-foot Sturgeon Bay retailer is a second location in Northeast Wisconsin for Virlee, who graduated from the Colorado Faculty of Trades with a level in gunsmithing in 2003, then opened a one-man gunsmith store in 2009. He went on to open Virlee Gunworks in New Franken in 2011 as a gun gross sales and repair retailer, then expanded the store to double its authentic dimension 4 years later.
In addition to getting prospects from the close by metropolitan Inexperienced Bay space, Virlee mentioned he discovered lots of Door County gun homeowners and potential patrons have been touring down the peninsula to go to the New Franken retailer, which led him to think about Door County as a attainable second location.
Whereas weapons and a few equipment can be found at a few native shops, Virlee’s retailer is ready to carry out providers that vary from minor repairs and upkeep to alterations and customized work. He mentioned employees on the Sturgeon Bay store will be capable to deal with lots of the work, with extra sophisticated service work achieved within the New Franken store the place he has extra gunsmiths on employees.
“We now have a very robust buyer base in Door County,” Virlee mentioned. “It is only a nice group. There’s not lots up right here for gross sales and repair with an indoor vary.”
Having the ability to rehabilitate the previous Palmer Johnson store for the brand new gun retailer, the most recent in a collection of older, unused buildings being redeveloped alongside the Egg Harbor Highway hall, was an added perk for Virlee.
Initially a Save a Buck grocery retailer, famend Sturgeon Bay yacht producer Palmer Johnson purchased the property in 1992 and used it for storage, upholstery, portray and light-weight woodworking earlier than closing its Sturgeon Bay amenities in 2015. A gaggle referred to as 1023 Egg Harbor Highway LLC purchased the property in 2017, however its solely tenant till now was a landscaping firm that occupies about two-thirds of the house. One of many companions in 1023 Egg Harbor Highway LLC, Steve Estes, is a accomplice within the gun retailer.
Virlee mentioned the open idea of the constructing allowed him to design the shop the best way he wished, with room for not simply the retail shows but additionally the gun store, school rooms and the eight-lane vary.
“We got here throughout this constructing not getting used, and it was an important house for us,” Virlee mentioned. “I wished to make the most of this constructing for one thing, clear it up.”
In addition to the weapons themselves — semi-automatics, bolt-action and pump-action from all main producers, Virlee mentioned — the store sells ammunition, sights and binoculars, circumstances and lockboxes, suppressors and equipment starting from shirts to gun-themed dwelling items. Leases can be found for individuals who would possibly wish to strive a gun earlier than shopping for it.
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With entice capturing and looking being long-popular pastimes in Door County, Virlee mentioned he expects to see prospects with a spread of supposed makes use of for his or her firearms, as he does within the New Franken retailer.
“We get a bit of little bit of each, a mixture of everybody,” Virlee mentioned. “We get lots from the gun golf equipment, some leisure shooters, some aggressive, some hunters, some model new shooters. We get children who wish to study to shoot, we assist them out with their mother and father.”
The eight-lane vary is so modern, Virlee expects it to be an added attraction. It is a dwell ammunition vary whose targets seem by way of a video projection system, so shooters can name up a spread of stationary or shifting targets. Virlee mentioned the system is the primary of its form in Wisconsin and one in all 15 in use nationwide, with a price of about $130,000 for the projector and software program alone.
“Anyone who’s ever seen it, they’re simply blown away by it,” he mentioned. “There’s 20 or 30 completely different targets, they are often shifting, spinning, bowling pins, the usual stationary targets. It is nearly like taking part in a online game with dwell ammo. It is undoubtedly cutting-edge.”
The best way most of the weapons are displayed is likely one of the improvements within the retailer. The handguns and different smaller objects are housed in high-security show circumstances made by Madison-based Hoffman Manufacturing Corp., which is providing them to retailers after a nationwide sporting items retailer commissioned the corporate to design circumstances that could not be breached by something that could be utilized in a housebreaking — sledge hammer, crowbar, gunfire, hatchet — inside three minutes. To thi
s point, nobody has been in a position to break into them after quarter-hour of makes an attempt, in keeping with the corporate.
“They’re one of the best on the market, one of the best within the business,” Virlee mentioned of the Hoffman circumstances. “You possibly can hit them with a sledge hammer, hit them with gunfire, they are not going to interrupt.”
Virlee mentioned he expects to begin providing lessons within the subsequent month or so, from primary firearms coaching and upkeep to lessons on private protection and hid carry.
Additionally, yearly memberships can be found for people and households, together with company, regulation enforcement and navy memberships and a six-month “Snow Hen Membership.” They embody reductions on lessons, invitations to member occasions, a Virlee Gunworks T-shirt, capturing vary charges and vary reservations.
Virlee Gunworks Capturing Heart is at 1019 Egg Harbor Highway, Sturgeon Bay. Common hours are from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays by means of Fridays, 10 a.m. to eight p.m. Saturdays and 10 a.m. to five p.m. Sundays. For extra info, name 920-818-1034 or go to virleegunworks.com or fb.com/VirleeGunworks.
Contact Christopher Clough at 920-741-7952, 920-562-8900 or firstname.lastname@example.org.