LYNCHBURG, Va. – Construction is almost complete on a project that's expected to be a big economic addition to the Lynchburg region.
A new $5 million indoor gun range and retail store is set to open by the end of summer.
See the progress they've made since WSLS 10 last spoke to them.
SafeSide Tactical is nearing completion of the construction of its second facility, which is the first of its kind in Lynchburg.
"It's exciting to see where we are now. Paints and finishes are going on, doors are being hung, stonework and masons are kind of wrapped up and we are at the point now where we are at the countdown to hopefully open later this month,” said facility manager and owner of SafeSide Tactical Mitch Tyler.
The first phase of the indoor firing range will feature 22 lanes. That includes 18 pistol lanes and four 100-yard plus rifle ranges, potentially the longest on the east coast.
Tyler said this expansion will also expand retail options for customers at both locations.
"Our buying power between Roanoke and Lynchburg is increasing so we expect to have better flow of supplies and accessories and ammo and firearms. We also expect to be able to offer better discounts on things during promotions,” Tyler said. He also said membership will include some transferrable aspects between both locations.
The new facility will bring with it at least 25 job openings. Tyler said they have already received more than 200 applications.
“I think they are going to love everything,” Tyler said. "It's just a neat opportunity, and, our family is excited about, our staff and of course the community as well."
Brothers Mitchell and Matthew Tyler first opened a small family-owned shop in Vinton. That business, featuring hand-crafted weapons, quickly turned into a booming business. The Tylers just expanded their business in Roanoke. That location features a 101-yard indoor shooting range, the longest east of the Mississippi.
The Lynchburg location, a 60-thousand-square site may be shy of Roanoke’s floor space, but will exceed it with more ranges.
"Whether we are serving law enforcement, or other training needs or other large groups, we have the opportunity to be one of the largest ranges on the east coast as far as lane counts,” Tyler said.
Phase two of the project could mean up to 40 more indoor ranges that builds on top of the already impressive number the facility will hold. Those already installed even include instructional bays that allow a safety officer to be on deck at all times.
Tyler said training will be the focus of the new facility.
“The targetry system in the pistol bay will do computer drills, They will turn, They will charge at you. We can do shoot, no-shoot scenarios so you will have to have a target on one side with a ‘bad guy’ pointing a gun at you, and the back side he is holding a remote control so you have to decide whether to pull the trigger or not,” Tyler said.
Despite the impressive technology, the first thing customers will see when they walk into the massive facility is training rooms. That was done on purpose. It’s part of Tyler’s focus of the facility.
"Here, what we realized is that people want to see that. They want to understand that you are focusing on the safety training. So when you walk in this facility you are going to be walking past our three large training rooms. It will give you a chance to see what's going on, whether we are doing a simulation, or a private corporate group,” Tyler explained.
The facility will provide space to instruct up to 40 people at one time.
“When Jimmy Ferguson, who is the owner of the facility here came to us about the idea of partnering with SafeSide, the safety training was a big element that was on his mind: How do we afford the citizens and the law enforcement community something that they may not have access to,” Tyler said.
Tyler said they are also working to accommodate Liberty University's growing interest in creating an Olympic Level training ground on a competitive level. He said in addition to regular memberships, they will also offer a student membership at $20 dollars a month with no rental fees.
The indoor range is expected to have a soft opening by the beginning of September. A grand opening will be held soon after when retail is added to the range.