By Errol Castens
OXFORD – Lafayette County’s first commercial indoor shooting range will begin operation Monday when Hunter’s Hollow opens in its new location at 658 Highway 6 West.
The new outdoor sports store will be more than two-and-a-half times the size of its longtime location on West Oxford Loop, which closed Friday to make the transition.
In addition to nearly half an acre of retail space for everything from firearms, ammo and archery to game calls, camo and coolers, the store offers “Thunder Hollow,” a 10-lane indoor range for pistol shooting, including rental guns. The 25-yard, climate-controlled, air-purified range also can accommodate rifle sighting, and there’s also a 35-yard indoor archery range, “Whisper Hollow.”
“Ours is a family-oriented store. Although we sell tactical stuff, we’re really after the family end,” said owner Donny Guest. “Nobody has a pistol and rifle range connected to the retail store. This is a first.”
The new store is designed to be a destination shopping experience.
“We’ve got couches to let parents sit down while the kids play,” Guest said, noting a laser hunting scenario and an archery system in which air-suspended balls are targets for Nerf-style arrows. “A family can come in here, and if the husband wants to shoot on the pistol range – or if the wife wants to shoot while the husband waits – they can sit and watch CNN or Fox News on big-screen TVs.”
Marty Bardo of B&B Glass installed the bulletproof, noise-abating windows between Thunder Hollow and the adjoining lounge.
“You can’t go to Bass Pro Shops and have some of the amenities you have here,” he said.
Monday is the soft opening for the store, but a two-week grand opening celebration is scheduled for Sept. 8-20, as people gear up for fall and winter hunting. While store employees were scheduled to work all weekend setting up fixtures and stocking merchandise, Guest noted that despite a planned stock of more than 1,600 guns, the firearms display may look scant for a day or two.
“You can’t just bring the guns and set them up,” he said. “This is a new address, which requires a new license, which requires you log every one of these guns out of there and log every one of them in over here. We’re only able to bring over what we can log out in a day.”
Retired Oxford Police Capt. Andy Waller will work with the range and classes that are being developed.
“The first class will be a three-hour introduction to handguns, and we’ll branch out from there,” he said.
Both memberships and single-use rates are available for both the gun range and the archery range, which is flanked by yet another lounge.
“There’s a lot to offer here,” Guest said. “We’re excited about it.”