Gun store owner Keith Brooks has kicked off a new venture — a shooting range and restaurant — with a bang.
SharpShooter Indoor Shooting Range and Training Center opened last month, after Brooks spent $2.75 million to build the 20,000-square-foot facility on Gravois Road in Affton. Brooks has operated South Side Jewelry & Loan — which combines jewelry sales, a pawn shop, and firearm sales and loans — at an adjacent building for 21 years. “We make handgun and firearm loans,” he said. “So it was kind of a natural move for us.”
A car wash was torn down to make way for the new shooting range and the restaurant, called SharpShooter Pit & Grill, at 8135 Gravois. There’s also a new causeway connecting his existing store to the new space.
The shooting range, with 20 lanes, has an advanced ventilation system. Costing $750,000, it replaces the air in the building every 60 seconds. SharpShooter Pit & Grill is a 60-seat restaurant serving smoked meat and barbecue.
Brooks financed the project with a loan from Concord Bank. His combined business is expected to generate $3 million in revenue, he said.
Brooks said the jewelry, pawn and gun store is a $1 million business with 18 employees; the pawn shop alone sees 1,500 transactions a month. The gun store has 4,000 square feet of retail space.
Brooks hired 23 employees to staff the new facility, and he projected gross sales of $750,000 at the restaurant, and about $1 million at the shooting range.
The range has two training rooms, and Brooks employs five training instructors led by Larry Bruns, a retired FBI special agent. They are certified to lead professional law enforcement training.
Customers are a blend of professionals, such as security guards and officers, and recreational customers, including first-time shooters.
“One of the biggest growing segments of our customer base is women,” Brooks said. “They are very interested in their personal protection.”