Green Top Sporting Goods is expanding into a new venture — operating an indoor shooting range that’s about 2.5 miles from its store in Hanover County.
The outdoors retailer’s top executive said that taking over operations of the Winding Brook Indoor Shooting Range not only will be complementary to Green Top’s business, but it will add sales and services.
“We believe we can take it to a new level,” said Blaine Altaffer, Green Top’s president and CEO.
The company, Virginia’s largest independent outdoor retailer and firearms dealer, signed a deal last week to take over the Winding Brook Indoor Shooting Range operations as well as having a long-term lease for its 23,000-square-foot space at 11547 Lakeridge Parkway.
Green Top officially will assume ownership and day-to-day operations on Nov. 6 when the space will be rebranded as Green Top Shooting Range.
Terms of the deal, announced Wednesday, were not disclosed.
The shooting range, which is across Lakeridge Parkway from the Bass Pro Shops, has 24 indoor 25-yard lanes across three 8-lane bays. It opened in 2016 as Blue Ridge Arsenal, but the landlord took over the space a year later and has been operating it ever since as Winding Brook Indoor Shooting Range.
Green Top plans to turn about 2,000 square feet of space in the building to sell firearms, gear, ammunition and other accessories. Winding Brook Indoor Shooting Range rented some guns for use at the range and sold a selected assortment of ammunition and targets.
“When you walk in, you will be impressed with the amount of gear and firearms to buy there,” Altaffer said. “The wow factor will be high.”
Green Top also will dedicate space there for training classes.
Having a shooting range will enable customers from both its main store in the NorthCross Center off the Sliding Hill exit of Interstate 95 or the range’s retail space to test the most popular firearm models before they buy one.
“People who are not quite sure what firearm to buy can try out the most popular models [at the shooting range], compare and make a decision,” Altaffer said. “We’re bringing the Green Top knowledge up to the range.”
Altaffer said Robert Alvarez, part of the group that owns the property, approached him a year ago about Green Top taking over the shooting range.
“This has been thoughtfully done,” Altaffer said. “Both sides feel good about it.”
Green Top, a privately owned company founded in 1947, also called a “good number” of Winding Brook Indoor Shooting Range’s members about the possible takeover, he said. “They were very happy and pleased.”
Operating the shooting range is part of Green Top’s focus on having experienced-based retailing, he said. For instance, the Green Top Outdoor Expo, which will feature about 180 manufacturers and is expected to draw thousands of outdoor enthusiasts this weekend, is another example.
“Now we will have a shooting range where people can try it before you buy it,” he said.
Winding Brook Indoor Shooting Range offered monthly and annual memberships as well as allowing walk-ins for the general public to try the range for an hour or so. That will continue under Green Top.
It has about 800 to 1,000 members.