EDMOND — Out with the old, in with the similar.
Within six months, one Edmond shooting range and gun retailer closed, and another replaced it.
Safety 1st, Edmond’s newest range, moved into the storefront at 1456 N Kelly Ave, which had housed Heartland Outdoors.
“It’s kind of crazy to open a business in the exact same location with the same business that just failed,” said Safety 1st owner Mitch Harrington.
Heartland closed in January and later that month held an auction. Harrington, who owns J&K Bullet Casters in Moore, went to the auction to see the range equipment, but had no intention to buy. It was too expensive.
He introduced himself to the man who bought the range equipment, who planned to take it to his gun range in Missouri.
“He said, ‘Well, I really only need half of it.’ And I said, ‘No kidding?’” Harrington said.
Although the equipment was too expensive in total, half was manageable.
“After about eight hours of sleep that week, I was able to get a solid business proposal done,” he said. After buying the equipment, Harrington tracked down the building’s owner and persuaded him to rent it out.
Open for business
Safety 1st won’t have its grand opening until later this month, but is already serving customers.
In the range, filtered air, which carries the scent of a rainy day, shoots out from a white vent at the back of the room. It flows downrange, carrying with it any gun-shot residue, and is sucked up by another vent and passed through 12 filters before being recirculated.
A pile of ground-up tires sits at the other end of the range. “It absorbs the impact of the bullets,” Harrington said. “As a matter of fact, a lot of times, you can find them pretty close to the top.”
Like the rubber that holds them, the used bullets are recycled. A cleaning crew will mine the pile for lead, which travels to Harrington’s other company, J&K Bullet Casters.
Harrington plans to construct another range in the building’s larger wing that can provide more room for handicapped customers, as well as pairs.
“A big part of our business will be firearms training,” he said.
Safety 1st has already hosted two concealed carry classes. They take place on Saturdays, cost $60 and last eight hours.
Harrington said Safety 1st will be different from Heartland because of its products. Heartland sold high-end accessories and clothing items.
“We’re just more of a gun range, gun shop, gun store,” he said.