A group of local investors is transforming a former food distribution warehouse in northwest Oklahoma City into an upscale indoor shooting range called Wilshire Gun.
The roughly $6 million overhaul of the 35,000-square-foot building will include a gun shop, restaurant and private club. The front of the renovated warehouse space will be designed to look like a giant gun scope that will jut from the roof of the building.
When renovations are completed on the warehouse, Wilshire Gun will include the state's only indoor 100-yard shooting range. Wilshire Gun co-founder and General Manager Jeff Swanson said the facility may be the largest of its kind in the country. The shooting range will have 24 shooting stalls.
The business will employ as many as 75 people once up and running.
The Range Cafe will include a wood-fired grill that will serve everything from steaks to hamburgers and will be open for lunch and dinner.
Swanson likes to compare the business concept as something akin to a high-end bowling alley like RedPin or a luxury movie theater such as the Moore Warren Theatre.
“This is going to be an entertainment venue — it's going to take shooting to the next level,” Swanson said.
A bad experience at a gun range while she was trying to improve her aim inspired Wilshire Gun co-founder Jane Moran to start the business.
A hot shell casing from a neighboring shooter who was firing a large-caliber weapon flew over the barrier between the shooting lanes into Moran's stall one day. With a growing number of women taking up shooting, Moran wants Wilshire Gun to be a place where everyone from novice shooters to experts feels welcome, she said.
“We want to be the premier shooting facility in Oklahoma, designed for the comfort of the shooter,” Moran said.
The 1950s-era warehouse at 615 W Wilshire that is being converted into the shooting range once was owned by Sylvan Goldman, native Oklahoman and inventor of the shopping cart.
“It really is an Oklahoma City landmark,” Moran said.
Wilshire Gun co-founder and gun expert Matthew Moulton, a former police officer and U.S. Army veteran, will be in charge of the shooting range's training and safety programs.
While Moran and Swanson have business backgrounds, Moulton calls himself “the gun guy.” He wants to help people who are not familiar with guns to become more comfortable using a weapon, he said.
“I want to be able to help novice shooters learn how to use a weapon and be able to protect themselves and their family,” Moulton said.
Designs for the gun range also include plans for the Caliber Club, a private club limited to 100 members and Wilshire Gun's ownership group. Club members will have access to a VIP lounge, dressing rooms and cigar lounge on the top floor of Wilshire Gun.
The business also wants to host corporate events and private parties, as well as shooting sport events.
Wilshire Gun has set a target opening date for sometime this spring.