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Gun shop layout

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by Winter Borne, Nov 15, 2009.

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  1. Winter Borne

    Winter Borne Member

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    Thanks for the great ideas, most considered but some not...

    "Classroom with similar window overlooking the firing line."

    We considered this, but noise and general distraction issues shot it down. The class room will be for hunter safety / beginner handgun / CCW permit / and legal classes on firearms ownership.

    +100 on the "Lounge Area" This is a good one we did not consider, but am now as it just makes sense. I am "known" enough at the shop I frequent to get a greeting by name every time I go, but there is no area to just sit back and talk guns there other than the counters.

    Also liked the separate paperwork station.

    Great ideas and feed back. I will keep you all posted, and perhaps set up a link to a working design site once we select the property and begin actual designs for the structure.

    mk
     
  2. Wildyams

    Wildyams Member

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    A separate paperwork station is a must. where I work we don't have one, often times we end up covering the pistol or knife displays with all the paper work for 20 minutes while everything is filled out and I frequently see customers walk out without taking a good look at our selection.

    Also, take extra precaution when designing the hvac and duct systems, we had someone get on the roof and cut in through the duct work and get into the store in the middle of the night.

    Is there a theme or concept your trying to design around?
    How much are you actually designing? are you getting down to the shelving, or are you just doing a basic floor plan and letting the owner worry about the shelving and all that?

    I should have better ideas for you because I'm an architecture student, but my architecture mind is being used up designing a condo in Chicago.
     
  3. Shadow 7D

    Shadow 7D Member

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    On the security side, a couple store locally have swing down security grates over thier windows, they look home made out of a medieval movie, but I guess they work, Most gun stores that I have been to either have an island counter with longguns in racks in the center, or they have long counters along the side of the store with the guns on the wall, a few actually have a full U with the gun related stuff in the middle.
     
  4. bigalexe

    bigalexe Member

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    I know you dont have a site yet but ballpark dimensions on the building would be good, I communicate better with pictures about these things.
     
  5. SSN Vet

    SSN Vet Member

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    Some retail stores actually sell the lions share of their firearms on line. Having a workstation for preparing items to ship and thinking through that work flow... right up to and including where the UPS guy parks his van and enters the facility, may prove to be an advantage.
     
  6. Otis311

    Otis311 Member

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    second


    I prefer having ammo out in the open in the showroom, not hidden behind the counter.
     
  7. Winter Borne

    Winter Borne Member

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    Bigalexe, I hear ya brother, but we have not got there yet. Ideally this will be a greenfield site that we can develop to suit, however, decent commercial land here is still about 1M/acre so this may end up in a retail strip lease situation and we will have to take a lot of existing conditions and mall neighbors into consideration.

    For now I am playing with the virgin site, built to suit as it's more fun for this exercise.

    I am not playing any part in the site selection at this time, but will once the owner settles on a few to choose from. As we move further along I will set up a site to view plats and potential layouts for any interested.

    mk
     
  8. Anjo

    Anjo Member

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    A bay door for deliveries, storage for empty rifle boxes that are on display
    and a place for Transfers to be held until retrieved. Pull out of counter boards/trays, like the old bread boards that pulled out of the counter in kitchens, sometimes you are just gonna need a little extra countertop. A grate at the door for muddy boots to be scraped off. A coke machine in a litle break area to get your regulars out of the way on occasion.
    Utilize the high ground so you don't waste the space, you can always store empty boxes there.
     
  9. wojownik

    wojownik Member

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    If budget permits, you might want to consider building a range that can accomodate centerfire rifle as well as pistol. Sounds like you might be, as a 50 yd range, though. Good lighting in the range would be a plus. Blue Ridge Arsenal, for example, feels like a dimly lit cellar... Storage for the range may be a good idea, such as if the range was to host IDPA or cowboy action matches (those mock-ups and saw horses gotta go somewhere...)

    Also, on the way out of the range, consider a sink or basin for patrons to wash up.

    Range staff should have good visibility into the range, such as via large windows. I know you said that was rejected, but you might want to reconsider for safety purposes.

    The lounge idea is a great one. If the business is successful, as we all hope it will be, then a place for patrons to wait until a range lane opens would be nice. Soda/coffee machines are a good idea.

    For the store part, you might want to design the store layout so customers have to pass by a register are or staff to exit the store. That's more for security/anti-shoplifting than anything else.

    For wall displays, be careful designing displays where items may be hung too low (particularly when they are obstructed by the counter). Another thought (again, more to do with display design than outright architecture) is to organize the guns by them or collection. Cowboy action themed items in one area, etc...

    As has been mentioned by others, a separate station for filling out paperwork by staff/customers would be great. A lot other shops in NoVA do their paperwork over the glass counter, which blocks other customers while the one sale is processed.
     
  10. Vikingsoftpaw

    Vikingsoftpaw Member

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    Table tops in the shooting area that can be lowered or swung out of the way. Some people would like to get in practice drawing from a holster. Helps also with IPSC or IDPA type indoor competition.

    Good heating for the range area. Ventilation can make this cold in the winter months.

    A nice sized and well stocked area for reloading supplies.
     
  11. millertyme

    millertyme Member

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    wow, this thread has been up 4 hours and it only has 35 posts. i figured we'd be 5+ pages deep by now.

    I would elevate the main floor up a flight of steps to prevent people trying to drive right up to it as a means of breaching it through the front and back (there'd be a loading dock in the back preventing vehicular breach). use planters about 3 feet high along the walkways and the handicap accessible ramps up to the main entrance, which would have some sort of impedement gate of sorts to keep people from moving through too quickly.

    the firing range should be downstairs under a foot or so of waffle-crete, insulated from sound by high-density foam. this would help keep the footprint of the building to a minimum. the gun counter would be as far back as the showroom allowed and the shelves would be about chest high for the average man (i'm 6-1 and chest high for me is eyeball high for others). the classroom then, could be on the main floor with its separate stairway down to the shooting range through a sound barrier as mentioned previously.

    the upper floor would be where the security guys hang out along with other odds and ends. the Sportsman's Warehouse here has canoes, inflatables, trophy animals, some tents and other stuff on the upper concourse and provides ample viewing to the floor below.

    the archery and fishing ares can flank the rifles. a diagonal line could be drawn from the rifle/fishing corner to the end of the archery and the area from that hypotenuse to the rifle/archery corner could be filled with hunting stuff and hanging displays for decoys and such.

    Ultimately, If my Sportsman's Warehouse had a basement shooting range, it would be the perfect place for me. If it had been built that way my wife could file for "widowed" status.
     
  12. 1040

    1040 Member

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    Road trip!

    Shoot Straight has a very nice gun shop and range in Tampa, FL. Approximately 10,000 sq ft of retail area, with indoor 100 yd rifle range and a 25 yd pistol range.

    Their website does not show a full shop, but has representative photos of selected areas. http://www.shootstraightonline.com/

    They have several other locations in Central Florida, very near another well known destination :D.
     
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2009
  13. Winter Borne

    Winter Borne Member

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    1040,

    Oddly enough I have a medical project in Bay Pines, and the wife has been bugging me to move there since our last trip. She loves the St. Pete Beach area! We did a field trip to Columbia Resturant, but had I only known about Shoot Straight we could have found an additional day or two...The future owner of the shop is in Orlando this week!!!

    Thanks for the tip. I don't think we will have more than 5000 sf of retail and I know we won't be doing a 100 yard range either...but you never know.

    mk
     
  14. rbernie
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    rbernie Contributing Member

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    Multi-stall bathrooms with multiple sinks and push-doors; more folk will be coming in to the restroom to wash their hands than will be peeing, and they'll not want to have to turn door knobs and such with their range-filthy hands.
     
  15. JamisJockey

    JamisJockey member

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    Well lit, wide aisles, natural light of some kind, and it should have a coffee shop with books and gunrags.
    Please let me know when it opens, you can PM me directly or email me if you don't want to post it on the board.
     
  16. achttung

    achttung Member

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    The biggest of the local shops looks like it was once a fort, but it was built as a gun shop. It has narrow windows, and where most of the business is done is below ground. No range, its not a very big place, but follow the spiral staircase upstairs and its a bit more open, with a few display cases of sights/lasers and other accessories, as well as a couple big couches and a huge stone fireplace. The downstairs has a few rows of display cases full of handguns, the wall behind has all the rifles and shotguns (mainly rifles) vertically. If I didn't work so much, I'd spend a lot more time hanging out there, especially in the winter with that fireplace roaring.

    Kind of a 'cave' feel downstairs, but its a gun store, not bed bath and beyond. I have no problem venturing out of my man cave to visit another cave. Actually, I prefer it that way.
     
  17. bigalexe

    bigalexe Member

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    I was working on a setup but just found out that Sketchup wont let me import AutoCAD drawings anymore because in Sketchup 7 the developers decided to make it a Pro feature. If you want to you can look at http://sketchup.google.com/3dwarehouse/details?mid=6107ccb1bc8bd54725acfdcb922aa7e2&prevstart=0 which is an outdoor multi-range concept I did last year.

    The model I linked includes:
    -200 yd rifle range
    -Trap Range 100 yd square (probably the most ludicrously designed range ever for trap and I would not advise using it.)
    -Archery barn with 30 yd indoor range, and front room with loft above. Very common design
    -Club Building, the entire model is supposed to be a hunt club.
    -This is all original work, anyone may use it.
     
  18. wojownik

    wojownik Member

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    Been thinking about this topic a bit more (while THR was down...). Looking at some of the better gun shops in NoVA, they all seem to have a basic "sameness" in terms of non-descript layout and design. Standard glass display cases/counters, standard display of rifles on the walls, standard racks of accessories. Just variation on where the same old display gear is located. I most even have the same color carpet (industrial gray).

    I'm not sure how much it would drive sales, but have you considered a "theme" in terms of store design. For example, I was in one gun shop some years ago, positioning itself as a "gentleman's" shop, with green walls, oak-like trim, trophy animals on the walls, etc, with a rather nice display of higher end shotguns and pistols. (The down side to that particular shop was that the products were are pricey as the upscale look would hint). I also liked Clark Bros, in that it had a barn theme, although the use of space and flow was horrendous (not a lot of feng shui there).
     
  19. justashooter in pa

    justashooter in pa member

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    somebody has to say it, so i will.

    the location of the shop will determine your external and internal security concerns. a shop in a strip mall in the suburbs can be very different from one in a shady downtown area, and still be secure. clientel demographics will determine how displays need to be arranged in the interest of loss prevention. this, in turn, will affect the general structure of the shop.

    in a general sense, you need a masonry construction, concrete filled steel bollards in front of any plate glass or entryways, security for any such glass, grids made from 3/4" steel round bars in any ventilation opening. combine these with a good alarm system and you have no need of a secure vault. you also need to meet fire code.

    you need to understand how big the store will be and how it will be staffed in order to know how to set it up. you need to know how much inventory will be held in order to reserve display space. you need to know if it will be a gun store with a few fishing poles, or a "sporting goods store" full of chinese made clothing with a few guns in the back.

    lets talk about a simple 4 person staffed strip mall location layout:

    a gunstore with related supplies and a range should have at least 4-5 persons on staff. ideally, it should have retail space 3 times as deep as it is wide. it should have a single securable street front entry. it should have strong lighting, and good air circulation, with no dark corners. you should be able to see from one end to the other, from just about any position in the showroom floor.

    if in a strip mall the sidewalls need to be made resistant to break in. if the existing walls are just steel sheet metal stud and wall board, they must be hardened with masonry or sheet steel (16 -12 gauge, with stitch welded joints) or at least 3/16" X 6" square grid masonry reinforcing wire (welded joints), and overlayed with wallboard. anything less than steel reinforced and poured walls can be cut thru in 15 minutes with the right tools, but anything less than what i recommend is irresponsible and won't impress ATF or your insurer.

    in the front half of the store there should be a cashier station close to the door, then fluff accessories like clothing and gun cases, then bulk stuff, like shotshells and reloading supplies. the back half of the store should have low racks in the center of the floorspace for high dollar stuff in small packages, like centerfire ammunition, reloading tools, leather goods, etc.

    the back half of the store should have a U shaped counter for handgun and optics displays, with a 3 foot walkway behind for clerks, and wall racks behind this walkway for long guns, with shelves underneath for storage. 2 clerks stationed left and right can keep an eye on the entire rear of the store, including all of the high dollar inventory. a possible 3rd gun clerk can run a cashier station between the front door and the gun sales floor, and reduce loss by theft, if the center racks are oriented correctly.

    there should be a single door leading out the back wall of the retail space into a viewing area from which the range can be seen thru bulletproof lexan. the range should be set up so that shooting is done towards a hardened back wall. sidewalls need to be adequate, as does the roof and floor. ventilation of the range will be controlled by EPA regulation.

    a registration counter can be built to one side of the viewing area. targets and range ammo can be sold there. entry to the firing area can be controlled by the counter clerk thru an electric lock, as the clerk can see all lanes and the free space of 6' depth behind them. exit from this area must be unrestricted, so the lock is a one way thing. the clerk working the range can be occupied on the showroom floor when the range is empty.

    there should also be an emergency exit accessible from this viewing area. it can be a hallway running to the back of the building parallel to the shooting range. egress thru this path cannot be restricted per fire code. locks and alarms, including "opened from the inside" and break in alarms with different tones, special night lock, of course.

    raising the gun sales area a few feet and having some 3-4 steps in the center up to it gives you an excuse to seperate it from the front half by reinforced glass or steel "jail bars" with a lockable door that can reduce the size requirement for your secure area, and thereby, construction cost. a securable door between the gun sales area and the range viewing area could be the back wall of your secure area. a raised floor gun sales area can also give your gun sales clerks an overview of the soft goods floor.

    a lounge area for general BS'ing can be created at the foot of the steps to each side with a few couches and coffee tables and a TV playing hunting/shooting shows. a fishing goods section can be added between soft goods and the lounge, but requires another staffer.

    an office space? a gunsmithing room with enuf equipment to mount rifle scopes and install trigger groups, and to clean and make minor repairs (drill press and workspace with counters and cabinets, vise)? make the passage back to the range viewing room a hallway, and build these in left and right (150 square feet each, minimum). make them accessible from the hallway, or better yet, from behind the sales counters. that's 2 more hardened doors in your secure perimeter...

    you really need to talk to your customer, make up sketches for a strip mall conversion, new construction, or rehab of some freestanding building, then talk with him some more. security systems, cameras, phone lines, internet lines, gotta have it all. then you have to find a location with appropriate zoning. no matter how cheap a building in a less desireable area looks to be, it's a dead end. people with money to spend just don't wanna go there, and loss prevention and general risk will be a killer.

    this ain't gonna be cheap, and he'll realise it when he sees the scope of the work involved in just converting a strip mall shop, which is much cheaper than building new construction. adding the range to the shop will cost a lot more in terms of liability insurance, zoning regulation, environmental considerations, construction, etc. and may limit your choice of suitable property. on the flip side, it will bring in customers with money to spend.

    i wouldn't waste time on anything more than preliminary sjetches and cost estimates till he gets the money lined up and finds a place he can operate at for a minimum of 15 years. it'll take him that long to get out of the hole, if things go really well.
     
  20. wojownik

    wojownik Member

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    Yes, and location within NoVA could influence how much you can skimp or need to go "upscale". NoVA has a few distinct target markets for firearms - the higher-income/over educated type :), military/public safety professionals, and the average joe. Your store layout and trappings may differ if you were to say locate this in Springfield vs. Manassas vs. McLean (not that there's any affordable space in the latter). Just a thought. YMMV
     
  21. Riss

    Riss Member

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    Lots to choose from. I think location and target market will dictate which way to go. Either a new barn style, converted strip mall, industrial warehouse with the industrial look inside, or a new stand alone building with the gentlemans club, upscale look. Then there is what to offer. Just guns ? Reloading supplies, powder, primers, you may need a powder magazine. Possibly offsite. I wish I had your troubles. Good luck.
     
  22. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Member

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    Big aisles, lots of room to maneuver. I actually like the long guns on racks around the outside walls with the staff in a centrally located counter holding the short guns in display cases. Every gun store seems to get filled with stacks of things that get in the way, so extra space is very useful. Put in more floorspace than you think you'll need.
     
  23. lions

    lions Member

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    I like having rifles displayed horizontally on the wall with a glass display case in front for handguns. But PLEASE don't put the display case so far out from the wall as to make it impossible to read the tags on the rifles! That is my gun store pet peeve! The employees don't need a wide luxurious walkway back there, just enough to get through without having to do an awkward side-step thing. And the employees can be more productive if they don't have to go read a price tag to everyone who is looking at long guns.
     
  24. supham

    supham Member

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    One store I go to has all handguns by caliber. So all the carry 380s, 32s are together, all the .45s are together. Nice to browse 1911s without going up and down.

    The trade off is if you want something like a Glock but dont know what one, you end up browsing up and down the isle.
     
  25. Yoda

    Yoda Member

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    Don't forget the gunsmithing....

    A lot of successful gun shops also do a lot of gunsmithing, so I'd consider looking into adding some room for a workshop, plus storage space for guns being held for work.

    Gunshops also tend to pawn guns, and in my state of Florida, pawned guns can't be sold until they've been held for 30 days. This is intended to be sure any stolen guns are reported and the pawn shop operator has time to check his stock against reports of stolen guns. So, some space for temporary storage of guns would be useful.

    I'VE NEVER SEEN THIS, BUT I SURE WOULD HAVE USED IT IF ANYONE HAD OFFERED IT: Sometimes you're traveling through a town with your concealed carry piece, but your business takes you into a place where you can't carry your gun (downtown DC, military installations, courts) and you don't feel comfortable leaving it in your motel room. WHY NOT OFFER A SERVICE WHERE TRAVELERS (or other people) CAN TEMPORARILY AND SECURELY STORE THEIR GUNS? Maybe something like a series of post-office mailboxes, with individual keys for each box, would work. However, some sort of receipt system and a vault would be more secure.

    - - - Yoda
     
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