Gun club aims to free up reservations

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Frustrated gun enthusiasts may soon be able to reserve a firing lane at Centennial’s most popular indoor gun club.

Centennial Gun Club, 6549 S. Paris St., recently broke ground on a $10 million expanded facility that, according to CEO and general manager Richard Abramson, will house 28 additional firing lanes, 5,000 square feet of new retail space, meeting rooms, a fireplace and an outdoor patio.

With more than 1,500 members vying for time on just six indoor lanes, Abramson admits shooters of all levels find it hard to reserve space, a benefit that comes with gun club membership.

Some members have even canceled pricey memberships due to the club’s reservation backlog.

“And they just keep selling them — there’s always a line at the membership booth every weekend,” said gun enthusiast Mark Hines, who opted not to join the club at $30 per month, or pay the entry-level $347 initiation fee, until after the new facility opens. “I just can’t see blowing that kind of cash on something I’m not going to be able to ever get in to use.”

“We’re just stuffed,” said Abramson, who estimates that once open in January 2014, the new facility should be able to accommodate 5,000 members.

But having only six lanes was not the original plan.

Abramson said plans for Centennial Gun Club date back to 2008, and included a larger, more robust operation than what opened its doors in early 2012.

“We had originally planned to have the larger facility,” explained Abramson. “But the collapse of Bear Sterns and the financial market made it difficult for just about anyone to secure large-scale financing.”

So the club started small.

“And based on what happened, it really was a good thing,” he added. “It gave us time to test our business model, provide proof of concept and to gain the confidence of lenders.”

The club’s goal now is to transform itself from a local gun store to something more like a country club.

Abramson is confident Centennial is the place to do it, saying the city is a “destination location” and has convenient access to private jet service at Centennial Airport.

Top-level club memberships will include private access to a select group of shooting lanes targeted to captains of industry and professional athletes.

Abramson said the new facility will add 21 jobs to the economy as well as improve traffic to nearby restaurants and businesses.

But while the soft-spoken retired technology executive said there are plans to consider expanding to northern Denver, he’s not sure that will happen.

“With all the changes in gun laws, it’s rather discouraging to do business in Colorado,” he said.