Kerry Cox has had a good time since he sold Faith Home Health and Hospice in 2010.
Though he has a few rental properties, he’s mostly been traveling, having fun and, as he puts it, “goofing off.”
Derby police officer Ken Grommet put a stop to it.
The two are opening Range 54, an indoor shooting range and training center with retail space, on Kellogg just east of Edgemoor.
“He just kept bending my ear about it, and I finally decided to look into it,” Cox says.
The range will be at 5725 E. Kellogg in the former Advance Auto Parts space. Construction will start in February on the 15,000-square-foot building, which will have an additional 5,000 square feet before it opens this summer.
“It won’t even look like the same building, inside or out,” Cox says. “We’re really just keeping the shell.”
The business will be just down from Wichita police officer Jess Hancock’s new location for his Wichita Gun Club, which is at the southeast corner of Kellogg and Edgemoor.
Range 54 will have two dozen 25-yard shooting lanes. The 24 lanes will be divided into bays of eight lanes.
“One of the bays is a fully tactical bay,” Cox says.
The bay will allow for training in front of the shooting line.
“It allows you to … be placed in a dynamic situation,” Cox says. He says he can lower the lights to simulate an encounter someone might actually have.
“We have a robot that will come out and come at you, and you can draw your weapon, point, try to shoot and see if you can hit anything,” he says. “If you’re ever put in a situation where you have to protect yourself, can you do that?”
Without practice, he says, “You’re kind of taking a risk.”
Training will be a big focus at Range 54, Cox says. There will be two classrooms for it.
There also will be a 3,500-square-foot retail area with guns, ammunition, accessories, cleaning supplies, clothing and personal defense items.
Cox says he and Grommet want an upscale environment in which anyone feels comfortable and where parents feel fine bringing their children.
“It’s going to be a family-friendly atmosphere,” Cox says. “Our customer service will just really be geared towards … the entertainment side of it, so to speak.”
Cox says he and Grommet visited a couple of ranges locally and several throughout the Midwest and decided they wanted to do things to set Range 54 apart.
For instance, there’s going to be a viewing lounge with oversized couches, televisions, a fireplace and windows that look out onto the range.
“It’s just going to be a neat place for people to sit and watch,” Cox says.
Also, he says, “That gives people an opportunity.”
He says some first-time shooters can come and watch until they’re ready to try.
The range will be climate controlled with heating and air conditioning and a specialized ventilation system.
“It takes everything you shoot down range,” Cox says. “It’s just a much healthier way to do it. … You wouldn’t be breathing lead dust.”
There also will be a kitchen for corporate events or for people to bring food and sit and eat.
LK Architecture is designing the range, and Accel Construction is building it. Carson Bank is providing the financing.
Cox says Grommet will retire from the police department before the range opens, which should be in June or July.
Cox says Range 54 won’t have a traditional range atmosphere.
“It’s more like walking into a bowling alley than a gun range,” he says. “But not really. There’s guns. Guns instead of balls.”
Cox says he’s been a gun enthusiast since he was a boy, so this business makes sense for him.
“It’s time to quit goofing off … and go back to work.”