A shooting sports complex that didn’t work out in Butler County now means a new gun shop for Wichita.
“This is a backup plan,” Wichita Gun Club owner Jess Hancock says. “It’s still a good thing.”
Hancock is opening his shop later this month in 3,700 square feet at the southeast corner of Kellogg and Edgemoor.
He had planned to incorporate it as part of a larger concept in Butler County, including a shooting range, but faced opposition from neighbors.
“It’s just not the way we wanted to start a business out there,” Hancock says.
He first introduced his shop as an appointment-only business a couple of years ago in 500 square feet within what was then the Ribbit Computers store at Kellogg and Rock.
“But it, like, snowballed,” Hancock says. “It went crazy, and guys heard about me.”
The store, which had to temporarily close until the new space opens, specializes in custom gun sales and hard-to-find niche items.
“I’ve worn a gun for a living,” says Hancock, a Wichita police officer. “I’ve spent my life shooting. I’m a passionate hunter.”
After doing some research, Hancock decided on the Wichita Gun Club name.
“There was a Wichita Gun Club that existed from just after World War II into the 1970s,” he says. “That’s where the name came from.”
He found some of the club’s flyers and patches from the ’50s.
“I found some really old, cool stuff.”
Hancock now is looking for new land for a shooting sports complex.
“That’s still our goal,” he says. “I think it is something that’s missing that we need here. There’s just a missing piece of the puzzle.”
Hancock likely would keep the retail center at Kellogg and Edgemoor, too.
“It just depends on how far away we have to be,” he says of the shooting complex.
He says he plans to offer “training like nobody has ever … brought to Wichita.”
Hancock is keeping his day job, too, which actually is his night job. Hancock has been a police officer for more than 20 years and specifically works at night so he can have the business, too.
“It’s a pretty long day, but you know, lots of small business owners make a lot of sacrifices when you believe in things.”