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Indoor shooting range coming to Henrico

Facility expected to be largest in the U.S.
An indoor shooting range billed as the largest such facility in the nation is coming to Henrico County.

Colonial Shooting Academy is expected to open in February at 6020 West Broad Street near Willow Lawn, in the former Colony House Furniture building. The facility will be open seven days a week and house 39 shooting stations for use by members or the general public, as well as 11 stations for law enforcement training and a "shoot house," in which officers can practice various scenarios.

"It's real exciting for us, because there's a huge need," said general manager Ed Coleman, "and we feel like we're meeting that need."

In Central Virginia, there are three outdoor ranges and one indoor range. Coleman has been affiliated with one of the outdoor ranges – Cavalier Rifle and Pistol Club in Hanover County – for nearly four decades and said the new facility will appeal to a range of customers.

"We've been all over the country looking at indoor ranges," he said. "Typically what we've found is professional people or tradesmen who are interested in shooting and need a place to shoot, or people who are interested in shooting competitions, which we'll have some of."

The facility earned plan of development approval from the Henrico Planning Commission late last month, clearing the way for demolition and renovation work to begin inside the structure. Investors in the shooting academy expect to spend $6 million or more outfitting the building during the coming months, Coleman said.

The building, owned by the real estate firm Spotts and Carneal, has been vacant since Colony House Furniture closed several years ago. Spotts and Carneal principal Courtland Spotts is the academy's managing partner and a primary investor. (Ed Lacy, another real estate official, is the other primary investor.)

The facility will offer memberships – beginning at $35 a month with a $100 initiation fee – but also will accept walk-in customers and offer gun rentals. One hour of shooting time will cost $20, Coleman said. Twenty-yard and 25-yard shooting ranges will be available, and the facility intends to offer some firearms for sale.

All customers and members will be required to take an on-site safety course prior to their first use of the facility and once every 12 months thereafter, Coleman said.

The academy is expected to employ 25 to 30 people, Coleman said. Among the facility's instructors will be recently retired Henrico Police Chief Henry Stanley.

The firearms industry as a whole has shown steady growth in recent years – including growth of more than 15 percent annually in the past few among first-time firearm owners, according to Coleman.

But many of those new owners lack formal training or the opportunity to access it nearby, he said. That's a void that the new facility will seek to fill locally, he said.

"There are very few facilities where you can go to learn," Coleman said. "Our primary purpose is to create a good, safe place for people to learn to shoot. We'll have a safe, secure environment where people can come and take classes and learn proper shooting techniques."

Coleman also expects that the academy's role with local law enforcement agencies will expand over time. Because of its vast amount of space, it will be able to offer local police departments training opportunities that many of them – even larger ones – may lack, he said.

Colonial Shooting Academy will be open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.

More details about the facility will be available during the coming months on its website (http://www.colonialshooting.com) and by phone (804-266-AMMO).
Community

Lions Club donates backpacks to elementary school

The Richmond West Breakfast Lions Club (based in western Henrico) recently donated 59 backpacks to the Westover Hills Elementary School on Jahnke Road.

Above, club members display some of the backpacks prior to their distribution. > Read more.

Glen Allen student to perform at Carnegie Hall

Thanks to a first-place win in The American Protege International Vocal Competition 2014, Glen Allen High School student Matija Tomas will travel to New York City to perform at Carnegie Hall in December.

At the first-place winners recital in Weill Hall, Matija will perform Giacomo Puccini’s opera aria, “Chi il bel sogna di doretta.” She will perform with other vocalists from around the world and have the opportunity to win other awards and scholarships.

Locally, Thomas has performed with Richmond’s renowned Glorious Christmas Nights, Christian Youth Theatre, and WEAG’s Urban Gospel Youth Choir. > Read more.

Gayton Baptist Church dedicates new outreach center


The John Rolfe YMCA and Gayton Baptist Church have partnered in an effort to bring greater health and wellness opportunities to the community.

Through this partnership, the John Rolfe Y will run Youth Winter Sports programs, including basketball and indoor soccer, in Gayton’s newly renovated $5.5 million outreach center that features a new gymnasium, youth and teen space, social space with café, meeting space and full service commercial kitchen. > Read more.

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Entertainment

The Boathouse to open at Short Pump Town Center

The Boathouse restaurant will open at Short Pump Town Center in the spring, its third location in the region.

“People have asked us to come to the West End for years,” said owner Kevin Healy. “When the opportunity arose, we knew had to jump on it.”

The new restaurant will be located in a 5,800-square-foot space under the Hyatt House Hotel at the town center and will include a large outdoor patio. > Read more.

Getting a ‘mouf’-ful

Boka Kantina exceeds its strong food truck reputation
Already a fan of Boka fare from outdoor events with the Tako Truck, I was delighted to learn of the new restaurant, and eager to see if its reputation held up after putting down brick-and-mortar roots.

Would the food lose its zest if I wasn’t enjoying it in the great outdoors? Would it seem pedestrian served from an ordinary kitchen instead of a truck?

Would the tacos be less satisfying as an antidote to normal lunch hunger – instead of being ingested to stave off desperate hunger after a long afternoon of crowds, sun, and tedious lines? > Read more.

Lakeside microbrewery beginning to take shape

Original Gravity gets the green light to move forward with relocation, expansion into larger space

A Lakeside home-brewing shop has felt the gravitational pull toward the booming craft beer scene.

Original Gravity, a shop that sells beer and wine kits for homebrewers, has just been given the green light to start work on a microbrewery.

Owner Tony Ammendolia is expanding his 1,000-square-foot shop in Lakeside Town Center to 5,000-square-foot digs a few doors down to add a brewery and expand his supplies.

Ammendolia opened the home-brew supply store in November 2011 and since then he said business has taken off.

“I think I outgrew this place in the first year,” Ammendolia said. “We’ve seen steady growth and I’ve been looking for a place to expand to move the shop to get more square footage.” > Read more.

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