Largest gun store in tri-state area opens early August

FRAN MAYE - DIGITAL FIRST MEDIA
Alex and Remo Toto stand outside Target Shooting Solutions, which will open for business next week in Avondale. It is the site of the former Boomer’s entertainment facility.
FRAN MAYE - DIGITAL FIRST MEDIA Alex and Remo Toto stand outside Target Shooting Solutions, which will open for business next week in Avondale. It is the site of the former Boomer’s entertainment facility.
FRAN MAYE - DIGITAL FIRST MEDIATarget Shooting Solutions off Route 41 in Avondale will be the largest shooting range and gun facility in the tri-state area. It opens next week.
FRAN MAYE - DIGITAL FIRST MEDIATarget Shooting Solutions off Route 41 in Avondale will be the largest shooting range and gun facility in the tri-state area. It opens next week.

AVONDALE >> The largest gun store in the tri-state area, Target Shooting Solutions, will open early August at the site of the former Boomer’s Entertainment Center off Route 41.

“This will be one of the biggest gun facilities in Pennsylvania,” said Alex Toto, 24, who purchased the building for $1.8 million and pumped in another $3.5 million in renovations. “We will have the biggest, most high-tech shooting range around.”

More than 40 people will be employed at the facility, which features a 20-lane shooting range, and 7,200 square feet of space for a retail gun store that specializes in firearms, firearms accessories and firearms equipment. There is also a huge classroom inside the building that will be used for firearms training classes given by certified NRA instructors every day.

“Unlike other outdoor stores that sell everything from fishing poles to kayaks, we specialize only in firearms, rifles, handguns and shotguns,” Toto said.

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Just about every kind of weapon will be available for sale, including high-end shotguns and handguns. Ammunition, weapon accessories and clothing will also be sold.

“We saw a huge demand in the community for a facility like this,” Toto said. “Demographics played a big part in deciding to put this facility here. It’s in a good location and Avondale is continuing to develop.”

Toto is confident the store will do well because he said demand for guns has become very popular.

Toto is right on target. Gun sales spiked by about 40 percent in three out of the first six months of this year, according to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), and this year is on track to be another record gun-purchasing year. At this time last year, there had been about 10.5 million background checks. So far in 2016 there have already been 13.8 million, about a 32 percent increase. Currently, 41 percent of households in the United States own one gun or more.

“Home safety is huge these days,” Toto said. “This facility is designed to go with the demand of the market, and the market is showing that people want to buy guns for home defense and protection. That is great, as long as people understand the safety part. Our mission here is all about safety.”

NRA-certified instructors will teach a variety of classes, from how to handle guns for beginners, to how to obtain a carry permit, to advanced classes in marksmanship.

“We want people to take classes and get educated and make sure they know how to handle firearms, so when they go home they know how to keep their gun safe to prevent any kind of tragedy,” Toto said.

The indoor range at Target Shooting Solutions is one of the most advanced in the area. It will have four bays each handling up to five shooters so that 20 shooters can be on the range at once. Toto said this eliminates customer waiting times significantly. The range will have state of the art electronic target handling, LED lighting and air handling.

Gun enthusiasts who have longed to shoot large-caliber weapons can do just that at Target Shooting Solutions. Customers can shoot a 44 Magnum, a Desert Eagle handgun, or a 500 Smith and Wesson at the range. There will even be a designated range where .50-caliper BMG rifles can be rented for the ultimate shooting experience.

The range is soundproofed with bulletproof glass that allows natural light.

“At most shooting ranges, you walk in and you feel like you are in a bunker in a war zone,” Toto said. “Here, we have natural light which is very rare and gives a better shooting experience.”

For police professionals, the range is available at a steep discount. The building is adjacent to state police, Troop J headquarters.

Anyone purchasing a gun will be subject to a background check, which is computerized at Target Shooting Solutions.

A single unlimited range time membership is $300 and a couple membership is $550, which includes 10 free guest passes.

Toto graduated from the Delaware School of Art and Design and lives in Kennett Square. He has two sisters, one of whom is involved in his new venture. His father, Remo, who had been in the mushroom business and recently got into commercial real estate investment, is also assisting.

The store opens early August, but a grand opening with food trucks and fanfare will take place sometime in September, Toto said. Store hours are Mondays to Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Phone is 844-885-9300.