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Friday, Jun 22, 2018
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Five questions with Stephen Perron, of Florida Firearms Academy

Today we chat with Stephen Perron of Westchase, managing partner of Florida Firearms Academy, site of an April fire that caused an estimated $900,000 in damage to the business that opened in 2012 at 13317 W. Hillsborough Ave. The retail firearms store and its 12-lane, 25-yard air-conditioned shooting range reopened after extensive repairs.

Q: Opening a new business brings its share of concerns, but a trial by fire during the initial year of operation probably isn’t among them. How did you cope?

Answer: The support of our customers is what has gotten us through this challenging time. They connected with our staff and with our model, which is family friendly and education focused.

Q: Did investigators determine the cause of the fire that began in the ceiling above the shooting range?

Answer: After a thorough investigation, the cause of the fire is “undetermined.”

Q: How long was Florida Firearms Academy closed for repairs?

Answer: Retail was closed for two months and the range is scheduled to reopen (after many delays) Sunday.

Q: Well, at least the fire that broke out during business hours provided a real test of your emergency protocol, didn’t it?

Answer: The staff followed protocol, the initial focus was to ensure the safety of our customers. I am very proud of their actions that night.

Q: On a lighter note, describe public response to your company’s rental of machine guns for use on your range.

Answer: It has been very popular. It allows customers the opportunity to check an item off of their bucket list. I look forward to hearing them again on the range!

George Wilkens

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