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!