A shooting range may not be heading to Mount Pleasant any time soon, but the retailer that pitched the idea earlier this year still has plans to open two large gun stores in the tri-county area.
Palmetto State Armory, a Columbia-based retailer that sells firearms and outdoor gear, has stores under development in Summerville and Mount Pleasant.
The company had proposed shooting ranges in both stores, but the Mount Pleasant Planning Commission denied the company's zoning request after nearby residents expressed concern about its location.
The East Cooper store is replacing the former Food Lion in the National Crossing Shopping Center, which is also home to kids' dance and karate studios. Residents who opposed the gun range said it was inappropriate for the family-oriented area and that it would create noise problems for residents of the adjacent Charleston National subdivision.
Now being redeveloped as a purely retail concept, the 21,000-square-foot store will offer firearms, outdoor equipment and the chain's first collection of fishing gear. Construction is expected to wrap up in time for a store opening in October, said Adam Ruonala, spokesman for Palmetto State Armory.
"Obviously, the range is an integral part of our business, but it's not everything," Ruonala said. "Our store really supports the outdoor lifestyle beyond just shooting."
Mayor Linda Page said she believes the store will be a positive addition to the area.
"We have a very active community in East Cooper and I know our establishments that sell sporting goods here do very well," Page said. "Retail gun sales is controversial, but I defend the right to bear arms and people have a legal right to buy firearms."
Palmetto State Armory has not yet started construction on the Summerville location, which will include an 18-lane shooting range, Ruonala said
The company is redeveloping the former Heritage Square shopping center at U.S. Highway 78 and Berlin G. Myers Parkway.
It will accommodate the 30,000-square-foot gun store and shooting range, as well as other unannounced tenants, said Tiffany Norton, spokeswoman for the town of Summerville.
The company says it expects to finish the redevelopment by the end of next year.
"The idea of coming to town and having the opportunity to restore some buildings in desperate need of repair and offer employment to the men and women of this great community is truly something we take pride in," said Jamin McCallum, chief executive officer of the company.
Reach Abigail Darlington at 937-5906 and follow her on Twitter @A_Big_Gail
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