Colonial Shooting Academy expanding to Virginia Beach

HENRICO, VA (WWBT) - Colonial Shooting Academy in the West End is opening a second location in Virginia Beach. Operators say the expansion is due to a growing interest in firearms and training.

Whether learning to shoot for self defense, an experienced hunter, or a law officer, more people are training at Colonial Shooting Academy.

"If you come in as beginning shooter for the first time, you'll watch a safety video," said CEO Steve Satterwhite. "We'll make sure you understand how to be safe on the range."

When it was first proposed, some people said,"What? A shooting range in the city?" But two years later, Satterwhite says CSA is thriving because of its convenient location in a retail area on West Broad Street, rather than in a remote, industrial zone where shooting ranges are often located. He says it has succeeded because it's a one-stop shop for gun enthusiasts. The Richmond facility was just named Range of the Year by the National Shooting Sports Foundation.

Satterwhite says hundreds of customers come daily, "to be able to come in to target practice, to shop for firearms, to get training all under the same roof."

Nationwide, gun sales and interest in training has been growing, particularly among women, and when gun control was hotly debated after the Newtown, Connecticut tragedy.

Satterwhite says enthusiasm has grown from a variety of factors, "from the tone of the national conversation on gun control, to new technology from manufacturers, to an increasing trend in female shooters."

That's why CSA is turning another former furniture store into its next shooting range, this time in Virginia Beach. The West Broad building was also a former furniture store.

The Virginia Beach facility will be designed with the same state-of-the-art technology as the Richmond location. It will have a special ventilation system that blows the exhaust from the guns out of the ranges, and the ranges will be encased in steel and sound-deadening technology to cut down the noise.

"It's all about the customer experience," said Satterwhite. "That's really the secret to what we do."

Colonial Shooting Academy hopes to open its Virginia Beach site in late April and hire about 50 people. Applicants can apply at

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