Carolyn and Dylan Bredengerd hail from North Augusta, SC, just a three-hour drive from the Range Development and Operations Conference happening in Charlotte, NC, this week.
Carolyn, a hairstylist, says fate stepped in to bring them to the conference. “I was on the NRA’s website, and came across (Range Services),” she said. “We couldn’t believe our luck when we realized (the location).”
“We’re in the info-gathering, pre-conceptual stage” of planning, Dylan said. The couple aim to bring an indoor range and retail facility to their community in South Carolina, but there's a twist – a special emphasis on family. “We want to open a safety-first, family friendly facility,” Carolyn said, noting that not all ranges have the right staff and image to attract families.
Just a day and a half into the five-day conference, Dylan Bredengerd is already one of our biggest fans: “This course has probably saved us two years’ worth of trial and error time,”
he said. “I’d literally say not to attempt to start a range without attending one of these conferences.”
The couple, who have been married 12 years, began their relationship with guns just a few years ago. Dylan purchased a Ruger P345 for self-defense. “I told (Dylan) that if it was going to be in our home, I need to know how to use it,” Carolyn said. The two enjoy what Dylan refers to as “date nights” at an indoor range near their home where they rent Glock 9-milimeters, which Dylan says are “cheap to shoot” and “fun.”
Dylan, who works in sales, is the self-proclaimed “people person” of the pair. Carolyn is looking forward to working behind-the-scenes at their range, which the two hope to open in approximately two to three years. Plans for father-son and father-daughter events as well as couples’ nights are going to be incorporated into their venue, along with enough classroom space to accommodate concurrent sessions. "We want to get the whole family out, the dads off the golf course, and the kids away from the video games," Dylan said.
While their plans are still in the conceptual stage, Dylan and Carolyn have a good idea of what they hope to one day create. Their range will be inviting, and open to the public, with both "members" and "guests."
One adjustment the Bredengerds have already made to their business plan is the addition of a full-time safety officer to their future staff. "Before hearing Bill Brice talk, I thought when we started I would have many roles, and have my hands in everything, including safety," Dylan said.
"After yesterday, we started talking about changes we were going to make in that area as well as our capital raising strategy," Carolyn added. She noted that their timeframe includes careful phases: "In phase one we have the indoor range, with retail area and classroom. In phase two we move outdoors with a rifle and pistol range, and eventually, skeet and trap."
"It really is going to end up as a shooting sports complex," Dylan said.
"I tell everyone that Walt Disney had his theme park," Dylan said with a smile. "I'm going to have mine."