With hunting season just around the corner, I thought it would be an appropriate time to highlight a facility designed to improve your aim.
The Heritage Guild of Easton, which opened two years ago, will debut its new 15,000 square-foot space featuring a 20-yard archery range and 14 75-foot firearms lanes on Friday.
"We decided to expand based on customers' requests for shorter wait times," regional manager Steve Venckus said. "On weekends, it gets especially crazy. A typical wait time is 45 minutes to an hour."
The facility at 70 Hilton St. in Williams Township houses a shop selling an extensive collection of antique, collectible, previously owned and new firearms, as well as ammunition, safes, pocket and sheath knives, optics and accessories. It also offers an on-site gunsmith and courses for every level of shooter.
The new archery and firearms ranges supplement the facility's existing 15 50-foot firearms lanes (for a total of 29 firearms lanes). Also, additional retail space for bows, arrows and accessories will be near the archery range, which will be used by both customers and leagues.
Venckus was unsure of the project's price tag, saying only that it cost "a lot."
"It was done right — whatever that costs," said Venckus, a resident of Annandale, N.J. "A lot of thought and design went into it, and we didn't cut corners."
The new 75-foot firearms lanes are divided into two ranges — a six-lane static range (to be used primarily for rifle shooting); and an eight-lane tactical range (to be used primarily by experienced shooters and law enforcement).
"Before, we were mixing pistols and rifles in our 15-lane static range," said Venckus. "Now, we can create separate environments tailored to our customers' needs. For example, rifles typically have a larger bang, and beginners can sometimes be intimidated by that."
The soundproof rooms feature booths where customers can either sit or stand. In the static range, a switch controls the distance of your target. In the tactical range, targets can be preset via miniature computers to move on their own with customizable turning and lighting options.
"You can also place a 'bad guy' on one side of the target and a 'good guy' on the other side," Venckus said. "The goal is to make shooters think before they pull the trigger."
Heritage Guild operates two New Jersey branches in addition to its Williams site. Its first location in Rahway opened in 2002 and features a retail store selling similar items. Its Branchburg location, which opened about two years ago, features a retail store as well as indoor and outdoor archery ranges.
The Heritage Guild of Easton, which also is in the process of creating a second-floor event space for private parties, is open 9 a.m.-8 p.m. weekdays, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturdays and 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Sundays. Range pricing is $20 per hour. Annual crackshot ($249) and sharpshooter ($399) programs featuring unlimited free range time and other benefits are also available. Info: 610-258-5500 or heritageguild.com.
Speaking of seasons changing, it's almost that pumpkin-carving and trick-or-treating time of year as well.
Whether it's you or your child who will be dressing up this Halloween, one of a barrage of temporary costume shops across the Lehigh Valley is sure to have just the outfit, mask or makeup for you.
First, Spirit Halloween locations have opened at 2631 Route 145 North (next to Walmart) in Whitehall Township; and 756 Memorial Parkway (former Blockbuster Video space) in Phillipsburg. Info: spirithalloween.com.
Second, Halloween City locations have opened at 2409 MacArthur Road (former Staples space) in Whitehall Township; 3831 Nazareth Pike (next to Kmart) in Bethlehem Township; and 360 Lincoln Ave. (in Pocono Plaza shopping center) in East Stroudsburg. Info: halloweencity.com.
All Gussied Up, a boutique selling 1940s-inspired fashions, closed up shop Aug. 31 after slightly more than a year of operation at 139 S. Main St. in downtown Nazareth. The business, which also offers spray tanning, teeth whitening and makeup application, will not be gone for long though.
According to co-owners Kelly Pettis of Forks Township and Jenn Mich of Pen Argyl, the business will reopen around Nov. 1 at 22 Centre Square in Easton (old Bixler's building). The move was prompted by a desire for a larger space and to take All Gussied Up "to the next level."
"Nazareth was a great starter location, but it is time to move on," Pettis said. "We are excited to expand our inventory and pair up with vendors who have unique products."
Some of those products will include Behind the Seam designer jeans, handmade soaps by The Fanciful Fox, Pin Up Girl Cosmetics, Wicked Ice Wear jewelry and House of Minerva handmade wares.
Until they reopen in Easton, the owners will operate a mobile unit offering spray tanning, teeth whitening and pin-up photo shoot parties. Info: 484-634-6722 or allgussieduponmain.com.
Staying on the topic of clothing, a new consignment shop, T's Green Boutique, is scheduled to open in a couple of weeks at 456 Northampton St. in downtown Easton. The name stems from the first letter of both owners' names, Tegan Lingbeck and Tiffany Brouillet (both Emmaus residents), as well as the store's focus on being green and repurposing items.
"Our shop is going to be more than just a consignment of clothes, but also small furniture," Lingbeck said. "We will also be selling handcrafted items and pushing local artists' items as well."
OK. Enough about clothes. Let's switch to what we all really care about — food!
Many Retail Watchers have recently inquired about the status of Youell's Oyster House, which was destroyed by a fire in January. Well, I have good news.
Owner Christian Filipos will break ground at the site of his fire-ravaged seafood restaurant at 11 a.m. Thursday. The new facility, expected to be complete in early January, will be expanded approximately 20 percent, resulting in a new 150-person seating capacity and mezzanine level for private functions.
The restaurant at 2249 W. Walnut St. in Allentown will complement its original core menu of seafood entrees with American bistro fare and an enhanced selection of wine and craft brews. The bar will feature a variety of oysters on display, which will be shucked to order. The staff will remain largely intact.
"The Youell's family is very grateful for the support of patrons and advocates too numerous to mention, as well as Mayor [Ed] Pawlowski, his staff and the great city of Allentown," Filipos said.
As I reported in May, owners of The Gyro Company at 1852 Airport Road (in the Airport Center shopping plaza) in Hanover Township, Lehigh County, shuttered the eatery's doors and began looking for another site following a bad business deal. Now, the fast casual Greek restaurant is preparing to serve its tzatziki-filled sandwiches again — and not far away from its original location.
Husband and wife co-owners Chris and Deb Colitas signed a lease Sept. 6 for The Gyro Company's new location in the Shopper's Village shopping center on Catasauqua Road in Bethlehem (former Dad's Pizza and Dogs spot). They are already working on the space and plan to announce an opening date soon.
"We are very excited to be joining Party City, Primo Hoagies and Carvel within the center," Deb Colitas said.
The Colitas' also operate a stand at Coca-Cola Park in Allentown. Info: thegyrocompany.com.
Finally, The Green Pepper, an "authentic burrito joint" that debuted at the Promenade Shops at Saucon Valley in March 2012, is expanding.
According to Katie Berger, line manager at the Center Valley eatery, husband and wife co-owners Agron and Kerry Dika will open their second location at the Palmer Park Mall (former American Gyro Café space) in about a month.
The fast casual restaurant's menu includes eight signature burritos, build-your-own burritos, tacos, quesadillas, nachos and salads. Info: thegrnpepper.com.
Retail Watch keeps track of new store, restaurant and bank development in the Lehigh Valley. Have a question about a retail construction project, a store opening or a chain you'd like to see come to the area? Call features reporter Ryan Kneller at 610-820-6597 or email email@example.com. Retail Watch appears every Sunday.