Planned gun range gets Mequon loan
Contingencies include hiring employees

By Gary Achterberg - News Graphic Staff

Nov. 28, 2017

MEQUON — The Mequon Common Council, with no discussion Nov. 14, unanimously approved lending $50,000 from its revolving loan fund to help get plans for a shooting range off the ground.

Mequon residents Mark and Cheryle Rebholz have plans to open an eight-lane gun range in a 9,500-square-foot building at 9653 N. Granville Road on Mequon’s far southwest side.

The city’s action is the final step in the process. The city’s Economic Development Board approved the loan request Oct. 24.

The funding request was endorsed by Ozaukee Economic Development and also reviewed by an outside financial consultant working on behalf of the city. The revolving loan fund, which is used to spur business growth and development in the city, has a current balance of $355,661, according to a memo from Kim Tollefson, Mequon’s director of Economic Development.

The facility, located in the Dhaliwal Enterprises building, will include a boutique pro shop, a café, separate lounge areas for members and the general public and a reception area, according to the Rebholzes.

The city loan is in addition to an $806,000 loan over 10.3 years that Bear Arms has received from First Bank Financial Centre, according to documents submitted with the application.

The city loan will be at 2-percent interest over a 10-year period. There will be a three-month deferral of principal to assist with start-up costs, according to a memo from Ozaukee Economic Development that accompanied the application to the Economic Development Board.

Contingencies of the loan include that Bear Arms will create at least 1 1/2 fulltime- equivalent jobs within two years of closing on the loan with the city. The new jobs will be made available through the Ozaukee County Workforce Development Center. At least 51 percent of the employees will be hired from low- to moderate-income households, according to the OED memo.

The funds from the loan will be used to purchase capital equipment for the business.

The opening of Bear Arms has been delayed. Cheryle Rebholz said recently the goal is to open in “early 2018.” She said there have been several delays associated with permits and required approvals.

While the facility will be open to all, the OED memo said the “target market will be women looking to learn more about guns, gun safety and self-defense.”

A presale of charter memberships has sold out. The business is working to create partnerships with the police science program at Milwaukee Area Technical College and a collegiate gun league at Concordia University Wisconsin, according to the OED.