HOLDEN, Maine — Maine Military Supply owner Frank Spizuoco felt a little squished in the backside of the Wilson Square Shopping Plaza after the Brewer Medical Center moved in September 2010 and decided to start looking for a new home.
He found it a mile away on Main Road in Holden at the old Swish Maintenance location that he purchased along with 10 acres of land that he already has plans for.
“Prior to the purchase, I got site plan approval … for long-term development plans for an indoor firing range and outdoor paintball,” Spizuoco said.
The Holden building is larger and the Main Road locale has already increased his drop-in customers, he said. After being open for about a month Spizuoco said he’s happy with the decision to move.
“Sales are already way beyond” typical figures for March, the business owner said. “It’s like night and day.”
With the move also came an opportunity to increase the selection of inventory.
“We ran the inventory down and depleted it at year’s end and we’ve been able to strengthen certain departments that are doing well and expanded those,” the gun shop and military supply owner said. “We have more firearms, more brands, more types of ammunition. More camping preparedness products, and more firearm accessories.”
Opening the store is phase one. Phase two is to create the outdoor paintball range, and the final phase is to build an indoor firing range that can be used for training and customers who want to try out a weapon before purchase, Spizuoco said. He also hopes to have machine gun rentals at some point after the range is open.
Currently, there are no local indoor firing ranges or paintball facilities, he said.
“People will come from all over. I’m pretty confident of that,” Spizuoco said.
The goal is to have the paintball operation up and running within the year and to offer outdoor woods ball as well as scenario play, Spizuoco said.
“With scenario you create different scenarios based on the audience,” he said. “If it’s a birthday party and it’s 10-year-old kids you would do a different scenario compared to if it was a bachelor party.”
To prepare for building the indoor range, Spizuoco recently went to a weeklong seminar in Texas where he learned about design, materials to use, what type of products to carry, and about other features.
“We’re going to have one bay with five lanes, and the second bay will be five lanes tactical,” he said.
The tactical training bay will allow for law enforcement to bring in training equipment and will be big enough that they could drive in a vehicle if they wanted to, Spizuoco said.
Spizuoco got into the surplus business in Newport and moved his business to Brewer a decade ago. He also started selling items on the Internet over the years and online sales, especially for survival gear, now make up a good portion of his business.
With more customers at the Holden store, Spizuoco also had to hire two additional people. He now has 14 employees and attributes his business prosperity to their work ethic.
“A lot of the growth and success has been because of the people I surround myself with,” he said.
Now that he’s settled into his new location and has future plans for the land around it, Spizuoco said he’s home.
“I’m not going anywhere,” he said.