The idea for Insights Air Range was born when co-founders Didier Perez and fellow shooting enthusiast Stewart Patullo found themselves having to travel miles to the nearest range based in Northumberland, week after week. They quickly discovered that there was a gap in the market to open an air shooting range in County Durham.
Once the two friends had taken the leap to start their own business, they began to research suitable venues across County Durham and got in touch with Business Durham, the economic development arm of Durham County Council and one of the biggest commercial property landlords in the North East.
Co-founder and director Stewart Patullo said: “Anne and Judith from Business Durham were extremely helpful showing a range of different units to help us find the perfect home for our new business. The unit at Chilton had recently been refurbished and it had excellent parking facilities and access, which was a big selling point for us.”
The pair found Chilton Industrial Estate, owned and managed by Business Durham to be the perfect location, being close to the A167 providing easy access from across the North East for customers.
Fellow co-founder and director Didier Perez added: “The support we received from Business Durham was outstanding. We needed to apply for a change of use for the unit from an industrial space to a leisure facility and the team at Business Durham bent over backwards to make the process as smooth as possible.”
As well as providing physical space, Business Durham offers support for businesses like Insights Air Range to help them spot opportunities and facilitate growth. Durham Business Opportunities Programme (DBOP) officer Guy Bashford introduced Didier and Stewart to LEADER funding that was available through the Rural Development Programme for England.
Didier continued: “We didn’t realise that the service provided by Business Durham extends much further than providing physical space. Guy introduced us to the LEADER fund, which if awarded will help tremendously with the set-up costs of the business and developing the business going forward. Guy’s advice gave us lots of ideas for funding and business development which saved us a lot of time.”
Insights Air Range provides shooting enthusiasts and members of the public alike the opportunity to enjoy an Olympic certified sport in a safe and controlled environment. Didier and Stewart are both fully certified range conducting officers and undertake a full safety briefing before each session. Insights Air Range welcomes experienced shooters as well as beginners, birthday parties, corporate events and is open six days a week.
Peter McDowell, Business Durham property director said: “As a landlord, we try to be as flexible as possible. The unit at Chilton was perfect in terms of size and location for Insights Air Range but needed a change of use. The team worked with Didier and Stewart to make this happen as quickly as possible, and it’s great to see their hard work is starting to pay off.”