Matt and Eliza Cole are ready to give another business a chance.
Local entrepreneurs already run a handful of businesses in the Southern Lights Mall on Marion Road. They opened New2You Bargain Bins in May 2020, then added a retail store, pallet sales, and online BidRite auctions.
In late 2021, they added Your Great Escape: Break It or Break Out in a pair of storefronts, offering escape rooms, virtual reality games, rage drawing, and smash rooms (also known as breakout rooms or rage rooms).
On Friday, they plan to open the Freedom Fire Virtual Range as part of the Your great escape.
Virtual Range offers a wide range of shooting games – everything from close combat to trap shooting. Other scenarios are more geared towards traditional timed target practice. Shooters can choose from a variety of weapons, including pistols and shotguns.
Bringing “more entertainment value to Bucyros”
“Actually, the idea came from always wanting to… provide more entertainment value to Pokiros”, said Matt Cole.
He said it was frustrating to hear people say there was nothing to do in the city. With the virtual range added to rage, escape and paint rooms at Coles, as well as downtown The Copper Axes, families have some good entertainment options.
“My father-in-law had a church event out of town, and they did a virtual shooting range. He called me up and said, ‘We’ve got people from my age and seniors down to the teenage range…we all had fun. That was so much fun. You should really look into that.'” “Okay,” said Cole.
After about a year, they are ready to make the move.
“Now we can add another aspect to the Bucyrus that’s something different, something fun… We’ll continually be adding to that room; we want to lean a lot more toward training; gun safety is a huge thing that really needs to be taught, all the way,” Cole said.
For example, he has a friend who would like to teach his wife to shoot, but they have small children and it is difficult for them to find time to go to the field. Cole said the virtual range will give her a chance to learn the basics of firearm safety in a family-friendly environment — and the whole family can have fun together.
Kids can learn the basics of gun safety
It is also a safe place to teach children the basics.
“There’s no way you could get hurt,” Cole said. “They’re the same weight as a regular pistol, or whatever else you’re using. The magazines all release the same, so you can still carry the gun. So you can teach them all about pistol safety—that’s on adults that their kids will bring.”
Freedom Fire won’t offer any training – at least at first. “We’re looking to get to a point where we’re doing coaching classes specifically, where we have a coach here,” he said.
Coles Factory offers Winter Trap Shooting Patrol.
Gavin Leffler, a family friend from Nevada who helps with the business, explained how the virtual range works. Coles asked him for help because he had experience with firearms.
“It’s not too bad,” Leffler said of the simulation. “It’s very accurate. The weapons look very similar to how the actual weapon feels too. …
“If you like, you get in, you can work on your goal, or you can just have fun and play a game.”
Cole said reservations are highly recommended. Since there is only one room, the person who enters and wants to shoot must wait until the room is available, and it can be reserved for up to two hours.
Prices start at $18 per person for 30 minutes
Rates start at $18 per person per half hour, with additional time available in 30-minute increments. But the cost per half hour drops – a 60-minute session is $29.99 and a 90-minute session is $44.99.
“It gradually gets a little bit cheaper within the time limit, the longer you book,” Cole said.
Reservations can be made online at breakitorbreakout.com. For information, call 419-617-1864.
Hours of operation are 6-10pm on Fridays, noon-10pm on Saturdays, and 2-8pm on Sundays.
Cole said the addition of Freedom Fire leaves Your Great Escape without a party room — but that’s only temporary. They plan to remodel an extra room in the back of the building, which will allow them to host everything from birthday celebrations to stag and hen parties.
“I’m just trying to provide a broader range of entertainment,” said Cole. “I know people enjoy going out and just doing things with family. So, there’s another option.”