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updated: 7/3/2012 7:37 PM

G.A.T. Guns now a part of East Dundee

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  • G.A.T. Guns is on Route 25 north of the Jane Addams Tollway.

       G.A.T. Guns is on Route 25 north of the Jane Addams Tollway.
    Patrick Kunzer | Staff Photographer

 
 

The village of East Dundee has annexed several properties on Route 25, including G.A.T. Guns, which officials predict will be the second-largest generator of tax revenue in town behind Walmart.

East Dundee officials sweetened the deal by agreeing to finance G.A.T. Guns' $5.5 million expansion.

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The expansion would add 24 indoor shooting-range lanes for high-caliber rifles and 10 indoor lanes for handguns, where there are now 24.

The money, which would come from a tax increment finance district -- where property taxes that go to local governments are frozen at a certain point and taxes above that point go back into development -- also would improve the building and its parking lot. As part of the agreement, the business has to stay in town for 12 years.

G.A.T. Guns sells firearms and gun accessories and offers shooting ranges for practice. Its clientele is a mix of civilians and law-enforcement officers.

G.A.T. stands for "guns, ammo, training." The company has been around since 1979 but in its current location since 1988. The business has more than 6,000 firearms on hand at any given time and has been honored for recruiting members for the National Rifle Association, said Greg Tropino Jr., who runs it with his father.

"We already are one of the largest private facilities in the country and this (expansion) allows us to be at least the largest gun range in the country that's privately held and allows us to be much bigger and better," Tropino said.

The expansion should start within the next two weeks and end this winter, Tropino said.

Without the expansion, the business was expected to generate $365,000 in combined sales and amusement tax revenues in the first year, interim Village Administrator Bob Skurla said.

"That would be the size of a small- to medium-size car dealer," Skurla said, adding that the number should grow as the business expands. "I think you can see, going down the road, that the sales tax and the amusement tax to the village could conceivably get to $1 million."

East Dundee officials have agreed not to interfere with G.A.T. Guns' daily operations.

The vote took place Saturday, so the village could start collecting sales taxes and the 5 percent amusement tax on the first of the month, Skurla said.

But East Dundee Trustee Allen Skillicorn said the meeting should have been held Monday to give the public a chance to attend and give input.

"It would be nice if it was a little transparent," Skillicorn said. "The legal requirements were there, but it was a little fast-paced."

Other properties annexed into East Dundee on Saturday were Pampered Pets, MAS Accounting, The Max McGraw Wildlife Foundation and a pair of private residential properties. As a result, East Dundee's limits have been extended another half mile south on Route 25.

The village is still in talks to annex the Milk Pail and Sierra Studio.

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