Disneyland for Sig Sauer Fans: The Sig Experience Center
Last week Sig Sauer turned a page and began the latest chapter of its story by opening a one-of-a-kind flagship location in New Hampshire.
Dubbed the Sig Experience Center (SEC), the 40,000 sq. ft. facility has been years in the making and is a showcase to the world, a love letter to the brand's fan base, and an open invitation to anyone curious about learning more about firearms. The company pulled out all the stops on the $13.5 million SEC, which includes not only a retail store and serves as a landing pad for the Sig Sauer Academy Shooting Facility with a complete conference and events facility, but also hosts the Sig Sauer Museum, and the exclusive members-only Club 1751.
"The Sig Experience Center marks the next phase in our company’s evolution, and we are immensely proud to have the opportunity to share the excitement of our brand and our accomplishments with the world,” said company President Ron Cohen.
The ribbon-cutting event last Thursday was attended by over 100 guests including local and state dignitaries while Gov. Asa Hutchinson spoke briefly.
Among the others attending the weekend's event surrounding the grand opening was country artist and Sig fan Brantley Gilbert, who held a concert on Friday evening, while local sports legends including Boston Bruins Brad Marchand and Kevan Miller, and former New England Patriots kicker Adam Vinatieri were on hand.
Besides the numerous facilities in New Hampshire and the sprawling ammo plant in Arkansas, Sig also has its electro-optics operations in Oregon and exports products to over 90 friendly countries.
The company has been working on the SEC for years on the campus of the Sig Sauer Academy.
The flagship store is at the front entrance to the Center and, besides being a showcase to about everything in Sig's catalog, is an outlet to buy classes, range time, and gear. In addition to Sig-branded items, parts, and merch, the store also stocks more than 40 other brands familiar to the community including Bravo Company, Geissele, Gray Guns, Magpul, and Mitch Rosen.
With over 30 lanes in three state-of-the-art indoor ranges, the SEC Shooting Center allows those curious about a new Sig to get some trigger time and literally "try before you buy." Rental prices are $10 for the first gun and $5 for each additional gun, with the ability to throw in a suppressor for another $5. Open to the public, in addition to evaluating the latest Sig firearms, ammunition, and optics, customers can train with their personal firearms.
Just off the store in its own separate wing is the immersive Museum of Sig Sauer, covering the company's roots going back to J.P. Sauer of Germany in 1751 and the Swiss Wagon Factory (SWF, later SIG) of 1853, moving to today's American-based gun industry powerhouse. The walls are covered with a series of full-scale interactive dioramas walking through these 270 years. Sig says historical firearms, one-of-a-kind collections, and the latest prototypes will be displayed in a rotating, ever-changing display.
Conference and Events Center
The SEC's Conference and Events Center includes a modern multi-use space with seating for up to 100. Company officials said this could be used for any number of proceedings including training, meetings, group presentations, product releases (one quietly happened during the opening weekend), and the like. Some even asked if the SEC would host weddings, an occasion that has not been ruled out.
Complete with comfortable leather chairs and the atmosphere of an upscale cigar room without the stogies, Club 1751 is tucked away upstairs and stands as a private entertainment area capable of hosting VIP events and receptions.
In short, the SEC mirrors similar efforts by big-name gun makers such as the Beretta Gallery system and Lenny Magill's Glock Stores locations, only in a very Sig way that offers more juice to the squeeze.
Our only hope is that they kick off another dozen Sig Experience Centers nationwide.