Claremont Planning Board OKs Applications for New Gun Shop, Restaurant

Claremont — The Planning Board approved applications last week for a gun shop on Summer Street and a restaurant on Washington Street. Both will be in existing buildings.

Mark Limoges and Greg Belisle, who own Arrowhead Motors on Washington Street and the Sears store in the Kmart Plaza, also on Washington Street, will own the gun shop, Black Op Arms. The store will be in the former Haynes Real Estate office, behind the Elks Club and across from Cumberland Farms. The Elks own the building and Limoges said and Belisle will lease it.

The store will sell pistols, rifles, ammunition, targets and scopes. It will also offer firearms training. Limoges said they have to complete some minor interior work, erect signs and install shelving before opening, possibly in late May or early June.

The board also approved an application from Desi Willey, of Windsor, for a new restaurant in the former Verizon store at 314 Washington St. The restaurant will have seating for 70 and drive-through service. Behind the building is the shell of a old car wash with a few bays. That structure will be converted to 88 self-storage units, according to the application on file in the planning office. Verizon opened a new store on Washington Street across from the Wal-Mart entrance. Attempts to reach Willey were unsuccessful.

Also last week, the Historic District Commission approved a request for a new door in the former Esersky’s Hardware store on Union Street, where the building’s new owner is planning to open two retail stores.

Building owner Randall Distefano, of Grafton, Vt., will divide the ground floor space with one store selling beer, wine and imported specialty foods and the other selling secondhand vintage clothing.

Distefano said late last week he is shooting for an opening sometime in the spring. He recently bought the building, which dates to the 1830s, for $54,000, according to city assessing records.

Distefano said he has worked in construction for more than 30 years and has done historical reproductions for about 20 years. Before opening, he plans to make some modifications to the front of the building to make it “more historically correct.”

Esersky’s moved to Pleasant Street in early 2010.

Patrick O’Grady can be reached at