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Slingshot business, shooting gallery coming to Meriden Mall

reporter photo

MERIDEN — A local slingshot business is set to open a three-month pop-up shop with an indoor shooting gallery at the Meriden Mall.

Andrew M. Cislo, owner of Fork Plus Band Slingshot, decided that the three months were perfect for the holiday season. The gallery will be there until Feb. 15. 

“We are planning to open within the next couple of weeks,” Cislo said. “We have been setting everything up so that customers can have an enjoyable experience.”

The pop-up shop will have three components: the shooting gallery, slingshot sports and their slingshot shop where customers can buy a slingshot. Some are even crafted by Cislo and his family.

Shooting gallery, sports and shop

For the shooting gallery, there will be eight lanes with two people each. Each lane has a theme which includes rock and roll, sports, enchanted forest and carnival.

“When creating the targets, I wanted to add not only height, but depth as well,” Cislo said. “Each lane has a tall three tier shelf and a rack in front for depth. Each shelf has a moving target which I built myself.”

Cislo built the motors of the moving targets. He taught himself once he decided to open at the Meriden Mall because he wanted it to be interactive for family and friends. 

Before entering the shop at the time of their reservation, players must sign a waiver. When reserving a time, players will put in their height so that a slingshot with the appropriate measurements can be provided. Each person will use a slingshot that is handcrafted by Cislo. When inside the gallery, each person will wear safety glasses.

Family friendly activity

The shooting gallery is a family friendly activity and is great for beginners, according to Cislo. 

“We really want to get rid of the stigma against slingshots because it’s actually a family friendly activity that doesn’t require force,” he said. “It’s not hard and it’s more of a skill rather than how strong you are.”

The cost for one player is $35 for an hour, but prices can be discounted based on the number of players in each group. 

Meriden resident Evelyn Talavera said she hopes the business brings families back into the mall.

“I think it’s an interesting business,” she said. “I would definitely check it out.”

Opening the pop-up shop

Before making plans to open a pop-up shop at the Meriden Mall, Cislo wanted to find a location in Meriden to open his own shop. 

His business is currently located in the NESIT Makerspace at 290 Pratt St. According to its website, NESIT Markerspace is a nonprofit organization that offers a collaborative environment for people to build things.

“I really wanted my own shop but then my wife actually brought up the idea of renting a space at the mall,” Cislo said.

Cislo was initially against the idea, but then realized the advantages of opening at the Meriden Mall.

“I realized that I wouldn’t have to worry about parking, food, bathrooms and security,” he said.

Paul Petrillo, co-founder of Petrillo’s Fairs and Festivals located at the Meriden Mall, says the pop-up shop is a good move for the mall.

“It’s a good move to bring in more recreational types of businesses rather than the standard retail shop,” he said. “It will bring in a different demographic of people.”


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