You can defend your fort in the laser tag arena or be engulfed in a typhoon in an arcade game.
Visiting Edison’s Entertainment Complex in Edwardsville is like stepping into an imaginary world. And that philosophy is embraced by the people who own and operate it.
“We are all cast members, this is our stage and these are our guests — they’re not customers,” said marketing and training manager Tom Rezabeck. His “fun name” is conductor of guest experiences.
Opened last month, Edison’s Entertainment Complex, located on S. Illinois Route 157, houses a 12-lane bowling alley, a laser tag arena, arcade game center, self-serve yogurt station, and a bar and restaurant.The “boutique” style bowling offers four 12-foot projection television screens, leather lounging sofas, and retractable gutter guards that can be up when the little ones throw and down when the adults play.
CEO Matt McSparin said the complex was designed to appeal to kids, families and adults.
“This place speaks to all ages,” McSparin said. “We designed it that way and people have responded that way. We had three couples at the restaurant the other night. They told me they left the kids at home — they couldn’t tell them where they were going.”
Granite City resident Cindy O’Neill said she liked the new entertainment center because most places just have an arcade to entertain her 10-year-old grandson, Brady O’Neill and his friend, Nathan Drobisch, also 10. But at Edison’s, she and her husband, Gary, can join in the fun.
“We can bowl with them,” she said. “I’m not going to do the arcade, but I’ll be bowling. I like that they have something the adults can do.”
For her birthday, Diane Majka’s two teen-aged sons Jacob, 17, and Jonathon, 15, treated her to a bowling excursion
“I’m 43 today and my boys took me bowling,” said the Highland resident.
Rezabeck said people have come to Edison’s for birthday parties, bridal showers, meetings and other types of gatherings. They can rent one of five party rooms at the center and two of the bowling lanes can be cordoned off with a partition for private bowling parties as well. Edison’s also provides “party conductors.”
“They stay with the party and make sure all the kids are involved, everyone is having fun and that they’re staying safe,” Rezabeck explained.
McSparin, who is a managing partner along with Terry Rujawitz, said the center has seen about 10,000 customers so far. He said the outdoor heat has helped business, and he expects more guests when the fall semester begins at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.
He said he’s not concerned about the state of the bowling industry with the July 9 closure of Bowland Lanes in Granite City. It was one of a number of locations closed by its parent company AMF Bowling Centers Inc., which heralds itself as “the world’s largest owner and operator of bowling centers.”
McSparin said the his entertainment center is different because it uses bowling as a staple and incorporates arcade games, laser tag and the bar and restaurant into the mix.
“We’re reviving the bowling business through this presentation,” McSparin said.