Erie’s Round1: Large, loud, almost ready for business

“There’s nothing like this in Erie,” said Joe Bell, spokesman for the Youngstown-based Cafaro Co. that owns the mall.

The quiet, empty space left by Burlington Coat Factory’s 2012 departure from the Millcreek Mall is empty no more.

Round1 Bowling and Entertainment, a 50,000-square-foot activity center for adults and children — featuring bowling, billiards, arcade games, ping-pong, karaoke, a bar, food and private party rooms — was busy Friday training employees and getting ready to open on Sept. 1.

“There’s nothing like this in Erie,” said Joe Bell, spokesman for the Youngstown-based Cafaro Co. that owns the mall.

A description of the concept fails to capture the experience of the new entertainment center, located at the western end of the mall, where it shares an entrance with Mad Mex Fresh Mexican Grill and Primanti Brothers.

Whatever image comes to mind, Round 1 is most likely bigger, louder and brighter, illuminated by the flashing lights of 250 arcade games, including dozens of crane games that allow users with a little luck and good eye-hand coordination to manipulate the claw to snag stuffed Japanese cartoon characters and other merchandise.



Round1, after all, was founded in Japan in 1980, but has expanded to the United States, where there are now 20 locations.

Taka Mizuno, Round One Entertainment Inc.’s California-based marketing manager, who recently helped open a new location in Sandy, Utah, thinks Erie has everything needed for a successful location, including a strong mall, the right demographics and the sort of weather that might tend to draw people indoors for a good part of the year.

Jake Schnell, general manager of the entertainment center, thinks that will be part of the success, along with the ability to cater to children and adults at the same time.

“In Erie, there is really nothing like this,” he said. “You would have to go to the outskirts of Cleveland, Buffalo or Pittsburgh.”

And he’s already thinking ahead to the benefits of offering a fun place to get away from an Erie winter for a few hours.

 

SOURCE: Bucks County Courier Times

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