|Why? That is the question I’m asked the most. Why The Zone? Why now? My answer is usually very simple because there is always so much to do to around here to keep The Zone running smoothly. The simple, short answer is “because it was needed here in the Flathead”, although there is much more to it than that. Ever since I moved to the Flathead Valley, 9 years ago, everyone I encountered had mentioned a need for some kind of year-round family entertainment and somewhere fun to either just hang out or have birthday parties. I was a full-time real estate broker and mother as well as assisting in my husband, Robin’s business, Meadow Creek Antler Company. I guess I always thought that someone else would build something like the Zone and that I didn’t have what it takes to start and run a business like this. When the real estate market crashed, I decided to concentrate on helping with Robin’s business and in my marketing efforts to do some international exporting of antler chandeliers; I had a conversation with Chris Parsons of the Small Business Development Center that has changed the course of my life and those around me. I started talking to him about this crazy idea of a family fun center. All of a sudden I started to think that if someone else could start a business like this, why couldn’t I? With the support of my family and friends, I started a year-long process of research and development of what has become The Zone Family Fun Center. Once the business plan was in place, trying to get a large scale project like The Zone Family Fun Center funded was a whole other hurdle, especially in a recession. After rejection from most banks in the Flathead, the Montana West Economic Development along with a handful of private investors believed enough in me and the project to invest in The Zone Family Fun Center. In August 2010, I chose this location because it had a large enough building to handle all of the planned attractions as well as potential future expansion as well good parking, easy to get to, and centrally located for all surrounding towns. We began a 5 month remodel of this building and thanks to the hard work and long hours by Kramer Enterprises and all of their subcontractors as well as many long hours, blood, sweat, tears, we got this building in shape to be able to open by December 18, 2010.
The vision. As I was planning The Zone, I really wanted to build a fun and safe place for kids and families to hang out. I wanted it to be affordable so rather than a yearly outing kind of thing, they could come often. I wanted to food to be good and fresh, not some frozen product. I wanted it to be a community place where we can tailor it to the needs and wants of the community. I personally have a passion for people and love to see others smile and laugh and I wanted to build a “happy-place” that I could share with the world. That is the motivation that drives me everyday. Seeing a young child smiling and giggling on the bumper cars and seeing the teens (and adults) come out of the Lazer Combat arena with smiles on their faces is what keeps me going. I have been fortunate enough to find an entire crew that shares that same passion. Everyone from our management team down is shares the same vision and goals. Although everybody has bills to pay, money is not a driving factor for the crew at The Zone, we all have a passion to fulfill this crazy vision to create a community place for families to have fun, smile, and laugh. A Happy Place. That is what we are working hard everyday to create.
The beginning. Anyone who was here during our opening day (or month, for that matter) knows that The Zone got off to a pretty rough start. We encountered many hurdles with equipment and games shipped to us with many issues as well as just a learning curve that is expected in any new business. As we move on, we improve everyday and on constantly looking to get better. We appreciate all the community support, patience, and understanding as we continue to grow with you. We are not perfect, but we will continue to improve and make this a great place to come hang out. We offer a multitude of entertainment options for all ages as well as great, hand-tossed pizzas with all of the ingredients being purchased locally to provide a fresher product and support our neighbors. The Zone is not a large corporate franchise. This was built by you, The Flathead Valley, with your hard work as well as your suggestions and comments. This is YOUR happy place and from all of the crew here at The Zone, we can’t wait to see you again next time you need a little fun and a little smile.
Mi Casa, Su Casa….our house is your house. So come on over, say “hi”, have some dinner and come have some fun and hang out with us.