Nearly a decade after the first PowerPlay Family Entertainment Center opened in Shawnee, the owners have added another in the Northland.
Chas Tulipana, his brother Pete Tulipana, and their nephew Mick Witherow, took over the former Best Buy building in Metro North Square, across from Metro North Shopping Center at 509 N.W. Barry Road.
They’ve spent a year converting the 47,000-square-foot space into an multimillion dollar indoor carnival complete with carousel, mini roller coaster and bowling lanes, shooting range games, 200 arcade games, bumper cars, Tilt-A-Whirl, and Kids Zone.
It also has a 4,000-square-foot Laser Blast laser tag room as well as 10 themed party rooms — from a princess to an alien with crashed space ship. The owners hired a former Disney World artist to draw murals throughout the center.
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A carnival concession trailer — in the heart of the center — sells funnel cakes, shaved ice, corn dogs, nachos, coffee, beer, wine and more.
It also has a daily buffet at the entrance which offers such items as chicken, meat loaf, salad, pizza, pasta, and desserts. The cost is $6.99 for adults, $5.99 for children ages 4-to-12, and children 3-and-under eat for free with the purchase of an adult meal.
PowerPlay also has a conference room holding 175 people that has already been booked for team-building events by area corporations, as well as for birthday parties and church youth outings.
Customers pay $1 for a PowerCard and add as much funds to the card as they would like. Then they swipe the cards for games or food. Tulipana said the average customer stays about three hours.
An outdoor entertainment area is scheduled to open soon with go-carts and a zip-line.
MD Management, landlord for Metro North Square, has resurfaced the parking lot and added LED throughout the center. MD said PowerPlay will be a “key component to the revitalization of the entire area.”
The first PowerPlay opened in an 80,000-square-foot former Kmart, at 13110 W. 62nd Terr. in Shawnee, in 2005.
Tulipana said cities like Chicago have multiple family centers. While the owners of those centers have more competition, they also don’t have to market the “family entertainment” concept so much to the public.
“Everyone knows what you mean. That it is something for both kids and adults, and they are very popular,” Tulipana said.
Chips & Dips
A sign at the new Chips & Dips says “Hello, my friends.”
But you’re more likely to hear it from owner chef Yahia Kamal himself. Whether at his station making up fresh Mediterranean cuisine at Cosentino’s Market Downtown or now also at Chips & Dips restaurant, Kamal typically has a ready smile, greeting customers as if they were coming into his home.
He’s had restaurants before, but always with partners. Chips & Dips is his vision of a great Mediterranean cafe.
The new restaurant at 2506 Holmes serves gyros, grilled chicken shawarma, tabouli, Greek salad, Fatoush salad, plates like the Greek sampler, chips and hummus, Spanakopita, soups and desserts, as well as Turkish coffee. It also has a daily special and happy hour special discounts on sandwiches and plates.
Kamal, who is known as “Yummy,” also has a wholesale operation called Yummy’s Choice selling gourmet Mediterranean food made from natural ingredients and without preservatives or additives. The products are available at several area groceries.
Chips & Dips also has a retail area selling some of the products, including his freshly made chips and dips, as well as prepacked meals.
What’s happening with the Brandsmart building in Waldo? There has been working going on for years.
Nicholas Abnos purchased the 20,000-square-foot building at 211 W. Gregory Blvd., in 2005. He has since been converting it into a center that would have several retail spaces on the first floor and offices and/or condos on the second.
Abnos, who owns several area commercial centers, said he typically gets into a redevelopment project, quickly finishes it up and goes on to the next one.
“New construction is very easy, baby stuff, you just pour concrete for the base and build right on it,” Abnos said. “But there are several factors that differentiate this project from another. I had a semi-historic ice house with a variety of challenges to deal with. I want to keep all the original valuable elements of the building. I also had some legal wrangling over utility lines running through the project which has resulted in years of delay, and problems financing a multimillion dollar project during the recession.”
Still, Abnos said he is “actively working to complete the project.”
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