Family Fun Zone to open this fall

Family Fun Zone is set to open late this fall in the old Ashley Furniture/Goody’s Family Clothing location in College Square Mall.

It’s part Dave and Busters, part Chuck E Cheese’s.

It will be all fun.

Family Fun Zone is set to open late this fall in the old Ashley Furniture/Goody’s Family Clothing location in College Square Mall.

“College Square reached out to bring us here because they know we’ll increase the traffic flow,” said Manager Joe Baumgartner. “They’ve been very supportive of us doing what we need to do. They’ve been great to work with. I feel we’ll be able to help the mall and the mall location will help the city.”

Veteran Morristown businessperson Eliana Leal is owner of the Family Fun Zone. She also owns Vintage Restoration Station and East Tennessee Gun Club, among other businesses.

The project was originally scheduled to open earlier this year in the former Modern Chair Upholstery behemoth at the 700 block of East Morris Boulevard, but delays and permit issues, as well as problems with the original location forced the endeavor to be pushed back nearly a year.

Joe Baumgartner, manager of the new business, is excited for the opening.

“What Lakeway Area residents have waiting for them is a unique experience,” Bumgartner said. “Arcade games are being set up for social distancing.”

The space at College Square Mall is 28,000 square feet. Compared to the original location, the mall location is all on one level and easily accessible.

Along with the arcade games, there will be a redemption store where tickets may be traded for prizes. A bumper car area will be available for the first time since 2006 in Morristown when Fun Expedition was located at the present Ollie’s.

A toddler play area where younger children can play supervised by their parents will also be available.

New to the Lakeway Area is an indoor ice skating rink. Previously, the closest ice skating rink was located at Ober Gatlinburg and at Bristol Motor Speedway during its annual “Speedway in Lights” holiday celebration in November, December and January.

Laser tag is also part of the varied activities to be offered at Family Fun Zone.

“A muralist from Nashville came in to do a black light mural for us,” Baumgartner said.

A trampoline area, along with a dodgeball arena are both part of the activities.

A 20 foot by 25 foot stunt air bag is also located in the zone. This was constructed after COVID-19 concerns.

“You usually have the foam cubes,” Bumgartner said. “The air bag is much more hygienic to keep it virus free. Hygiene is on everyone’s minds right now.”

In the trampoline area, there will also be an open jumping area with sidewalks to jump on.

The zone will also offer a virtual reality area, along with an area for “Wipeout” style games.

Private rooms for parties, reunions and birthdays are located near a fully-stocked kitchen with a capacity of 100 guests.

One of the more popular pastimes in recent years, axe throwing, will be part of the adult activities offered. When he tried it, Bumgartner said that axe throwing was harder that he thought it would be. There will be two coaches to guide patrons in the proper techniques with axe throwing.

“We’re trying to get a nice mix of a playground for adults and kids,” he said. “It’s something that our community needs. We’re going to have plenty to do that’s wholesome entertainment. People are chomping at the bit to live their lives again. We want to make it a safe environment. All we can do is to keep it safe, especially right now.”

Family Fun Zone delayed their opening three months so COVID-19 numbers would decrease. Now is the right time, Bumgartner said.

The business had hundreds of applicants. Open interviews will be conducted at East Tennessee Gun Club, located at 348 Industrial Avenue in the East Industrial Park behind UPS from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday.

Bumgartner said the company is a locally-owned company providing a need for the community.

“This will save a lot of fighting tourist traffic in Knoxville, Gatlinburg or Sevierville,” Bumgartner said. “We really wanted to provide for the community.”

Morristown industries and businesses draw from the entire Lakeway Area. Bumgartner said that 40 percent of the workers come from elsewhere to work here.

“They also come here to shop for entertainment and to eat at the restaurants,” he said. “The city leaders have done a great job of making Morristown a commerce center. We just want to be part of that.”

Groups are welcome at Family Fun Zone, such as churches, sports teams and families.

“We’ve been starting to go to the churches to invite groups,” Bumgartner said.