Family recreation centre seeks liquor licence to remain profitable

Bar needed to stay afloat

Owners of Kelowna's Energyplex hopes a change in its business model will result in a change in its financial viability.

The indoor recreation centre, within the McCurdy Corner shopping centre, features activities from rock climbing and laser tag to a trampoline area and skytrax.

However, owner Erik Brouwer says a substantial yearly lease ($250,000) skyrocketing insurance premiums, increases to the minimum wage and losses due to a forced closure and now restrictions due to COVID-19 have negatively impacted their profitability.

Insurance costs alone have tripled over the last three years to $75,000/year.

"We need to increase our revenue in order to bounce back towards a viable business," he stated in an application to the city seeking a positive recommendation for a liquor primary license.

Brouwer says the intention is to remove the gymnastics and trampoline area, replacing it with a 60-person bar/lounge.

"Research has shown us of a very successful entertainment centre concept in the United States where the business focuses on activities for all ages and opens during evening hours," the application stated.

"The critical success factor is the presence of a sizeable arcade area in combination with a bar/lounge."

If successful, the bar would be open from 10 a.m. until midnight seven days a week.

The city does not have the authority to issue the license itself, however, council is being asked to forward a recommendation of support to the Provincial Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch.

The application will be reviewed by council next Tuesday evening.

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