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“Retail-tainment” on the Rise
It has been 2 years since COVID-19 brought our daily life to a halt, and consumers today are constantly seeking new experiences and thrills. Entertainment concepts that took a hit from the pandemic seem to be getting back on track, and forward-thinking big box entertainment concepts continue to evolve. Further, many entertainment franchises have entered the retail scene, occupying space in shopping centers and malls following a trend known as “retail-tainment.”
Dave and Buster’s, the restaurant and entertainment chain, suffered greatly throughout the pandemic. Now, they are on their way back to pre-pandemic success levels, boasting 6% higher revenue’s than the chain made in 2019. The video game arcade company has learned to adapt to the changes brought on by the pandemic, and have even introduced a mobile app that allows users to pay and play right off their phones (National Restaurant News). Recently, Dave & Buster’s acquired Main Event, a state-of-the-art "all you can play" entertainment concept, for $835 million according to Shopping Center Business.
Many developers are accepting that entertainment is a major player in the future of retail. In 2018, Jim Becker, Senior Executive/Director at Goodman Real Estate Services, represented Main Event in the deal that introduced the entertainment venue to the Northeastern Ohio market in Avon, Ohio. Jim Becker currently represents Launch Entertainment, an exciting leader within the family entertainment industry that offers trampoline courts, dodgeball, rock climbing, laser tag, virtual reality rooms, ninja courses, an in-house restaurant, beverage services, and more. On a mission to rapidly grow their national reach, Launch Entertainment has recently opened new locations in Florida, Massachusetts, Michigan, Virginia, Texas, and are looking to expand to Ohio. The franchise currently has 80 centers open and under development.
Scene75 is a similar concept, with a full restaurant, bar service, and over 100 games available to play. The company was named the #1 Entertainment Center in the world by the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions in 2016 and 2021. Scene75 offers several attractions, including Indoor go-karts, laser tag, blacklight mini-golf, virtual reality room, a 4D motion theater, bumper cars, arcade games, bars, a restaurant, and more.
Topgolf International is an excellent example of an entertainment concept that continues to evolve. Each Topgolf facility offers an engaging way to eat, drink, socialize, and play a game of simulated golf. High-tech golf balls are hit from climate-controlled hitting bays, aimed at targets throughout the giant outfield, and the balls score themselves. Every location is created differently, varying between single-level and multi-level venues. The Nashville location is home to a two-story live performance venue, over 200 HDTVs, a rooftop terrace with a skyline view, and a VIP deck with a private balcony and bar. The chain opened 10 new venues in 2021, and there are 9 new facilities currently being built (GolfPass).Topgolf has built over 74 facilities in the past two decades, and they are continuing to expand and innovate to improve customer experience.
Beyond Golf and X-Golf are similar golf entertainment concepts, but they operate indoors and on a much smaller scale, fitting well in shopping centers. Beyond Golf is a venue that allows players to enjoy gourmet food, craft beers, and cocktails, all while playing games on popular golf courses around the world through a high-definition simulator. X-Golf also offers games of simulated indoor golf with over 50 open locations in the U.S., occupying roughly 10,000 square foot spaces. At X-Golf, players can take golfing lessons, play on virtual courses, enter tournaments, and enjoy a full bar and restaurant. In 2021, Steve Altemare, Senior Vice President; and Rob Yaskanich, Senior Director, at Goodman Real Estate Services Group LLC, represented the landlord in the transaction that brought X-Golf to the Avon Commons shopping center.
The "retail-tainment" trend has excelled as the population shifts more towards online shopping, and many shopping centers and retail spaces are seeking tenants that will appeal to consumers in different ways. Decades ago, it would be uncommon to find entertainment and restaurant concepts anchoring shopping centers. Now, movie theaters, restaurants, arcades, bowling alleys, and new forward-thinking concepts have become an attractive addition to retail centers, and even help to boost the success of surrounding retailers.