Victoria to open first laser tag business
Jennifer Lee Preyss
April 2, 2013 at 11 p.m.
Updated April 1, 2013 at 11:02 p.m.
Victoria doctors Dante Garza and Jim Brand are familiar with using lasers at work.
But now that they've purchased their own laser tag business, they can play with light beams any time they want.
"We must have visited at least 20 other laser tag places before we decided on a concept. We went all the way to Arizona, where they have the largest laser tag arena," said Garza, co-owner of Victoria's newest laser tag business, Laserworld. "We tried out every single one. We learned a lot from all the different places. And we learned what would work in our space."
Garza, 48, and Brand, 63, both contracted at DeTar Navarro, are overseeing the construction and remodeling of a 5,000-square-foot building on East Larkspur Street, formerly Celebration Church, that will soon be transformed into the city's first laser tag arena.
Brand, an emergency room doctor with Victoria Emergency Associates, said the building was purchased in November. With plans currently under way, the doctors plan to open Laserworld to the public in the next six to 12 weeks.
"This is absolutely a leap for us," Brand said. "But Victoria seems to have a shortage of activities for preteens and teenagers, and this seemed like a healthy thing we could provide for the kids in this area."
Laserworld boasts an oversized multilevel arena, or fort-like structure, where individuals and teams can shoot lasers at opposing teams.
The building also will feature arcade games, 4-D theater with simulated rides and short movies, a small cafe and six party rooms to rent for special occasions.
There also will be an observation deck for parents to watch their children play rounds of laser tag.
Laserworld, with a theme of earth, water, wind and fire, will carry designs of each element throughout the building.
Pricing hasn't yet been determined, but each game will likely remain in the $7 to $8 price range, Brand said.
Equipment, including laser guns and vests, will be provided onsite, much of which is being specially imported from the United Kingdom.
"We found a company in England that makes the most durable and high quality equipment. So it's a bit more expensive, but it lasts longer," Brand said.
As a physician, Brand endorses laser tag as an excellent method of exercise for teens and says the lasers are medically safe for the eyes.
A second phase of construction is expected next year, Garza said, which will include an outdoor rock climbing wall.
"We hope to have a clean environment where kids can come enjoy themselves," Garza said. "This is not a franchise. It's a homegrown effort, and we're going to do our best to provide a safe environment for kids."
But mostly the doctors just want their guests to have a good time.
"It's fun. Believe me; it's fun," Garza said.