With its go-karts, mini-golf and water games, C.J. Barrymore’s is a popular summertime retreat, but renovations now underway look to make the Hall Road venue a year-round entertainment center.
Owner Rick Iceberg said he hopes this latest expansion, which includes electric bumper cars, mini-bowling and new arcade games, will increase the venue’s wintertime appeal.
“It’s one more thing,” Iceberg said of the renovations. “We’re trying to expand our winter business. We have so much in the summer, but the bumper cars are another indoor game.”
This most recent addition, scheduled to open at the end of February, is yet another piece in Iceberg’s plans to diversify his company’s entertainment offerings.
“You have to change,” Iceberg said. “Whatever we did last year is no longer good this year.”
It is this mantra that has driven Iceberg in his business plan since purchasing the Clinton Township property, then a driving range, in 1974. Go-karts soon followed and by the 1980s, Barrymore’s had evolved into a popular nightclub.
The entertainment center as it is known today began to take shape in the 1990s, buoyed by the expansion of Hall Road and the associated housing boom.
Iceberg credits a full-scale renovation just before the economic recession as Barrymore’s saving grace as a small business.
“In 2008, we redesigned the whole company,” he said. This redesign included placing greater emphasis on birthday packages and winter business. With Barrymore’s birthday business taking off in recent years, Iceberg has shifted his focus to enhancing the venue’s indoor entertainment.
This has included continues upgrades to the center’s selection of arcade games.
“Name any top game and we have it,” Iceberg said. “This is a really exciting time in gaming technology. There’s a ton of new stuff. It’s like the cell phone. Ten years ago you thought it was the greatest thing, but now it’s so much more. I love what’s happening now.”
To add to the arcade’s appeal, Iceberg said every game either awards tickets that can be exchanged for a prize or the prize itself, with some of the newest games offering high-end items such as iPads and Wii systems.
And unlike many of the older, joystick-based games, the new models use touchscreen technology and often require more physical activity as well as multiple players.
While Barrymore’s patrons can test out the newest games, including mini-bowling, right now, Iceberg said there is still a fair amount of work to be done on the building slated to house the bumper cars and expanded concession stand.
And though he isn’t giving away all of his ideas, Iceberg said he does plan another expansion next year that should bring Barrymore’s footprint on Hall Road to around 50,000 square feet.
“Hall Road is phenomenal and we want to keep growing,” he added.
Barrymore’s, located at 21750 Hall Road, will remain open during renovations, but only on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. For more information, visit http://www.cjbarrymores.com/.