Gotcha Lazer Tag kicks off with fundraisers, festivals

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By Bryan Marshall

A Williamstown couple hopes to provide families with unique fun with their new Grant County business.
Karen and Brett Gavin started Gotcha Lazer Tag and Inflatables in June with a public event at Grant County Park in Crittenden.

Since then, the couple has been spreading the word of their business through private parties, fundraisers and festivals such as Marigold Day.

“We just moved down here almost two years ago and realized there was nothing for kids to do,” said Karen Gavin. “Our kids love inflatables and I had rented one for my son’s birthday. And, I told (my husband), we can do this. This is a perfect location for it because it was so costly to have them bring it down, set it up and take it back. I thought we could do it for half the price and keep it local. We wanted a budget-friendly option for people to have and give kids entertainment. Kids who are bored get in trouble.”
The Gavins, who have a son and a daughter, said they want to show how much fun families can have together while also being active.

“I think our number one goal is getting the kids active and promoting physical fitness,” Brett Gavin said.
Gotcha currently features three inflatables for rent, including a camouflage bounce house, a double slide that can be turned into a water slide and a velcro-sticky wall.
However, as business grows, the Gavins anticipate offering more inflatable options.

“Right now, our inflatables are our bread and butter,” Karen Gavin said. “People are more familiar with it. We really think that once people really understand what the laser tag is, it’s going to take off.
Bringing a unique twist to laser tag, the business also takes the fun game and brings it outside.
Gotcha currently has 20 laser guns that have screens on them that tell the individual player how they are doing.

However, the Gavins said their brand of laser tag focus less on the individual and more of the team camaraderie.
 “Indoor laser tag is more of an individual scoring system,” Brett Gavin said. “It promotes individual achievement with one winner. We can do that with our guns, but our guns focus more on team play. You’re actually part of a team.”
The average starting age range for laser tag is 5 to 6 years old, but 40-year-olds have had fun playing for hours, the Gavins said.
While the game can be utilized indoors as well, Karen Gavin said it is much more fun outside with obstacles, especially natural ones such as trees in the woods.
Playing in the night is especially a blast, said Gavin, adding that the lasers give off a disco-ball vibe.
“We tried to capitalize on the video game industry and that’s why we went with the laser tag,” she said. “It’s so realistic to like Black Ops and Call of Duty. It makes it real. It’s the fun of paintball without the mess of the paint.”

From a musket to a military-style machine gun, the weapons use computer enhancement to create 69 different emulations.

The laser guns can even work in light rain and snow.

“One of the things I really love about it is the opportunity for physical fitness,” Brett Gavin said. “A lot of kids are drawn into the video games and kids will spend hours sitting in front of the TV screen. This way, they’re able to be apart of the action and be that character. We’re looking to even set up player profiles and allowing kids to be their own character with their own nickname.”

When the Gavins first started discussing their business venture, they explored making Gotcha Lazer Tag and Inflatables into a larger business housed in a building.
The vision was and still ultimately is to create a family fun center that could add miniature golf, an arcade room, concession stand and more.

“We’re looking for a big chunk of land and we’re thinking of building a barn and setting up picnic tables outside so people can bring their own food, cake and whatever,” Karen Gavin said. “It would keep it cost-effective because in this economy you can’t charge an arm and a leg.”

To make the dream a reality, Brett Gavin said the business needs one vital thing.
“Our start is right here and we need the community support,” he said.
For more information about Gotcha Lazer Tag and Inflatables, call 859-957-7585, go to www.gotcha2play.com or check out the business’ Facebook page.