Location: Indianapolis, Ind.
Owners: Ken Fraley and Gene Brown
Open in June of 1999 by owners Ken Fraley and Gene Brown, X-Site Amusement and Recreation Center of Indianapolis, Ind., still offers great and exciting laser tag experiences and events. “After being a business owner in the gas and convenience store business for 20-plus years, Ken was really excited to try something different. Ken started out as just an investor with his partner, Gene Brown, but out of a need to get open he jumped in on the operations side,” said Kenja Fraley, Ken’s wife and current general manager at X-Site. “It was a great addition for us, a blessing, and an amazingly successful venture!”
After a rough opening and an unsuccessful general manager X-Site hired, the ILTA was called in to run the facility from 2000 until 2002. Utilized as a test center, the experiences at X-Site allowed the ILTA to try out new ideas while helping the facility turn around.
Now, 10 years later, X-Site is a thriving business.
With our focus on corporate sales this issue, we thought we would revisit the center that spawned our “Corporate Programs” manual. When asked about the success of their corporate programs, Kenja replied “We make them feel like kids! We have fun with them and don’t overdo being professional. They come here to have fun, not to be ‘corporate.’ We do a great job and have tons of repeat business because of this philosophy!”
X-Site has weathered Indianapolis’ growth in laser tag competition as there was only one site in Indy when they opened, and now there are eight! X-Site has always managed to stay relevant and unique over the last 13 years. “We offer customer service that is unmatched! We know that people do not have to come here. It is always our goal to make customers eager for their next visit before they have even left from the current one.
“We make sure that every guest feels special and knows that we appreciate them. We rely on our guests to spread good word of mouth for us. We have a sufficient website that allows our customers to get the information they need, but we like to have verbal communication with our customers.
“We firmly believe that even in the high-tech, computer-oriented world we live in, people like to rely on real, live people when it comes to their entertainment. Computers are not entertaining, people are! We get them excited by revealing to them the ‘X-Siting’ personality of X-Site by providing them a real person to communicate with!”
Through our long experiences and conversations with operators over the years, we have found that every operator has some regrets. “The only change we would make is to increase the size of our lobby. We went into this venture making sure that our arena was the best of the best, but shortchanged our lobby.”
Kenja offered this advice for new operators as well. “Be involved! You must set the tone for your employees so that they know and feel what is expected. Never ask them to do what you yourself wouldn’t do! Be aggressive, always happy and upbeat and real!” –