The checkered flag now flows under a different name in the go-kart business from Twelve Mile Crossing to Fountain Walk in Novi. And Aaron Banfield, president and CEO of Full Throttle Adrenaline Park, believes it’s a change the community will accept.
“This opportunity came up and we love it here,” said Banfield, who lives in Cincinnati but grew up in the neighboring town of West Bloomfield. “In January, the business changed hands.”
The former JD Racing Indoor Karting at 44225 W. 12 Mile has been slowly changing under the Full Throttle brand since the beginning of the year when it was acquired. Banfield said previous owners tried to move on to something new, and decided to sell the business to Full Throttle, which also operates centers in Sterling Heights, Florence, Kentucky; and Cincinnati.
The track has the same design as when it was JD Racing, Banfield said. But other changes have come to the space, including the addition of some virtual reality bays. There is hope, Banfield said, that they could add other attractions that other places have, including a possible rage room – a space that allows guests to destroy everything inside. It was an attraction, he said, that has drawn a lot of attention in recent months to its other locations.
“The rage room has had a lot more use after COVID,” he said. “It’s a lot of fun.”
They also hope to add outdoor seating and bring a liquor license as well.
Banfield said he doesn’t try to add as much as he can to the space, mostly because he knows visitors to Fountain Walk will likely spend time at other nearby businesses that specialize in other activities.
This is an approach, according to Banfield, that he believes helps everyone who is near the corner of 12 Mile and Novi roads.
“I am firmly convinced that the rising tide is raising all ships,” Banfield said. “Most people won’t spend all their entertainment dollars with us. I know I like to do different things. And Fountain Walk has been great. We have a lot of entertainment.”
The space recently completed its brand change and held a ribbon-cutting on June 15 with members of the city and the Novi Chamber of Commerce.
The model of how customers interact with the go-kart center has also changed in the light of COVID-19, Banfield said. Before, customers paid for the race. But with capacity restrictions imposed on entertainment companies, they needed a new method. So now customers pay blocks of time and can run as many times as they want in this window.
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Doing so as a result of COVID has yielded positive results and is likely to continue in the future, Banfield said.
“You have a two-hour block where you can do all the races or all the RV you want in that window, but it’s scheduled,” he said. “Between these windows, we have the opportunity to restore the installation, clean it, do the proper sanitation.
Add the new online booking system (new since last year for the company), which has become the first year the entertainment industry started last spring.
“The last year was a truck full of lemons and there’s a chance to make a lot of lemonade out of it,” he said.
Those interested in spending time on the track can sign up at the company or online at gofullthrottle.com.
Contact journalist David Veselenak at email@example.com or 734-678-6728. Follow him on Twitter @davidveselenak.