Fun on the way: Progress continues on Dowagiac family entertainment center

Published 5:35 pm Thursday, May 11, 2023

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DOWAGIAC — The building that once housed a Shopko location in Dowagiac has a fresh coat of paint and a new purpose.

Progress continues to be made on the construction of Nitro Zone, 56419 Pokagon St., a family entertainment center that will provide several forms of entertainment for people of all ages. Construction crews have been renovating the building since December of last year and hope to have the space open by late summer or early fall.

According to project manager Justin Weathers, the orange and black Nitro Zone color scheme matching Dowagiac Union Schools’ color scheme was a happy coincidence.

“We’re really excited,” said Dowagiac City Manager Kevin Anderson. “We think it’s one of those items that will be a spot for youth, young adults and even adults. It’s going to be a really nice asset to the community. We’re looking forward to it opening soon.”

The concept for the family entertainment center will be similar to Dave and Busters. The 35,494 square foot building will house a bowling alley, arcade games, a two-level laser tag area, an indoor roller coaster, a restaurant/bar, birthday party rooms, a small event venue and more. “We have a little bit of everything,” Weathers said. “Hopefully we’ll have a taste for anybody that comes in here. Somebody who likes to ride on roller coasters and if the other person does not, they can come over here and bowl.”

Weathers said that one advantage of putting this business in Dowagiac is there is nothing else like it nearby.

“You don’t have many entertainment options,” he said. “You have to go to St. Joseph, or South Bend. It is saturated down there but there’s nothing here… This store has been sitting empty for years, so we’re bringing something into it and revitalizing the area.”

Weathers, who has lived in Dowagiac for three years, is looking forward to the space being an  entertainment destination for Dowagiac and beyond.

“We’re all excited,” he said. “Growing up, you’re always told to play outside, and that’s really all the kids have around here. We’re creating something that will bring not just the community but surrounding areas together and to bring a bit more life to this area.”