He already had a roofing and excavating business and ran a restaurant with his wife.
Harold Mason thought he might as well start an entertainment business, too, complete with go-karts outside and a variety of games, inflatables and food and drinks inside.
In mid-May, Racin’ Mason Pizza & Fun Zone opened in Suite 317 at Shops at Seymour in the former Reebok outlet store.
“The best part about it is they are all successful,” Mason said of the businesses he runs with his wife, Kelly. “I’m a business tycoon. I like to get in there and rumble.”
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He and his family, who live near Hayden, had gone to a similar type of business in Fort Myers, Florida, and thought it would be good to open here.
“I went down and worked the hurricane (relief efforts doing roofing) down there in Naples and Marco Island and made some decent money, and we figured, ‘What better place to put it than back in our community?'” he said. “There are so many kids out here that don’t have anything. … There’s nothing for many kids to do in Seymour anymore.”
Kelly agreed it was a good idea.
“We’ve just seen so many things start up for the kids, but then they just fell right away, so we wanted to make sure it was something that was going to be able to stay in the community and just keep the kids off the streets, give them something fun and safe to do,” she said. “We want it to be affordable for the families.”
In the winter, Harold learned about a go-kart business in Fort Wayne that had closed and was selling its track, so he and his sons went up there to take it apart and bring it to Seymour.
It costs $5 for 10 laps around the quarter-mile track, and there are single- and double-seat go-karts.
The outdoor portion also has a train that takes people from the go-kart area to the main building, and there is a bungee trampoline and bounce houses. Bumper cars will be added in the future.
John Gilbert III of Seymour and his family recently tried out the go-karts.
“It’s pretty sweet,” he said, smiling. “I like sliding around the corners.”
He said it’s great to have a local place geared toward families.
“This is amazing,” he said. “Before this, we only had city parks and stuff like that, but right now, this is good for the kids on the inside as well as the adults on the outside.”
Inside, the business features nearly 30 games from Namco. Most of them are brand-new machines, and they will rotate.
“Our gaming company that we got said, ‘If that thing is not making you any money, we’ll put you in a new game. We want to succeed. If you don’t succeed, we’re not succeeding,'” Harold said.
There also are four inflatables, an air hockey table and motorized stuffed animal rides.
Harold said the games are reasonably priced, and tickets can be redeemed for nice prizes.
“We have probably got one of the best redemption centers that I’ve ever seen,” he said of the three display cases and shelves on a back wall full of prizes. “Those cabinets behind there are full.”
Food and drinks also may be purchased. That includes homemade pizza, snow cones, cotton candy, popcorn, candy bars, ice cream, milkshakes, pulled pork sandwiches or nachos, nachos and cheese, breadsticks and soda.
“We already own a restaurant, The Lunch Box, in Crothersville,” Harold said. “Then we got to thinking, ‘What better thing to do than have pizzas here and blow it out?'”
There is seating for nearly 150 people, including two rooms available to rent for private parties. Each of those rooms can seat about 20 people.
“We are all about our family, and that’s what we want. We want other people to be able to bring their families and enjoy it,” Harold said. “That’s the big thing that we want most of all.”
Foster children receive a special rate.
“Having foster kids ourselves now, we’ve kind of realized what they don’t have,” Kelly said, noting she and Harold used to have five foster children but now just have one.
The business is open from noon to 8 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays and Sundays and from noon to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. It employs about 30 people.
“The feedback has been awesome,” Harold said of the first few weeks of the business. “Everybody is just amazed with what we have to offer.”
Kelly said the goal also is to help revitalize Shops at Seymour. The center used to be an outlet mall, and when those stores went out of business, many of the suites sat empty for a while.
“We’ve got another guy wanting to put laser tag out here now, so he’s feeding off of us, which we’re OK with that,” Harold said. “We are trying to build our community back. That’s what we want.”
Along with the county’s only movie theater, Shops at Seymour features a couple of antique or flea market stores, a couple of event venues, a community theater, several churches and a martial arts studio.
“Everybody in a suite here is local. I really like that,” Kelly said. “We’re just really excited to be here and to be able to do this.”
The Masons have owned The Lunch Box since December 2016. They purchased it from the Sawyer family.
“I had bought a house down there to flip and was talking to a town policeman down there, and he told me The Lunch Box was for sale,” Harold said. “I was like, ‘That’s something we’ve always wanted to do,’ so he hooked us up with the Sawyers.”
Kelly had been a waitress and Harold was a cook at restaurants in the past, but this is their first venture into running a restaurant. They employ eight people.
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Racin’ Mason Pizza & Fun Zone opened May 12 in Suite 317 at Shops at Seymour, 357 Tanger Blvd., Seymour.
Inside, there are more than 30 games, inflatables, an air hockey table, motorized stuffed animal rides, food and drinks, party rooms and a seating area.
Outside, there is a train that takes people to the go-kart area, bounce houses and a bungee trampoline.
Hours are noon to 8 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays and Sundays and noon to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.
Information: Call 812-524-1000 or search for Racin’ Mason Pizza & Fun Zone on Facebook