Start Your Engines!
Detroit Area FEC “Rev’d Up Fun” Opens Its Doors
by Matt Harding
Rev’dLike a lot of things in the Motor City, it all started with a car. In this case, that car is a 1957 Ford Fairlane 500 Skyliner, a family heirloom of sorts among the Johnsons, owners of the new Rev’d Up Fun entertainment center in Woodhaven, Mich., that celebrated its grand opening Aug. 19.
During the summer of 1976, recently-retired Frank Johnson was looking for a hobby. He stumbled across a salmon-colored ’57 Skyliner — a car that was only in production for three years — and decided to make the purchase.
After doing a bit of research, he discovered the original color was “Cumberland Green,” and decided to fully restore the vehicle to its former glory. Frank and his wife Christina traveled the country in the car now called Ol’ Greenie, stopping at every junkyard they could find in search of parts. Since that careful restoration, it’s been to numerous car shows and has been on display at the Village Ford.
Frank passed away in 2001, but his memory — and the car — lives on through his son, Kevin (who owns Rev’d Up with his wife Sandy), and grandson Zach, the general manager of the new fun center.
“The theme and logo of Rev’d Up developed from that car,” Zach Johnson said. “It’s in the main corridor right when guests walk in with a story on the wall behind it.”
It’s a reminder of the dedication his grandparents had for that car — the same type of dedication he and his parents want to put in to the FEC.
“The family aspect of the business is really important to us,” Johnson said. “It’s been a family endeavor the entire time.” Zach’s sister Kara is the business’s social media manager and his wife Kristin is its events and marketing manager.
“A lot of the motivation (for my parents) is seeing their own kids and grandkids have fun.”
For about 12 years, after Kevin retired from working at AT&T, he and Sandy owned an outdoor rental company, supplying inflatables, rock walls and mechanical bulls.
“They liked the entertainment side of that business,” said Zach, who’d been helping his father out with the rental business since he was 14. “Dad didn’t like the physical labor aspect but loved to work the events.
More recently, the family started to discuss opening a family entertainment center — something with the consistency of climate control and something that everyone could enjoy.
“As we kept talking about it, I got more and more interested,” Zach said. “Through various ups and downs, it started to progress and now here we are.”
Rev’d Up occupies 30,000 square feet of a former Kmart that was subdivided by the landlord.
“We’re on probably the nicest and busiest corner in the area,” he said. “We feel like it’s the best location we could be in.”
The attraction that really got the family revved up about opening an FEC was the Ballocity play structure, which they found online. They thought it was such a unique attraction for younger kids and knew they had to get it.
It’s a three-level play structure that turns the indoor water park concept on its head by using foam balls instead of water. It creates lots of opportunities for the 12-and-under crowd to duck, climb and dodge to avoid the foam balls shot at them by their friends!
More fun can be had at the 48-piece arcade, with additional games scattered across the facility. A single game card can be used on any of the games or attractions.
Without much knowledge about arcades, Johnson said Rev’d Up went with what their supplier recommended, which were about 85 percent redemption games. It’ll be a bit of trial and error, switching some out and possibly adding more since they saved some extra space, he explained.
Their redemption counter runs the gamut — from inexpensive merchandise to Bluetooth speakers and themed Star Wars items.
“I think the arcade will be one of our highest profit generators,” Johnson said. “Probably about 15 percent of business.”
He added that their laser tag arena should be about the same.
The design, by Creative Works, was made with — you guessed it — cars in mind. The 4,000-square-foot, multi-level arena is junkyard themed.
“It’s got fencing throughout and it’s painted with piles of tires and cars,” Johnson said. They went with a 24-player Helios Pro Laser Tag system, with room for up to 30 vests in the arena if they want to add a few more later.
A state-of-the-art, Triotech XD Dark Ride is a major part of the fun center’s wow factor. It’s a thrill ride attraction with a varied customer base. The 8-person motion ride is like a completely immersive 3D movie — combining the theater experience with a multi-sensory ride.
A ropes course, complete with a 65-foot zipline, and Spin Zone bumper cars from Amusement Products, are Rev’d Up’s other “universal” attractions.
“Our primary target is families,” Johnson said. “With the attractions we have, parents can participate with their kids or they can each do their own thing. We feel our attractions can be for all ages.”
To cater to those wide-ranging demographics, Rev’d Up also features the car-themed Filling Station restaurant, a fast-casual dining experience with pizza, flatbreads, salads and appetizers.
After a long lead up to opening day at the facility, Johnson said it was a huge success that was worth the wait.
“It was great to see the crowds of people here — all with smiles on their faces,” he said. “Our goal is for guests to play, eat and be happy and that is exactly what happens!
“We are part of a great community and are looking forward to providing a place where families and friends can make memories for years to come.”