MetroNorth Newspapers and MileHigh Newspapers
Article by Tammy Kranz
Scott Sutton walked out of the Chicago Indoor Racing facility in 2007 and thought to himself: What a unique business model.
The place offered not only fun on the track, but corporate meeting spaces and food. The Broomfield resident stored away his impression of the facility and brought it back out a few years later after selling his technology company and trying to figure out what to do next with his professional life.
Eighteen months ago, even though the country was in the middle of a recession and bank loans were dry, Sutton went through with his plans to open an indoor, high-end entertainment venue. With a limited budget, he purchased the former Larry Miller Toyota building at 7300 Broadway and retrofitted the second floor with a racetrack for high-speed go-karts. Unser Racing and Entertainment opened its doors Oct. 18, 2010.
“Phase one was to utilize the existing space, get the doors open and generate revenue,” Sutton said.
Unser is in the process of phase two – constructing a tavern-style restaurant adjacent to the second-floor track and installing a racetrack on the rooftop.
“Our goal is to have (the restaurant and rooftop racetrack) up and running in the spring,” Sutton said.
The Adams County Board of Commissioners earlier this month approved a liquor license so the tavern can serve not only pizza and sandwiches, but alcohol as well.
“We’re focused on the bar aspect,” Sutton said. “The food aspect we’re going to take slow to find out what customers’ needs are.”
However, there will be procedures in place so that only people who are not planning to race or who have already raced can drink, said Scott Shirk, director of marketing.
“We have a very strict policy about drinking and driving – we don’t allow it,” he said.
Safety is a priority for Unser – all newcomers must complete a 10-minute training, every driver must wear a helmet and the go-karts can be remotely controlled if a driver is being unruly and ignoring flag warnings.
Although the facility caters to corporate customers for team-building meetings, the track is open to the public. Drivers must be at least 6 years old.
“This is a safe and controlled environment for kids to be exposed to motorized vehicles,” said Shirk, whose 7- and 12-year-old children love going to work with Dad.
The drivers get to go around 18-20 times. At 45 to 50 mph, that takes about seven minutes.
“(With the karts) that low to the ground, it feels like 110 mph,” Shirk said. It’s priceless, he added, to see “the people’s faces when they get off the track.”
The go-karts are made in France and are gasoline-powered. The racetrack has a full-ventilation system.
There are more plans in the works at Unser that include a third racetrack on the ground floor, and perhaps eventually, the use of the outside ramp to connect the first- and second-floor tracks, Shirk said.
Within five years, Sutton said he sees Unser branching out to other Colorado locations and places outside the state. His enthusiasm is fueled by how well the business has been received by the public, despite the tough economic times.
“We’re approaching the 35,000 (new customer) mark since we opened,” he said. “It shows the business is fresh and people are enjoying it. It’s been fun to create jobs and contribute to the economy.”
For more information on the indoor racing facility, visit unserracing.com. To view the original article, CLICK HERE.