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Go-kart & axe-throwing venue moving into Younkers space at Meridian Mall

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TUESDAY, April 9 — Nearly 80,000 square feet of the former Younkers space at Meridian Mall will be transformed into go-kart tracks, axe throwing lanes, an arcade, bar and bistro come this August.

Started by Lansing area entrepreneurs Connor Tracy, Jordan Munsters and Kevin Biesbrock, High Caliber Karting and Entertainment is a project 10 years in the making.

“We are living within a society where people are isolated by a 7-inch screen in their pocket,” Tracy said. “The goal of our company all the way around is to get groups of people together to compete and interact with each other. There is so much joy and fulfillment in that.”

The leisure and recreation economy is taking off in Meridian Township, Tracy added.

Launch Trampoline Park opened in February in the Meridian Mall and X Golf virtual golfing simulator opened January across from the mall on Marsh Road.

“We know that there are not a lot of entertainment opportunities for adults. Not everybody wants to go to a bar or movie. People need a place to get together to have fun and someone to give them that environment.”

The breadth of the space will feature two go-kart tracks with up to 12 go karts racing on each track. In researching the business, the group visited and talked to the owners of nearly 30 go-kart tracks nationwide.

There will also be eight axe-throwing lanes with league options available.

Axe throwing seems simple but is very stress relieving, Tracy said.

“Most people are a little scared the first time, but as soon as they throw the first axe and see it stick in the wall, you can't chisel the smile off their face.”

The food will be simple pub fare with a focus on pizza and the bar will feature local beers on tap as well as domestics.

“We want to offer high-quality simple food to people that won’t make you feel like you're going to die after eating it. The main offering is pizza with an upscale push. We will specialize in our gluten-free flatbread pizza dough.”

The admission system will offer different packages for a combination of go-karting, axe throwing as well as a la carte options. Entertainment packages will also be available for birthday, bachelor parties with VIP rooms. Tracy plans to install a conference facility for company outings as well.

“We saw a need here and wanted to fill that need. For us to build what we have here is the first step to building a bigger company,” Tracy said.

The group plans to test out the new venue in Lansing then see if it is lucrative to expand with the same model.

“The ultimate business metric for us is to share the joy we feel when we get together as a group. If we made millions of dollars but didn’t create an environment to make joy, we would’ve failed.”

Tracy estimates the business will bring 40 to 50 new jobs to the area. After safety of patrons is secured, you can’t take go-karting and axe throwing business too seriously, Tracy said.

“I mean, come on: We own a business with miniature cars in a building and people throwing stuff at a wall.”

For more information, visit highcaliberkarting.com.

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