Bass Pro Shops is making a new addition to its entertainment offer.
The outdoor sporting goods retailer received the green light from planning and zoning to add a new arcade to its underwater-themed family center operated by Uncle Bucks Fish Bowl and Grill, which already features a restaurant and 16-lane bowling alley.
Though plans to unveil the new addition hit a snag following its Monday approvals from the city, managers are preparing to debut the new attraction next month.
“We get a lot of families that come in quite a bit and bowl,” said Loretta Mercado, general manager of Bass Pro Shop. “My bowling alley is packed every day and they ask questions about arcades and different additional family fun. We just followed up and were able to work with our company and provide this for our guests.”
The amusement-style arcade will occupy roughly 2,200 square feet of space in Uncle Buck’s dining room, which will be rearranged to accommodate current seating capacity
The 37-game attraction will run on a card system where patrons can purchase cards and add credits for gaming. The arcade is expected to feature a combination of games such as Jurassic World, The Walking Dead, and more.
There will also be a mix of ticket-redemption games where visitors can win prizes.
“It’s going to generate different clientele and revenue,” said Hank Ruszczyk, assistant general manager of Uncle Bucks Fishbowl. “People are loving the activity and doing something with the kids. Bbowling has been a huge success.”
Ruszczyk said the Bridgeport-based store is following suit with Uncle Buck’s Destin, Florida, location, which was the first to incorporate the gaming attraction to its establishment six months ago, according to reports.
Since opening in 2015, Bass Pro Shop has tried to become a destination for more than the traditional shopper, offering a mix of experiences for patrons to enjoy beyond purchasing.
As a result, Mercado said the store has attracted a mix of people from the New England and the tri-state area. That has aligned with the overall plans that city officials and developers have envisioned for that part of Bridgeport.
“It’s part of the growing trend of experience-based retail experiences here, and to have it downtown and have it near the waterfront is great,” said Bill Coleman, deputy director of economic development. “We have the bowling alley, we’ll have this arcade, downtown you can play pool. Anything to continue to make the city a more day-time and night-time active place where folks can live work and play is what we are trying to encourage.”