TORRINGTON — A thousand blinking lights and a symphony of electronic noises now fill the former D & B Fine Furniture store in downtown Torrington, where Bounce City will hold its official opening this weekend.
The idea is the brainchild of Donnie Lam.
“I have a little daughter,” he said. “We’d lived here for about a year, and I noticed that there’s nothing for her to do. I’m like, OK, let’s see if I can come up with something for kids to do.”
He used his business contacts and searched the internet to find and purchase games and activities. He spent about six months looking and planning, and in the past few months has begun actively working on the arcade. He purchased the former furniture store at 2007 Main.
“When I came into the building, I saw that there’s a lot more potential and a lot more space that we can use,” he said.
He has had to do some limited renovations, like updating the lighting, but for the most part there were no big changes he needed to make.
“The biggest thing with that building was the flooring we had to redo,” Lam said. “We had to pull up all the old stuff and refinish the floor.”
Lam said he plans to build more bathrooms on the ground floor to accommodate
As it stands now, Bounce City features three bounce houses that range from toddlers to older kids, an ice cream shop, and about 15 arcade games and 20 ticket-redemption games with a prize counter. It also features a limited menu — “Hamburgers and hotdogs and nachos, stuff like that,” he said — with tables and seating.
Bounce City held a soft opening Labor Day weekend, which Lam said he was pleased with.
“Most people went out of town,” he said, “but we did pretty good.”
About 150 people showed up for the first day, with 50-60 people visiting each day after that. The soft opening also gave him a chance to see what worked and what didn’t, and to test the machines to see which ones were in actual working condition.
“It’s about learning what we can do to keep kids safe from doing things they’re not supposed to do,” he said. “My biggest thing is to be safe for kids, so they can play and have fun.”
In addition to the kids’ games, Lam hopes to incorporate more adult-oriented games to provide parents with their own entertainment. Things like a pool league, pinball machines or tabletop games like “Dungeons and Dragons,” that will keep adults playing alongside their children.
He also emphasized that Bounce City is not a daycare.
“The parents have to be there with the kids,” he said. “That way, we can focus on other things rather than try to babysit them.”
In the future, Lam hopes to renovate the building’s second floor — “I really want to do something like laser tag,” he said — and he hopes to include food from his other business, the Broncho Bar and Grill, from across the street. He is also working on designing packages for parties.
Bounce City is open on Sundays from 2-8 p.m., Monday through Thursday from 2-9 p.m., and on Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.