CLEARFIELD — Residents here must be feeling like they just won the “fun” lottery.
The third-largest city in Davis County recently scored not-one-but-two indoor amusement businesses. So, two family-fun entertainment centers, opening in the same city, at roughly the same time?
“And, within a couple blocks of each other,” adds Clearfield Mayor Mark Shepherd. “Which is amazing in and of itself, because it adds an aspect to Clearfield we haven’t seen before.”
On Dec. 22, the 30,000-square-foot Urban Air Adventure Park opened in the former Performax Gyms location at 1659 E. 1400 South. The park features a plethora of indoor activities, including trampolines, a ropes course, climbing walls, playground equipment, a warrior course, dodgeball, a tumble track, a cafe and more.
And this week G4CE (pronounced “G-force”) opens in the old Tai Pan Trading storefront at 1400 E. 700 South. The 100,000 square foot center features go-karts, laser tag, arcade games, bowling, miniature golf, escape rooms, play areas and more, including a restaurant, snack bar, soda bar and frozen yogurt station.
Shepherd said the two businesses will be a welcome addition to the city.
“To have all that in one town is certainly exciting,” he said.
Trampoline park on steroids
Matt Hartman, who owns the new Clearfield Urban Air with his wife, Melanie, says she’d been encouraging him to open one of these adventure parks for six years.
“My wife and I have five boys, and we’ve been to every single one of these types of parks that there are,” the Clinton man said. “Every time we went to a bounce house or trampoline park, my wife — she’s the smart one in the family — said, ‘Matt, you’ve got to do something like this.’ It was finally beaten into my head so many times that it got through the thick crust and I said, ‘You’re right, this is fantastic. Let’s do it.’ And it only took six years of me being stubborn.”
Hartman said they selected the Texas-headquartered Urban Air franchise because it’s different from all the others out there. More than a trampoline park, he calls it “an adventure park with a trampoline park in it.”
Although it’s only been open a little more than two weeks, business at Urban Air has been strong, according to Hartman. Part of it is the sheer number of families in the state.
“Utah does not lack for kids,” he said.
But the other thing is what he calls “the wow factor” of attractions that can’t be found in other places in Utah.
One such feature is The Skyrider, which Hartman calls a hybrid between a zipline and a roller coaster. Whereas a zipline goes in a straight line from Point A to Point B, The Skyrider runs on a rail high above the park and features twists and turns.
It’s an active park, and many of the attractions require gobs of physical exertion.
“We’re the place parents go when they want their kids to sleep at night,” Hartman said. “This is the next generation in active-play parks.”
One advantage of the Urban Air philosophy is that parks are set up to be modular. When one attraction begins losing its popularity, they simply replace it with a new one. And Hartman teased that they have “some amazing things” in the works for the future, but he’s “sworn to secrecy.”
Hartman believes Urban Air will be a game-changer in Northern Utah: “We’ve already changed the game — taking a trampoline park and evolving it into an adventure park.”
Paul Carr, vice president of business development for Allegiant Travel Company, says they’re unleashing the adrenalin rush that is G4CE on Clearfield and the surrounding communities.
If the name Allegiant sounds familiar, that’s because it’s the same company that offers commercial flights out of the Ogden-Hinckley Airport, along with vacation packages to various destinations. And for nearly a year now, the company has been planning on entering the family entertainment center business.
The G4CE name has particular meaning to Allegiant, according to Carr. Every airline receives an International Air Transport Association alphanumeric code, and Allegiant’s identifying code is “G4.”
“We added ‘Complete Entertainment’ to that, and you shorten it up to make it ‘G4CE,’” he said. “The name’s got an adrenalin aspect to it.”
The Clearfield G4CE is the first planned amusement center for the Las Vegas-based company. A second G4CE is set to open in Warren, Mich., sometime toward the end of March, with a third location to be announced any day now, according to Carr.
Carr said the Clearfield location fit the company’s goals perfectly: a market Allegiant Air serves, in a cold-weather climate.
He realizes those who only know Allegiant Air may be surprised to hear the company will be now be overseeing attractions like bowling, go-karts and laser tag. But Carr explains that Allegiant has always been about providing its customers with leisure experiences.
“Allegiant Travel has always been more than just an airline,” he said. “We have plans to build a large resort in southwest Florida. We have a software company that operates golf courses around the country. And now a family entertainment center.”
The G4CE concept allows Allegiant to engage with its current customers and communities, and not just when they’re traveling, Carr explains.
“Honestly, it ties in perfectly with the overall vision of our company, which is a leisure company overall,” he said. “This is another way to offer something to our current customers, as well as grow new customers.”
And, Carr says, G4CE offers something that other businesses don’t — the ability to transform entertainment dollars spent at the amusement center into vacations at the center’s ticket-redemption desk.
Wait. So, like, trading the tickets you win at Skee-Ball for flights and vacation packages?
“Absolutely,” Carr says. “So you can take your staycation, and turn it into a vacation.”
Complementary, not competing
Shepherd, Clearfield’s mayor, is happy to see both companies locating in his town. And he doesn’t worry that the two entertainment centers will be in direct competition with one another.
“They are night and day different from each other,” Shepherd said.
He sees Urban Air as a more “adventure-based” experience, while G4CE is “high-tech stuff you won’t find anywhere else in Utah.”
And although the businesses themselves might disagree with his assessment, Shepherd said he suspects Urban Air will cater to a younger crowd (teenagers and down), while G4CE will appeal to an older crowd (teens and up). G4CE will also have a full liquor license, according to Shepherd
Hartman agrees with the mayor’s assessment about the two businesses not competing. Just as he was preparing to sign the lease on Urban Air’s building, he got the news Allegiant was opening something called G4CE just down the street.
“So we did some research, and they’re not at all alike,” he said. “If anything, they’re complementary. They don’t do anything we do, and we don’t do anything they do.”
Shepherd said he was told G4CE plans on opening about 50 locations in the country, and his city is honored to be the first one.
“For them to take a chance says a lot about us; it’s a real feather in our cap,” Shepherd said.
And the mayor believes the addition of two family entertainment centers in Clearfield will make a huge difference for the city.
“This gives us an identity in an area we haven’t been identified prior to this. It will bring our residents, but it will also bring people from outside Clearfield to our city. We are thrilled to have two companies of this size and this magnitude to take a chance on our city.”