When sisters Sara Core and Amy Wilder first started telling people about their dream to create a place for families to come and have fun together, they weren’t taken seriously. “It made us work harder,” remembers Sara. “We were working part-time and mostly stay-at-home moms, but we knew that you don’t have to be a millionaire to start a million dollar business.”
Their dream was to create a fun place for families. Now Millennium Family Entertainment Center in Yuba City features laser tag, bumper cars, a large play area, an arcade, and more, offering a one-stop location for safe, fun options for people of all ages. They’ve partnered with a high-speed kart racing business next door, giving adults additional options for fun. Sara and Amy incorporated as an LLC in January 2014 and opened doors to Millennium Family Entertainment Center on September 28, 2016.
“I’ve always wanted to be the one in charge, but I hadn’t found the right type of job where I could do that. My sister and I are both goofy and fun people, so this type of business seemed like the perfect fit,” reflects Sara. She served in the Army Reserve, and her experience managing people in the military has helped her in running the business: “I was always put in charge of people and responsible for trainings when I was serving in the Army, and that has helped me lead my team of 39 employees now. That experience has been invaluable as we’ve gotten started.”
Sara and Amy used their loan from Veteran Launch to complete construction on the inside buildout of their space that features party rooms, a cafe, and more. “We wouldn’t have been able to open without the money from Veteran Launch,” says Sara. “We had all the equipment just sitting there because we didn’t have enough money to finish construction. The local banks didn’t understand the type of business we were trying to start, so they turned us down. I was surprised how easy it was working with Mike [McGrane, Regional Lending Director of Veteran Launch]. He came to our Grand Opening and continues to support us.”
Sara offers advice to aspiring entrepreneurs: “It’s harder than you think it will be. For us, we planned conservatively, but different things kept coming up with the construction, so we learned to expect that we’ll always be over budget and to plan for that.”
Long-term Sara and Amy want to open more locations in high population areas that lack fun activities for kids. “We get customers driving to us from Chico who, like us, used to drive down to Sacramento and Roseville for kids birthday party options. We think there’s an opportunity for us to grow across the West Coast,” explains Sara.
Millennium Family Entertainment Center continues to offer new options to their members and the community. Right now, if you become a member you can join members-only laser tag nights, send your kids to free Pokemon classes, and participate together in free Family Karaoke night.