Dave & Buster’s will open its first Midlands location Monday at Columbiana Centre. The 30,000-square-foot restaurant and entertainment concept occupies 30,000 square feet on the lower level of the former Sears store and will employ 230 workers.
Regional Operations Director Gary Passardi said bringing a store to Columbia took time, but now, the time was right.
“It takes time to find the right property, the right time to come in, we looked at the market and growth here. This is just a natural evolution of our growth,” Passardi said. “"There's a lot of science that goes into us opening a location, it's not just the real estate that we look at, it's demographic and population studies and all of those items that determine if you'll be successful. This store fits the mold in terms of what we're looking for in terms of sales potential and traffic.”
General Manager Robert Spargal said he hopes the store is an asset to the mall.
“Columbia wanted us and needed us,” Spargal said. “The city has supported us from the beginning, and everyone is excited about the opening.”
The media was invited to tour the new facility Thursday. The store seats 250 between the dining and bar area. The bar features a number of high-definition televisions which Spargal hopes will draw fans ready to watch a game.
“We want to be that destination spot, whether it’s having a great meal, or watching the Gamecocks play,” Spargal said.
The Columbia store features $500,000 worth of TV sports packages, so customers will be able to watch any event, from football to mixed-martial arts, Passardi said.
There are regular dining areas, which feature photos of landmarks from around Columbia, and multiple meeting rooms for corporate get-togethers.
Dave & Buster’s also offers a 150-game arcade that mixes games of skill along with virtual simulations. Some games give tickets that can be redeemed for prizes such as game systems and coffee makers.
“The 21-to-35 year-old demographic is big for us, that young-adult model that likes to play together,” Passardi said. “But, this place is designed for everyone, and we expect to do well here.”
Columbia’s store will be number 94 for the Dallas-based company, with a proposed Myrtle Beach store set to open in June.