The ZONE fun center opens under new management with a vision for local youth

Published 12:00 pm Saturday, October 1, 2022

Delano Evans and his wife Stephanie Evans opened The ZONE, a roller skating, arcade and mini golf center, on Aug. 6, 2022. It was the first time the skating rink was open since COVID when it shut down for three years on 112 North First St. in Brookhaven.

Evans and his wife took over the business from Jeffery Newton as managers in July. It was a decision they prayed about and God manifested. It is through His blessing that they have been able to start a ministry of sorts for the youth.

“I used to skate and Stephanie did too but we really just wanted to reach out to the youth and minister a positive message,” Evans said. “We want to keep them from hanging out on the corner and give them something else to do. We are going to try and get more lights in and add bigger, better things. We are just getting started and the sky’s the limit with God’s blessings.”

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Evans and his wife worked at the roller skating rink six or seven years ago on the weekends. Stephanie would work the cash register and Delano would work security checking the parking lot and keeping the peace.

He said back then there used to be a big crowd of kids at the rink. Offering a game room with Madden and NBA2k on playstation along with mini golf and roller skating should draw more kids in. Stephanie said they have had good crowds but they are still trying to get the word out.

Private parties have been a big success so far and has kept her busy. It has been a blessing in and of itself. She said people interested in private parties can choose any day of the week except for Saturday afternoons when they are open to the public. The cost for a private party is $180 which includes two hours for 20 skaters and unlimited guests.

Evans plans to host a Madden tournament at the end of October. He said while he may not be great at the game, he enjoys watching the kids play and how they get after it.

Their daughter Gabby is the DJ for the rink. She plays a bit of ’70s and ’80s classics and some newer artists such as Yung Gravy, who mixes the ’80s with rap tracks. Evans said they do not play songs with explicit lyrics. On one of the walls they try to have encouraging words for kids, Stephanie said.

“We want to give the youth a positive place and if we can touch one or four of them with the Lord we are grateful. A lot of youth just want something to do and somewhere to go,” she said. “Upstairs we have mini-golf and you would be surprised at the number of kids who do not know how to play. We have five kids and we did mini golf with them growing up. This past Saturday we had a group of kids teaching others how to play.”

The mini golf room is ocean themed with an octopus, sharks, fish, seaweed and coral. Neon painted bricks light up under blacklight and give the nine-hole course shape. The last hole is a tricky shot as people have to put a ball up a hill and into a shark’s mouth. Delano said he has seen only a handful of children make it.

Families are welcome to the skating rink open on Saturdays only from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. Stephanie said she can still roller skate some and has seen parents and grandparents out on the rink with the kids. The ZONE should feel like a safe place for families to spend time together.

They do sell concessions such as candy, chips, drinks and pickle pops. Stephanie said the kids love pickle pops. Right now, there is just an entrance fee of $10 a person which covers roller skating, the game room and mini golf.

“We offer mentorship as well. We want to teach the kids life lessons that go a long way in life and how to be a functioning member of society,” Evans said. “We wanted to change the name a bit so you can ‘come to the zone where you can do everything.’”