Jared Golden Fulcher, right, and his wife, Sonya, pose for a photo during the ribbon-cutting of The Craze Fun Zone in 2011. | Courtesy Jared Fulcher
REXBURG – Since July 2009, families across eastern Idaho have enjoyed coming to The Craze Fun Zone in Rexburg. After 11 years of business, the owner tells EastIdahoNews.com The Craze will be closing its doors for good next month.
“It was a combination of things (that prompted the closure), but the main thing was COVID hit us right at the time we usually save up money to survive the summer months,” Jared Golden Fulcher says. “Summer is generally really slow, but those three months were integral to us.”
The last day of operation will be Aug. 15. Fulcher says many in the community are sad to hear of the business closing.
“It’s been a place where kids have been able to go to just have fun. No matter what kind of stuff they like to do, there was always something there that we had going at The Craze,” says Fulcher.
Laser tag was the business’s most popular attraction, Fulcher says. Those who frequented the business over the years also have fond memories of the arcade, 9-hole blacklight miniature golf, air hockey, pinball and pool. The Craze also had a Mad Hatter Pizzeria restaurant.
Fulcher bought The Craze from the original owner, Keith Ferrin, in May 2011. Fulcher recalls playing laser tag in the space now occupied by The Craze when it was vacant. He lived in the apartments above at the time and helped Ferrin start it up.
“That was kind of a fluke,” he says. “I was a bit of a geek, so I had my own laser tag guns. I became friends with the manager of the building.”
He would often play laser tag with Ferrin, and his family eventually learned he was considering opening a business in that space.
“What I didn’t know is they were putting together a questionnaire to pass around Rexburg to find out what Rexburg wanted the most. After that experience, they added ‘Laser Tag Family Entertainment Center’ to the list. That was the resounding highest response that came back,” Fulcher says.
Fulcher helped Ferrin implement a few ideas before Fulcher was deployed to Iraq.
When he got back, the business was thriving, and Fulcher was looking to open a different business. It wasn’t long before Ferrin approached him to see if he was interested in buying The Craze, and that’s when Fulcher got involved.
The Craze Fun Zone’s blue and yellow brick building got a new paint job last week. | Rett Nelson, EastIdahoNews.com
Fulcher says he’s enjoyed watching the little kids come in over the years. Making people happy is what he will miss most about running the business.
“Seeing little kids come to the door and run right to the kiddie jungle and squeal with delight,” Fulcher recalls. “Just knowing I had a place where moms could bring their little kids and the parents could relax and talk while the kids just had fun — that’s why I love The Craze and why I’m going to miss it so much.”
The pool room and miniature golf are already closed, but in the final days of business, Fulcher says customers can enjoy the traditional summer deals, which include $10 for unlimited laser tag.
There is also a family pass that allows families to play laser tag for $20.
Moving forward, Fulcher says he is looking forward to taking a break and enjoying time with his family. He graduated from college with a degree in creative writing and has always wanted to write a book.
“I had some stories I was working on before I deployed. I got back and picked up The Craze and never had any real sit-down time I could dedicate to writing to see if I can make a go of it,” he says. “The Craze wouldn’t have been open for 11 years if it hadn’t been for those people who got excited and loved coming … and had so much fun.”
The Craze Fun Zone is at 30 College Ave. No. 101 in Rexburg. It is open from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday.