Interview by Hannah Sprouse
As President of Lazer Kraze, Robin Wilcox is still crazy about the family business she founded with her husband, Dale, nearly 14 years ago. After moving to Columbus from Arkansas, Robin woke up one day and decided to launch a business to provide fun and joy to families. Her passion allowed her to open her first location in Mason, Ohio. Today, she oversees four Lazer Kraze locations, including Gahanna and Lewis Center, all the while improving with each guest interaction. Robin’s passion for people and learning continues to drive her business growth into the future.
Where are you from and what brought you to Columbus? I’m from Arkansas and moved to Ohio with my husband, Dale, when he took a position as VP of IT at a large insurance company. We started our first Lazer Kraze in Mason, OH and ultimately moved to Columbus to open the first Lazer Kraze in Columbus when my oldest son was at Ohio State and said Columbus needed a Lazer Kraze!
Give us a snapshot of your career path, including past employers and positions: I started out as a CPA in public accounting. When we moved to Ohio I was a financial analyst for GE then I designed websites for physicians at MedPlus as a business analyst. I woke up one day and decided we were ready to start our own business and 16 months later, my husband, Dale, and I opened the first Lazer Kraze in Mason in 2004 and haven’t looked back.
Tell us about your current job role: I work with the managers of our four Lazer Kraze locations (Mason, OH; Erlanger, KY; Lewis Center; and Gahanna/Columbus) to create fun every day.
What’s new and exciting at Lazer Kraze? The holidays are always fun with extended hours, a new mini camp at all Lazer Kraze locations, and New Year’s Eve all-you-can-play sessions. We have lots of corporate events during the holidays for people looking for some out of the ordinary fun with cyber sport, 40-player laser tag, and air dodgeball so we cater to all ages in celebrating the holidays.
What gets you up in the morning? And what gets you through the work week? I love working with everyone from guests, to vendors, to our young staff. It’s great providing fun to so many people and knowing we’re adding to people’s lives and relationships.
What advice or mentors have helped guide you along the way? I listen and reach out to everyone from bankers to insurance experts to builders and city personnel. Just when I think we know what we’re doing we learn something new that was unexpected. We have learned with each site we’ve opened and with each guest that walks in.
Explain some of your work-life balance challenges and how you achieve success in spite of the hustle and bustle? Luckily, work is fun for me most of the time so that really helps balance because we’re always doing something new in some area. But mostly, I work closely with my husband in running all our sites – and with two of my adult sons and daughter-in-law – so that really helps. We started Lazer Kraze as a family and it continues to be a family project. With so much family involved it helps keep us close.
What do you do or where do you go to unwind? We have a beach front condo in Bonita Springs, Florida that is our home periodically throughout the year. We still work while there but with a much better view.
What might someone be surprised to know about you? I have a really smart 35-pound Mini-Hippo. He’s a cross between a Shar-Pei and a Cocker Spaniel with a much cooler breed name. With my four boys all being grown now he’s the baby in the house that keeps us on our toes.
If you could have a superpower, which would you choose? Time Manipulation. Awkward moments would never really happen & good times would last longer. I could easily fix problems by turning back time.
What are among the top places you’d recommend to someone who is visiting or new to Columbus? Of course I’d recommend to anyone to visit Lazer Kraze when visiting the city! But one of my other favorites is going to a Blue Jackets game. This is a great way to escape the work day and enjoy the energy of the city.
What’s the most exciting thing about Columbus right now? The vibrancy of the city keeps Columbus growing and changing. I was really glad to see the new Crew Stadium approved as that just helps keep new people coming to the area.
If someone were to ask you what the “pulse” of Columbus is, what would you tell them? Diverse. I love how we have people from all over with different backgrounds and I love the openness of the city to accept everyone.