BROOK PARK - Most birthday parties, family reunions and corporate meetings don't include a high-speed race and a shot of adrenaline, but that's exactly what BOSS Pro-Karting has to offer.
"It's about pushing yourself to that edge of your comfort zone," says co-owner Lee Boss.
Opened in Brook Park in August, the $4 million facility is a unique mix of corporate meeting space and party center, complete with a twisty one-fifth-mile-long indoor karting track.
Boss started the business with his cousin Brad Copley, who says racing has always been in their blood.
"Our fathers, grandfathers spent the afternoon all weekend out in the driveway working on cars. It’s just kind of how we grew up. Always racing, always trying to find something to go fast and get ourselves in trouble with," says Copley.
After years in corporate jobs, the cousins decided to pair their love of motorsports with their experience in business.
With the help of a $50,000 grant from the city of Brook Park, they developed what they call a "racing rec center," complete with hi-tech meeting rooms to attract corporate clients. The amenities include wi-fi, projectors and conference calling, but there's no denying what the main attraction is.
"That electric feeling that people have coming off of the track, that's where the magic really happens," says Boss.
"They get out of the carts and they're high-fiving each other and they're hugging us and they're just laughing and sweating and they're having a great time," says Copley.
Riders grab a helmet, a neck collar, and strap in for a seven-minute race on the windy 12-turn track, speeding along in all-electric Sodi RTX karts.
"There's no emissions, there's no gasoline odor, it's extremely clean and green," says Erin O'Brien, who covered the opening as managing editor of Fresh Water Cleveland.
Anyone 12 years old or older and at least 56 inches tall can suit up and take a spin, and it's not just for teenagers.
"We just had a gentleman in this week. It was his 65th birthday and this was what he wanted to do. It was he, his wife, his three sons and their wives," says Copley.
Ultimately, it's less about winning and more about bringing people out of their shells to bond together.
"You can't help but smile when you're in a go-kart. It taps into that inner child," says Copley. "That's the feeling that we always had we when raced, and it's great to be able to see that out of our customers."
For more information on BOSS Pro-Karting, visit bossprokarting.com.
WKYC and Fresh Water Cleveland are media collaborators. Look for more Fresh Water Cleveland stories on WKYC in the weeks to come.